The Windows XP Embedded (XPe) operating system has helped launch the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The extravagant opening ceremony, held today at 8 PM Beijing time (5 AM PDT), featured the behind-the-scenes use of 120 XPe-based Axon Media Servers, according to Microsoft.
Said to be the largest, costliest extravaganza in Olympic history, the ceremony was watched by 91,000 people at Beijing's National Stadium and a potential audience of 4 billion worldwide, according to the Associated Press. Approximately 15,000 people reportedly participated in the pageantry, which celebrated China's first-time role as Olympic host by dramatizing 5,000 years of the country's history.
Compared to that, Windows XP Embedded played only a small part -- but a key one, according to a posting on Microsoft's Windows Embedded Standard blog by Program Manager Weijuan Shi. As she writes, 120 XPe-based media servers from High End Systems (HES) were installed in the National Stadium's server room -- the largest number ever used for any live event. Linked to HES Wholehog 3 lighting consoles and projectors with moving orbital heads, the Axon Media Servers helped pull off the opening ceremony's special effects in real time.