The Olympics take it up a notch every year. From the opening ceremony to the carrying of the torch to the brilliant team colors worn by competitors from every country, one would think that the Olympics in Rio has everything they need for the most spectacular show on earth.

And they do…

They have everything, including some incredible outdoor digital signage that brings the 2016 Rio Olympics to a space where it is safe to say that any Olympic event today, in any location, has the ability to be the most technologically advanced event in the world.

Hundreds of digital signage vendors have sent commercial grade screens of all shapes and sizes to Brazil that will feature at the 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympic games.

From wayfinding kiosks to results displays to touchscreens and menu boards, digital signage is everywhere in the South American country. Displays of all shapes and sizes are being used in every stadium and venue so that not a single jump, lap, or flip is missed.

The Olympics are also an incredible opportunity for brand promotion.

What’s more, the content displayed can be aired in multiple global languages and can be made specific to any particular event. For example, brands wanting to share swimsuits or goggles can develop content that appeals to swimmers and other athletes during specific swimming events.

The possibilities really are endless. Let’s take a closer look at how digital signage takes the cake in Brazil, bringing the 2016 Olympics up close and personal to every viewer worldwide.

1) To Show a Country Who Their Team Is

When Australia wanted to show their country who they should be rooting for at this years Olympics, they did so using various digital signs in different cities atop buildings and billboards everywhere.

Using APN Outdoors Elite Screens all over the nation, Australians learned in early July that Anna Meareas, four-time Olympic cyclist, would be the Olympic Team flag bearer.

The news was made in the form of a live announcement, and lit up digital signs in cities across Australia. 

But why stop there?

After the live announcement, the APN Outdoor Company and Australia’s Olympic network worked it out so that a large digital sign in Melbourne’s Federation Square generated excitement and public interest about the event.

The digital display encouraged viewers to become involved in the summer Olympics, and to cheer their country on throughout the event’s entirety.

2) To Show the World Who Their Team Is

Despite the number of digital signs shipped to Rio de Janeiro for the Summer XXXI Olympics, there are plenty more digital signage campaigns globally that are making it their mission to air the games in every corner of the world.

The Yomiuri Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper published in Tokyo, is reporting news and updates from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics on fourteen digital signs at several train stations in Tokyo.

From the news that the International Olympic Committee will be adding martial arts to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, to video of tennis player Kei Nishikori practicing during a session, the signs act as a bright reminder of the incredible talent Japan has brought to the Summer Games.

3) Wayfinding

Rio de Janeiro has played host to the football World Cup, the Confederation Cup, a visit from the Pope, and now the 2016 Olympic Games.

With so many important events coming in and out of this iconic city in South America, it’s crucial that something somewhere keep everyone on the right path, moving in the right direction, and headed to the right place.

So where are the maps?

Not only can maps be confusing for some to read, they require a few lucky attraction agents to run about the city to keep them in stock at various locations. That’s a headache.

Let’s just say that maps are an antiquated second option.

The first option is digital wayfinding. And there are more than 500 wayfinding signs in place to guide Olympians and their fans in Rio de Janeiro.

In 2015, the signs were installed across 46 miles of the city. 12 million locals and 6 million international tourists will use the touchscreen digital maps to find the confidence they need to make their way through the massive city.

The signs start at the world famous Maracaña stadium to the north, meander through the tourist hotspots of Copacabana, Lapa, Ipanema and Leblon, and move back around to Barra da Tijuca, the hot spot where the majority of the 2016 Olympic venues are.

Maps are certainly available, but the wayfinding option is more popular and more detailed.

4) To Socially Market Brands Worldwide

We would be remiss if we didn’t state the obvious: Using digital signage and social media to market brands worldwide is nothing short of genius.

Yes, digital signs at the Olympics provide information like the next upcoming competitor, scores, highlight footage, and live feeds of the Olympians in action.

Social media offers the same thing.

To become a sponsor is no small feat, either. Brands interested in becoming part of the 2016 Olympic games need to buck up a reported $100 million to $200 million to be an official Olympic sponsor.

Sponsors like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Samsung, and Visa are just a few that splurged to show up loud in Rio. With dozens more shoring up to be seen in Brazil, it turns out Samsung is gaining the most as far as social mentions and recognition.

Here’s why:

A video mash-up of different national anthems has stolen the hearts of Olympians and social users everywhere.

The video steps over borders with pride, as athletes and fans of different nationalities seamlessly sing the lines of various national anthems in the video.

Gareth Davies, head of digital and insight at PR firm Waggener Edstrom Communications said, “…particular note goes out to Samsung’s ‘anthem’ video that mashed together all of the Olympic team national anthems into one, which is still driving engagement and positive interactions to this day…”

In a world where it seems segregation and religion are fast becoming an alarming issue, the video hits home, reminding us that we are, indeed, one without borders.

5) To Share the News and Stories of Those Competing

Aside from the thousands of digital signs implemented in different ways in Rio, it’s no surprise that other pieces of technology make up the massive technological storm that goes into the telling and sharing of stories that come out of the 2016 Olympics.

NBC Olympics, a division of the NBC Sports Group, is using hundreds of fine-pitch LED video wall displays to produce and air segments of the summer games.

On the sets alone, the company is using two TVH Series LED video walls for the NBC Olympics, one for the indoor set and one for the outdoor set.

In addition, the broadcast sets will feature a large 9-foot-wide by 12-foot-tall 2.5-mm pixel pitch in-floor display made up of 108 screens. The screens are designed to allow for image adjustment so that only the highest quality of broadcasting imagery can be achieved.

Remember when news happened with one monitor and one broadcaster?
Yeah. Those days are long gone.

6) To Feed The World

There is no question that when thousands of tourists flock to an area for a major event, that a few of them are going to be a little bit hungry. Well, a lot hungry.
Every day, three times a day.

Digital signs boasting Olympic meal specials are sparking up the imagination of the hungry throughout the entire event.

While the large majority of area restaurants had digital signage in place well before the opening ceremony, the digital menus are proving to be highly effective as the days go by.

We already know that using digital menu boards to promote or upsell is effective. Imagine just how effective those promos become at an international tourist spot during a highly televised, highly anticipated world event.

From special meals to upsells and promotions, restaurateurs are benefiting from the Olympic buzz, too.

Conclusion

As the number of outdoor digital signs increase in Brazil, it is yet another testament to just how powerful digital signage and marketing really is.

In countries like Australia and Japan, we’re seeing how the pride of these countries shows up. By sharing past and current competitors on digital displays, the world is reminded of the event and encouraged to tune in.

To accommodate the thousands of people that come to watch over 11,000 athletes compete in 42 Olympic sport disciplines and 306 events in one place over the course of 19 days, is monumental.

That’s a lot of people in one place.

Wayfinding digital signage in 500 locations helps to guide those athletes and onlookers. And as thousands of people make their way through the city, they are reminded, via digital displays, of who is who, what sport is next, and what the scores are in every event.

When they events aren’t being covered, sponsors are. Those willing to pay as much as $2 million dollars to be branded at the 2016 Olympics are proud to do so.

Digital signage isn’t just up and coming anymore. It’s in full force. And now the Olympic world knows it.

Did you watch any of the 2016 Summer Games? How did you see digital signage being used?