Posted on Tuesday 23 August 2011 by Ulster Business

[caption id="attachment_1158" align="alignnone" width="510" caption="Lee Hamill"]Lee Hamill[/caption]

There are still plenty of opportunities for Northern Ireland firms to get involved in next year's Olympic Games, according to the Ballymena man heading BT's London 2012 strategy team.

DETI has revealed that 43 local companies have so far won £40m of business at the London Olympics, including H&J Martin, Boyd Bedding, Lagan Construction, Brett Martin and Ulster Weavers. But it has also pointed out that a further £350m worth of contracts for products and services are still to be placed and the contracts, many of which will be ideally suited to smaller companies, are likely to be let right up to the start of the Games in July 2012. BT Group's Head of Strategy for London 2012 Lee Hamill, who recently spoke at an Invest NI event on the Olympics, told Ulster Business that local businesses need to show tenacity if they decide to go after the contracts. "There is still quite a big slice of the pie available at this stage, even with a year to go. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) are still letting contracts for the Games that are worth many millions of pounds and there's absolutely no reason why businesses in Northern Ireland can't get involved in that," he said. "They are the experts so they must not be afraid to tell their story through the tender process and to show what they can do." BT has been connected with London 2012 since the city bid for the Games in 2004 and won the tender to be the official communications services partner for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. That means that, working with LOCOG and the other technology partners, BT is responsible for delivering every official photograph from the Games, every TV picture, every visit to the London 2012 website and millions of calls, emails and texts. Up to 60 gigabits of information will be transmitted across the BT network each second – the equivalent of 3,000 photographs. It is a big responsibility but Hamill says the company is up to the challenge, with 800 staff set to work on delivery during Games-time. "London 2012 will be the most connected games ever. We will never before have seen a Games where communications plays such an important role," he said. "Just like the athletes who spend four years preparing for the Games we've been working on this since 2008. We've currently got about 200 people working at LOCOG's headquarters in London. Right the way through the summer and into next spring there are test events taking place that will let us plan for all contingencies and ensure the technology is in good shape – and that we've got the right people looking after it."

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