October 1, 2008
For NBC, the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing saw a record number of programming hours, a record number of audio and video feeds, the minimal use of mobile television trucks and a large portion of production done back home in the United States. The NBC Communications Department knew what it was up against and came to China well prepared. A little more than a year before the 2008 Olympic games, Bob Gilmartin, Willie Yau of Telex, and I laid out the groundwork for a brand new Communications RIB (rack-in-a-box, NBC slang for its portable Olympics infrastructure). It had been eight years since the original RIB was built, and with the rapid changes in technology, we were able to cut the footprint of the system down from 20 racks of equipment to just 10 while maintaining room for future expansion. This allowed the second half of the RIB to be repurposed for use by other departments.