Feeds

Boris to give out Olympic 'BlackBerries'

Handheld devices promote a 'more intimate experience'

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Visitors to the 2012 Olympics may be entertained by “handheld electronic devices” designed to provide spectators with a “more intimate experience”.

The “handheld devices”, it transpired, will most likely be “some sort of Blackberry”, helping visitors to find their way around, and providing them with action replays of key moments in the games.

Transport problems might be soothed by increased use of bicycles. Meanwhile, large areas of central London could be turned over to partying.

For the most part, however, Boris Johnson’s first appearance yesterday as Mayor, answering questions from the the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, left few hostages to fortune. Which is not quite the same as none at all.

As London MP and Committee Member Alan Keen later observed: “He is all too easily able to overwhelm his interrogators with a flood of words, in which the original question gets lost.” Nonetheless, even a representative of the party that lost the London mayoralty to Boris in May was prepared to recognise that, at this stage, there are no sensational disasters on the horizon.

Whether this will still be the case in a year or two is another matter.

On security, Boris was upbeat. There was a budget of £600m in place for policing and that should be more than enough.

The committee expressed some concerns at the loss of two key figures in the security equation: Police Commissioner Ian Blair, who stood down last week, and Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, who has been temporarily relieved of his duties. However, responsibility for putting together security for the games was now with Deputy Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson. And with four years to go, recent events should not have too great an effect on the end result.

Where greater debate may yet be needed is in the nature of that security. The mayor felt that there needed to be a balance between over-intrusive security of the sort present in Beijing, and individual safety.

The experience of the G8 summit in 2005 suggested that if you put a lot of security in one place, the most likely result would be that terrorists would attack somewhere else. Too much security would be overkill.

Perhaps the biggest hostage to fortune was Boris Johnson’s “categoric assurance” that the budget as it stood now was more than enough – and he would not be spending more. Such assurances have been heard before on major public spending projects, and more often than not they have proven false.

The other downside, which formed a recurrent theme of questioning, was comparison with the Beijing Olympics. Several questions returned to the fact that London was planning to produce something “just as good” as Beijing, in its own way – but for half the budget.

The more that Boris and members of the Select Committee repeated that point, the more hollow it sounded. In time, London may come to regret having won the games that followed Beijing. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.