While the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang are likely to be remembered for the diplomatic overtures between North and South Korea, the games should also go down as the most technologically advanced yet.
Taking place in a nation known as a hub of technology, South Korea is home base to companies including Samsung and LG Electronics, and the hundreds of thousands of people visiting for the Olympics will get a taste of breathtaking technological “firsts,” UBS strategists Laura Kane and Kevin Dennean wrote in a note.
Here’s a rundown of some of the technologies in use at the Pyeongchang games:
Robots. Washing machine-size versions created by LG Electronics are cleaning airport floors, and robot guides are answering questions in a number of languages. If a robot guide isn’t available, foreign visitors can still communicate, thanks to GenieTalk, the official interpretation app of the Olympics. Its conversation mode offers real-time translations from the world’s most common languages to Korean. And, while not an official event, eight teams competed in an event featuring custom-built robots on skis.
Autonomous vehicles. Self-driving electric cars and buses are hauling game visitors from venue to venue.
Drones. Unmanned crafts outfitted with high-definition and thermal-imaging cameras are keeping track of the environment to help ensure safety and security. Additionally, the opening ceremonies included a light show created by drones from Intel (INTC) that resembled more than 1,200 shooting stars.
Virtual reality. VR headsets let fans who can’t make it to Pyeongchang in person watch up to 30 events live or on-demand.
5G technology. Intel and South Korean communications provider KT Corp. joined forces in offering 5G technology at the Winter Games to beam high-bandwidth data around the venue. It enables things such as the driverless shuttle buses and 360-degree streaming video. Some athletes, in fact, have already trained with data-enhanced gear, including two Dutch skaters training with Samsung Smartsuits embedded with sensors that measure body posture and distance between hips and ice.
The UBS analysts noted that the technology in use in Pyeongchang marks “the beginning of the exciting possibilities we anticipate for digital data and 5G applications in the future and confirm our suspicion that they may be a reality sooner than many expect.”