Be the Show: Immersive live display for the Tokyo Olympics with APPIX


How APPIX Tech harnessed Pusher Channels to power an immersive light display for athletes at Tokyo’s Olympic Closing Ceremony.


Behind the most captivating moment of the Olympic closing ceremony: Moment Factory and APPIX’s interactive realtime event platform with Pusher.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics, delayed and held behind closed doors because of the pandemic, came to close with an unusually intimate ceremony this year. Athletes gathered in Japan National Stadium to wish farewell to Tokyo and pass the torch (literally) to Paris with a modest spirit not seen in any recent Olympics.

No less joyful or spirited than any other, the ceremony was marked with an atmosphere of contemplation, and gestures for remembering those who were absent.

One moment offered athletes in the stadium a chance to take part in standing in for those who could not be in the stadium. As the arena was plunged into darkness, they raised their phones to the sky and delivered an element of an immersive light display designed to “remember the many people whose contribution made the Olympics possible — both near and far, as well as those who could not be here today.”

Creating immersive events

Early this year, Montreal-based events studio Moment Factory, assigned by the Olympic Committee as environment light specialists to create several spectacular displays for the event, approached APPIX Technology to provide a Pusher Channels-powered app to help make the light display possible.

APPIX offers toolkits to organisers which allow them to deliver immersive experiences for events like concerts, conferences and festivals by encouraging attendees to become a part of the performance.

Running concurrently with any event, live or streamed, organisers can choose what their audience sees on their smartphone at any time with realtime app-based interactivity.

Their solutions include:

  • Synchronised audience-wide “luminaire” lighting effects and flash control
  • Realtime lyrics displayed on device
  • Sports bios and statistics for players on field
  • Celebratory device reactions such as flash and audio at key game moments
  • Program and schedule sharing
  • Media rich presentation content
  • Venue-wide emergency communications to in-person attendees
  • Links to published materials and rich content from speakers
  • Calls to action for donations and feedback

The luminaire feature of APPIX Live was behind the time-synced device sparkles that lit up the Tokyo Closing Ceremony. Realtime messaging functionality provided by the Pusher Channels API synchronized athlete’s devices with the stadium lighting to provide a dancing display of individual lights which eventually rose into the air via a special made-for-TV effect to form the iconic Olympic rings.

A magical moment ✨#Tokyo2020 | #ClosingCeremony

— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) August 8, 2021

The Olympic spirit is in all of us.

A display of beautiful, luminous colours swirl together, representing the many flags of the world.

They form the Olympic Rings, a timeless symbol of unity. #StrongerTogether #Tokyo2020 #ClosingCeremony

— Olympics (@Olympics) August 8, 2021

“Working with Pusher was great,” said Aaron Wylie, on of APPIX’s co-founders. Pusher’s system passed rigorous tests from the International Olympic Committee in order to be accepted as the live messaging infrastructure behind the app. “Everything worked perfectly from a technical point of view. We’re looking forward to more projects which will include concerts and festivals.”

Second-screen accessibility for audiences

With live experiences becoming more common as the world opens up again, APPIX aren’t short of event opportunities. Having provided their services to the New Kids on the Block tour and Disney’s Coco Live at The Hollywood Bowl in pre-COVID 2019 they are raring to get back to mass attendance events.

For those who are still unable to produce or attend live events at the moment, and for companies who have found that remote meeting is a long term solution for them, APPIX have something in their back pocket. The Live Streaming Music project reported 90% of musicians and 92% of fans agreed live streaming will be a good way to reach audiences unable or unwilling to go to venues and agree that virtual events are here to stay. APPIX’s answer to this: their new Channels-based second-screen companion feature, which provides impressive interactive features for streamed and localised event attendees.

Fully streamed events pose a huge obstacle to many organisers, one of the biggest challenges being how to improve remote audience retention and engagement. Features like bonus content sharing, timed displays and even “send a message to the band” style options allow users to be involved directly in meetings, performances and talks.

The second screen feature isn’t only a win for pandemic times, but represents a huge move for accessibility. Widely available event streams have become an important part of the music landscape over the last 18 months and have provided an inclusive space for many who aren’t usually able to access live venues due to mobility problems, anxiety or other obstacles. The APPIX Live platform leads the way in providing a dynamic, interactive experience for all attendees.

Find out more about what you can build with Channels or sign up now to start creating realtime experiences with Pusher.