Why Tokyo 2021 is the smartest Olympics ever

By John Hauschild, Global Market Strategy Manager for Electronic Components and Industrial Lighting

2021’s Tokyo Olympics is set to become the most technologically advanced sporting event in history, showcasing robotic guides, AI directed crowd control and security checks using the latest in facial recognition technology.

Underlying this digital innovation is 5G and the IoT, enabling an unprecedented level of data intensive connectivity.

Ultimately, this year’s Olympics will be a test of how smart technology can meet expectations. With over 15,000 athletes from over 200 countries set to descend on Tokyo, connectivity has to be seamless. Seriously smart tech is the solution to maximizing safety and effectively managing the challenges arising from an event of this magnitude, all within the context of an ongoing pandemic.

Tokyo Olympics: Innovation in tech

A global leader in innovation, Tokyo thrives on the smart city experience:

  • IoT based smart maintenance systems utilize sensors to collect data on subway cars. Sensors identify potentially weak areas in equipment and highlight areas for maintenance to ensure passenger safety and a reliable public transport system.
  • Tokyo is developing a smart energy system to support its goal to become a zero emissions city with energy saving strategies supported by IoT devices.

As organizers aim to deliver the most connected and secure Games ever, technology continues to transform possibilities and push back boundaries:

The Olympics is expected to see the unveiling of more tech innovation using IoT and 5G technology. From the innovative “Mascot” robots, and “Field Support Robots,” to the IoT tech used to create an immersive VR experience for spectators, expectations are high.

Smart technology also plays a pivotal role in mitigating the spread of the coronavirus and maximizing the safety of participants, organizers and spectators, extending into areas such as drones, robotics, AI, mask and sensor technology. This leading-edge technology relies heavily on proximity, thermal, chemical, and image sensors. Henkel’s portfolio and extensive application experience in automotive, consumer and industrial sensors markets support these applications.

Electrified public transport is expected to feature heavily at the Games, including cars, buses, shuttles, mopeds and even scooters. Henkel supports the thermal management of EVs to prevent overheating and deliver best-in-class thermal management solutions and thermal interface materials to deliver reliability and optimal battery pack performance. Henkel also offers surface treatment materials that help provide electrical isolation for battery cells and super capacitors. Over the past few years, the focus on large scale batteries has been primarily in automotive applications. However, this area is quickly gaining momentum in our industrial markets. as well in smaller or industrial delivery vehicles.

Smart cities, smarter technology

The successful creation of a smart city in turn creates the need for faster data transfer speeds and increased ability to use networks of sensors. This creates an exponential growth scenario where, as soon as capacity is available, it is utilized by additional demand and creates additional data transfer needs.

With this increased connectivity comes increased demand for higher speeds and the utilization of connections and electrical components that interface with 5G wireless systems, servers and the myriad applications required for fiber optic and high-speed cables and connectors.

Henkel is at the frontline of that tech innovation, designing connections and electronics that interface with 5G wireless systems and servers.

As networks expand to meet unprecedented demands for coverage and increased speed, additional wired connections are essential to support the backbone of the network, as well as new wireless transmission equipment.

All of these require state-of-the-art optical cables and connections. Embedded sensors that transmit information back to devices and the network are another example of frontline tech innovation behind the growth of the Telco/5G rollout. That requires constant tech innovation in areas such as cables and sensors to deliver a seamless experience to the end user.

The materials that help to make this futuristic technology possible include:

  • High performance encapsulation materials designed for long life in the field and in some cases rework.
  • Optical adhesives design specifically for optical module and connector alignment.
  • Hotmelts, gels and butyl strips for increased electrical, thermal, environmental and flammability resistance in cable manufacturing or sealing.

5G and the IoT continue to enhance smart technology and enable seamless connectivity. As the world waits in anticipation, Tokyo 2021 promises to deliver cutting edge technology and the world’s smartest Olympic Games to date.

Our hope is that Henkel’s focus on supporting the megatrends associated with IOT, 5G, Industry 4.0 and associated electronic components, enables our customers to trust that we have products that reliably support related applications now - and a strong innovation pipeline to support these trends in the future.

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About the Author:

John Hauschild

Currently serves as Henkel’s Global Market Strategy Manager for Electronic Components and Industrial Lighting within the company’s Adhesive Technology business unit, where he is focused on setting broad strategic guidance and market insights.

In 2004, Hauschild joined The Bergquist Company (acquired by Henkel in 2014) as a Process Engineer and has since worked in various capacities including process/sourcing engineering, operations management, business management, M&A, as well as marketing. A mechanical engineer by training, he has extensive experience in thermal management solutions and electronic materials applications.

Throughout his extensive cross functional, he has focused on providing reliable, high performance solutions for customers in multiple markets including telecommunications, medical, automotive, lighting, defense & aerospace and power conversion.

Hauschild is passionate about ensuring Henkel materials not only deliver on performance, but also on cost and sustainability objectives. Based in Henkel’s Chanhassen, MN facility, Hauschild holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.  

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