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Live Aid, thirteen satellites unite the world against hunger

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On July 13, 1985, the world united in the name of music. Nine months ago an Irish rock star who lived in London, Bob Geldof, he had seen a BBC documentary on the famine in Ethiopia on TV. He was so impressed that he wanted to go right away and when he returned he had written the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” which, sung together with other stars of the British pop and rock scene, was immediately a success that has never ended.

The song was used to raise funds to help those who were dying of hunger in Africa, and after the song Geldof had made up his mind to organize a great planetary concert, from London and Philadelphia, to raise awareness of the emergency to raise more funds. That concert made history also because of some memorable performances (Queen, but also the double one of Phil Collins, who reached Philadelphia in Concorde after having performed at Wembley).

If we talk about it in this Innovation Almanac, however, it is because in 1989 Hal Uplinger, the person behind the production of this blockbuster, was awarded the Computerworld Smithsonian Award (here is his interview with all the details technological). In fact, Live Aid was also a sensational technological feat for the times: 13 satellites allowed the production of the event from both sides of the Atlantic and the live distribution for 16 hours to 110 countries, for a total audience of over one billion people. It was a huge technological effort for an era when the web was not yet there. Reason why revised today, thirty-six years later, it may even seem incomprehensible.

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Today basically to go into the world of vision is enough turn on a live broadcast from your smartphone.

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