100 Mbps fibre optic network connects Getty Images at Sochi Winter Olympics

Photo agency can send a priority photo in 3 minutes to news sites

Clement Caplain from Getty Image’s French office tests the network in the Adler speed skating arena.

Clement Caplain from Getty Image’s French office tests the network in the Adler speed skating arena.

A 20 kilometre fibre optic network has been used to connect sports venues in Sochi, Russia, with the Getty Images office in the main press centre at the Winter Olympics.

The network is a collaboration between Getty Images, the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, Reuters and EPA.

Getty Images sports photography expert Mike Heiman told Computerworld Australia that it began planning for the network in 2012.

“Between the venues we have a 100 megabits per second [Mbps] direct connection to our office in the media press centre. For outbound Internet we have two lines in place, 100 Mbps and a backup 10 Mbps direct connection back to our London office,” he said.

Using the network, Getty Images can send an image to a news website in about 3 minutes. However, this accelerated service is reserved for 'medal moment’ images such as when an athlete wins a gold medal.

“180 seconds is the fastest we can send an image so we use this this for priority images. To produce an image like that, all parts of the system need to be aligned for that moment with all cameras cabled into the network,” Heiman said.

“As soon as the photographer captures an image, the frame appears before an editor who then selects it. The editor passes it to an editing team for cropping, captioning and distribution.”

Just in case the fibre optic network goes down, Getty Images has provided 4G devices to staff so that they can continue to send images.

In addition to using fibre and copper networks to send photos, the photographers will be using wireless hot spots in alpine areas where it was not possible to run cable.

Heiman added that the wire agencies needed to collaborate on the fibre optic network because editorial deadlines are getting “slimmer and slimmer”.

“Collaboration at Sochi ensures that all content producers – whether print, online, broadcast or social media – have access to the content they need at a competitive price.”

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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Tags NetworkingGetty ImagesSochiWinter Olympics 2014

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