Rio 2016

Live From Rio 2016: Inside Riedel Communications’ Massive Presence

Riedel Communications once again is at the center of every Olympic event, as well as plenty of the events surrounding the Olympics, thanks to an agreement with the Rio 2016 Local Organizing Committee (LOC). Under the deal, the company is providing a wide range of technologies and services for the Games, and it has 150 engineers onsite to make sure the thousands of pieces of technology perform as needed.

Riedel Mediornet and intercom systems are a backbone of of every Rio Olympics event.

Riedel Mediornet and intercom systems are a backbone of of every Rio Olympics event.

For example, once again, Riedel Communications technologies — the Mediornet real-time network for video, audio, and data communications; 1,200 wireless radios; hundreds of belt packs; and upwards of 20,000 in-ear monitors — were used for the Olympic Opening Ceremony, and they will also be used for the Closing Ceremony.

“Those ceremonies are one huge system on its own, with Mediornet running over CCTV cameras, systems, and monitors,” says Riedel Communications CEO Thomas Riedel.

The company is also providing 14,000 official radios used by the LOC and several other parties, including sponsors, who use them for coordination and events.

Communications among officials at events like weightlifting relies on a number of technologies from Riedel Communications.

Communications among officials at events like weightlifting rely on a number of technologies from Riedel Communications.

“Every radio in the venue operations is ours, and running 40-plus Mediornet systems is a challenge,” says Riedel. “We did all of the test events for the LOC and also handle the timing signals, big-screen signals for the scoreboards, and audio signals for the sound systems at the venues.”

It was at the 2004 Athens Olympics that Riedel Communications first found a place providing “gap cabling,” which connected the gap between the sound system and video operations and elsewhere. Since then, the company has played a part with Olympic LOCs, which are charged with providing security radios, venue-personnel radios, judge and referee communications systems, and much more.

“Basically, we got the job to do all the connections,” Riedel explains. “Mediornet is an ideal tool to make all the connections: we can drop in nodes and then type in the audio connection to get the signal from here to there and then plug in the equipment,. You put the nodes in strategic locations, and the system does it all.”

With most technology providers based in and around the IBC in Barra, the Riedel Communications team is scattered throughout the venues, with Maracanã Stadium getting the most personnel. The company is also providing access systems, accreditation systems, and more to the USA House, the Heineken (Dutch) House, Switzerland House, and German House.

“This is our biggest games ever,” says Riedel, “with more than 400 pallets of equipment, 450 km of cable, and 20 40-ft. containers with equipment coming in.”

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