Cloud pins have been offered to media members working at Tokyo 2020 ©Alibaba

Worldwide Olympic partner Alibaba has provided "cloud pins" for members of the media working at Tokyo 2020.

The pins can be worn either as a badge or attached to a lanyard, and enable users to share information with each other in a contactless way amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Users at the Main Press Centre (MPC) and International Broadcast Centre (IBC) simply touch the pins together - at arm's length - to virtually "meet and greet each other".

They can add people to their "friend list" and exchange updates such as how many steps they have done and the number of friends made during the day. 

The cloud pins are a modern take on the Olympic Games tradition of pin collecting.

Those using the technology first need to download an app and pair it to the device using Bluetooth.

Information can then be shared such as contact details and social media usernames.

It is also possible to unlock special designs for each of the 33 sports on the Tokyo 2020 programme, by completing tasks such as making new friends.

"The Olympic Games has always been a thrilling event with opportunities for media staff to  meet like-minded professionals," said Chris Tung, the chief marketing officer of Alibaba Group.

Users of the cloud pins can unlock achievements and make friends ©Alibaba
Users of the cloud pins can unlock achievements and make friends ©Alibaba

"With this unprecedented Olympic Games, we want to use our technology to add new exciting elements to the Olympic pin tradition at the IBC and MPC while connecting media professionals and enabling them to maintain social interactions with safe distancing," said Chris Tung, chief marketing officer of Alibaba Group. 

"As a proud Worldwide Olympic Partner, Alibaba is dedicated to the transformation of the Games in the digital era, making the experience more accessible, aspirational and inclusive for broadcasters, sports fans and athletes from across the world."

Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, joined the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) flagship The Olympic Partner (TOP) sponsorship programme in 2017.

The company become the founding partner of the Olympic Channel with the deal particularly significant given that Beijing is hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics.

"Today more than ever we look to engage people around the world through our digital ecosystem and connect them with the spirit of Tokyo 2020," said Christopher Carroll, the director of digital engagement and marketing at the IOC. 

"We are excited to be partnering with Alibaba to support us in our digital transformation journey and to help us build engagement ahead of the Olympic Games."