Jennifer Bélissent [Posted by Jennifer Bélissent]

Certain events serve as wake-up calls. In the case of some, the anticipation of these events is enough to spark action or change behavior – maybe even spur technology investment. As technology marketers, we need to recognize the opportunity that these events provide. Obviously, we also need to be ready to exploit them.

Which events could be catalyzing events from a technology purchasing decision? It could be as simple as the approach of a new millennium: Y2K fears spurred major investment. New regulation is an easy one to identify: IT buyers scrambled to upgrade security and implement data archiving and discovery software after the passage of the EU Data Protection Act and subsequent country-level legislation, as was also the case following passage of HIPAA, SOX, Basel II and others. The events of 9/11 certainly spurred concerns about cyber and other types of security. More recently, following last week’s blackouts in Brazil, leaders issued new commitments to energy reform. Natural disaster, crime waves and other negative events also catalyze technology investments.

sochi2014But, I’d like to focus on a few that we can anticipate. The Olympics and the FIFA World Cup are two that come to mind. South Africa will host the World Cup in 2010, and has already spent billions on new stadiums, renovations to existing stadiums and upgrades to their communications and transportation networks. Next up for the World Cup is Brazil as the host in 2014.  Two upcoming Olympics venues are also ripe for technology and infrastructure investment: Brazil will host the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and Russia has already broken ground in preparation for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.  For 2014, an estimated $580 million will be spent on construction and modernization of telecommunications in the region.

They will have large shoes – and Olympic sized budgets – to fill following the Chinese spending spree for the 2008 Olympics. The $40+ billion infrastructure budget included line items like 1 million video cameras as part of the $6.5 billion security budget for Beijing and $300 million for other Olympic venues.  Plus the media coverage of the actual sporting events.  That’s a lot of video to capture, transmit, and store.  US viewers alone downloaded 1.7 million video streams of US relay teams win against France.

In London, which is hosting the 2012 Summer Games, the budget is now just shy of $15 billion. That’s roughly quadruple projections from four years ago. Rio’s projected cost – at $14.4 billion – was the highest budget of any of the four cities competing for the 2016 summer games.

Bottom line: Be on the lookout for events that catalyze technology investments. Olympic events typically have Olympic sized technology budgets.

[Cross-posted from B2B Beyond Borders]