Japanese | English

Ichiro Nakagawa | October 21, 2021
President and General Manager, Cisco Systems G.K.


The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) were unprecedented, as the first Olympic Games ever to be postponed for a year and held without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While there may not have been fans in attendence at the Olympic venues, interest in the Games both Japan and overseas was immense on digital platforms, with the cumulative number of visitors to the official Tokyo 2020 website totalling about 195.7 million as of September 5, 2021. In the spirit of “The Bridge to Possible: When everything is connected, anything becomes possible,” Cisco went beyond networks and IoT technologies at the Tokyo 2020 Games, also supporting athletes through the use of data, various diversity initiatives, and the training of cybersecurity human resources.

For the Tokyo 2020 Games, three large-scale facilities—Technology Operation Center (TOC)the IBC (International Broadcast Centre)/MPC (Main Press Centre), and the Olympic Village—were dispersed along with 43 competition venues in the Tokyo Bay Zone, Heritage Zone, and Tohoku district. A total of 186,000 devices connected to the Games network and 22,000 Cisco products were deployed in its construction, the largest number of any of the three recent Games, surpassing London and Rio de Janeiro. Cisco supported the construction and operation of this large-scale IoT network that, along with more than 6,000 surveillance cameras and 3,000 sensors, covered the greatest number of event sites in Olympics history. In addition, 50 Cisco network engineers monitored the network 24 hours per day to ensure optimal performance. The total Internet traffic hit a record high of 1.6PB, yet no network failures occurred during the Games.

For the first time in Olympics history, NBCUniversal’sIBC operations at the Tokyo 2020 Games were conducted in a fully IP (Internet protocol) system. To configure the network that supported more than 7,000 broadcast hours by NBC Olympics, Cisco provided more than 6,700 products along with networking technology solutions to achieve all-IP streaming. Through the convergence of broadcasting and communications, people were able to experience the Games not only on television but also on a variety of other devices.

Cisco has long supported the activities of Athlete Ambassadors, including table tennis players Kasumi Ishikawa and Tomokazu Harimoto, and athlete and coach Hitoshi Matsunaga (disability sport classification T53) and athlete Tomoki Ikoma (disability sport classification T54) of the GROP SINCERITE WORLD-AC para athletics team, leveraging collaboration technologies such as Webex. At the Tokyo 2020 Games, Cisco provided the table tennis Athlete Ambassadors with apps for data analysis and viewing match videos, as well as a service that allows them to easily call up and play specific moments that they want to watch about 30 minutes after a match. In a tournament like the Olympic Games, there was a need to provide athletes with analytical results on their next opponent’s most recent matches, within the limited time available between matches. Previously, it would take three to four hours just to input the data, but through collaboration with Kasumi Ishikawa and her coaches, we narrowed down the targets of analysis, and made course corrections to achieve this system.

In the years leading up to the Tokyo 2020 Games, Cisco also made efforts toward the promotion of diversity and the training of IT human resources.

In October 2020, Pride House Tokyo Legacy opened in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, as Japan’s first permanent, large-scale, comprehensive LGBTQ+ center. As part of the Official Programme of the Tokyo 2020 Games, the center engaged in online and offline communication of information about LGBTQ+, sports, culture, education, and more. Cisco provided support for this project as its top-level sponsor, providing the network environment and collaboration tools in the facility, as well as Webex for various press conferences and events.

In 2017, Cisco launched a Cyber Security Scholarship Program as a certified Tokyo 2020 Nationwide Participation Program,focused on training the cyber security human resources that are said to be lacking in Japan. More than 6,500 people from over 170 universities, graduate schools, vocational schools, and technical colleges nationwide took part to attend online courses, and we provided CCNA Cyber Ops certified instructor training to over 50 educators. Five program graduates joined Cisco and Cisco sales partners as new graduates in 2020 and 2021.

Cisco is proud to have been a partner of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, contributing to the future of Japan through support for digital transformation. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, a rapid digital shift is occurring throughout the world. In Japan, too, remote work has taken root, and education and medical care are increasingly provided online. The post-pandemic era will be a new hybrid world where digital and physical activities fuse. We are convinced that now is our chance to do away with the disparity between those who benefit from digitalization and those who do not, to create a society in which no one is left behind.

“To Power an Inclusive Future for All.” Cisco has put forward this new slogan to express the purpose behind our corporate activities. “Inclusive” means that all people feel accepted and recognized, without discrimination. To achieve this, Cisco is focused on supporting digital transformation efforts of companies and for the digitalization of society as a whole.

Now, in the new post-Olympics era, Cisco will continue to contribute to Japan’s economic growth and the achievement of a safe and secure society through digital technology toward an inclusive future.