Innovation played a key role at the Rio 2016 Table Tennis test-event in November 2015. One concept put on trial was to have the venue become paperless. During the test-event, organisers went around daily to meet with event stakeholders and discuss how to further reduce printing.
Later, during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the sport management team of the Riocentro Pavilion 3, which hosted the table tennis competition, no longer provided printed documents to each individual NOC, media representative and technical official. Instead, one copy of the documents (e.g. match results, updated draws, general information, etcetera) was made available at a few places such as the Sport Information Desk, Athletes’ Lounge and ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) office.
The usual printed versions of the documents were all made available digitally by the venue results operating team. Results, schedules and background information was available digitally in MyInfo+ and the Olympic News Service
Given the 56 participating NOCs (National Olympic Committees), the venue would normally have to make approximately 100 copies of each document. During the Rio 2016 Games, this was reduced to five copies of each document.
Combined efforts of the ITTF and the Sport Management Team aimed to change the habit of athletes, coaches and team leaders to rely on digitally available information and no longer on printed copies. Athletes, coaches and others also often captured the content of a document by taking a photo of it, instead of requesting a printed version.
Under normal conditions, an estimate of 1,000 pages would be printed per day during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Table Tennis event. During 12 days of table tennis competition, this would result in approximately 12,000 printed pages. Due to their innovative approach and strong collaboration with the International Federation (ITTF), that supported the idea of reducing the printed results distribution since the beginning, the venue was able to reduce this number by an estimate of 95%.
For economic efficiency reasons, we had to rethink our existing processes. We discovered that breaking the habit of printing everything was a significant cost and time saver for the venue.
Carlos León, Table Tennis Sport Manager, Rio 2016 Organising Committee
Besides saving the costs of printing 12,000 pages, the venue significantly reduced its need for printers and in the end only purchased two printers for the entire sport management team in the venue instead of the expected five printers.
Furthermore, feedback from event stakeholders has been very positive as they have easy real-time access to the information instead of having to wait at the venue for a printed copy.