Microsoft has announced a partnership with the Special Olympics to modernize their software and game management system. Microsoft will leverage the cloud as a part of this multi-million dollar deal to increase efficiency as well as quality.
The new, Azure-based game management system will allow real-time updates and athlete information. In addition to server power, Microsoft will be providing the Special Olympics with 800 Surface tablets and 1,200 Lumia mobile phones. These will be in action at the 2015 World Games in Los Angles, and be used to track events and connect volunteers across the venues.
This partnership is a result of the Special Olympics realizing that it needs to increase efficiency. They do not receive the same advertisement funding as other sporting events, and need to be “lean and mean” to take care of their 4.5 million athletes from 170 different countries around the globe. Through this partnership, tasks such as scheduling the athletes to compete, track performance information, and capture health data. The Organization sees technology as their key to the future, and explains “The more we can make that technology driven, the more power our movement has.”
In addition to the technology, Microsoft has pledged $1 million dollars and committed to raising funds for the Special Olympics.
Money and financials aside, this is a great example of community relations and using technology to provide a positive impact on humanity. Announcing the partnership included their Redmond campus hosting a soccer match with teams consisting of Special Olympics Play Unified athletes from a local High School, and Microsoft Employees. The teams were coached by Seattle Sounders FC legends Roger Levesque, Kasey Keller, Taylor Graham and Michael Morris.
Ted Youmans, a software lead at Microsoft, brought his son Ty, who has cerebral palsy, so he could have an opportunity to see what he could accomplish through hard work. Ty was just excited “to be part of a team, to pass the ball to the other players, to make friends.” And that is exactly the type of experience that can result in a life time of passion, and dreams to fuel a kid’s ambitions as he grows up.Further reading: Microsoft, Special Olympics