Tata Communications brings technologies from F1 to enterprises
Tata Communications has been associated with Formula One Business, especially for data management and information exchange for the Formula One teams. “Over the years, our partnership with Formula 1 has grown to cover the entire ecosystem — from the company that runs the sport to the team that wins the sport, and to the range of broadcasters who take the sport to the fans globally,” according to Mehul Kapadia, Vice President, F1 Business and Product Marketing, Tata Communications.
Since 2012, as the Official Connectivity Provider of Formula 1, as well as Official Web Hosting and Content Delivery Network Provider of Formula1.com, Tata Communications has powered Formula 1 to seamlessly reach out to its tens of millions of fans across the globe with complete end-to-end solutions. They included setting up a trackside data centre at each race location in 2 days and dismantling it in just 3 hours, a process that would traditionally take weeks. The teams, both onsite at the circuit and in remote locations, are integrated completely into the Formula 1 setup. All this ensures that Formula 1 always has the ‘Speed To Lead’.
Tata Communications’ technology leadership and focused approach to foster a culture of innovation in the sport has been recognised by multiple stakeholders. As the Official Connectivity Supplier to the Mercedes AMG Petronas team, Tata Communications provides the team with 3 times faster connectivity than before, the ability to transfer live race data around the world in less than a quarter of a second. This is enabled by Tata Communications’ round the world wholly owned sub-sea fibre ring, and the rapid transfer of rich data from over 150 of the car’s sensors, which are being sent from the track to the factory and vice-versa. This gives the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 team the time to distribute data to the right engineers across the world; and a safe and reliable acquisition and transfer of data which is monitored by both an onsite team and a remote team who offer round-theclock support.
Apart from providing technology and media services to F1, Mercedes AMG Petronas, GP2, GP3 and Porsche Supercup racing series, Chello Media, Red Bull Media House, and Sky, Tata Communications has also launched the F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize with Formula One Management and the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team to foster and reward connectivity innovation and creative thinking with a US $50,000 (Rs 33 lakh) bounty. “Our focus remains on providing the best connectivity and collaboration services with the best service level agreements, just as we would for any other customer”, Kapadia said.
There is tremendous scope to make a lot of data available live to the viewers. For example, a driver’s tyre strategy could be broadcast live during the races so that the spectators can understand what is happening. There are also big advances in broadcast quality over the years. Most recently, Tata Communications, Formula One Management and Sky have tested in action Ultra High Definition (UHD) broadcasting at the 2016 Singapore Grand Prix. Sky will now show all races of the 2017 season in UHD, which offers 4 times higher resolution than HD, making F1 a more powerful, immersive experience for fans than ever before.
This year, Tata Communications celebrates its fifth year as the Official Connectivity Provider of Formula 1. It has enabled innovations across multiple spheres of the business of Formula One Management. All Formula One group businesses and race locations are connected to the Tata Communications Global Network. Formula One Management’s IT infrastructure and Formula1.com are also co-located and hosted in Tata Communications’ world-class data centres.
Connecting Formula One Management circuits and offices all over the world on Tata Communications’ network has itself resulted in an initial 10-fold speed increase. This is made possible by Tata Communications’ whollyowned subsea cable network, the largest in the world, providing connectivity to more than 240 countries and territories. This aligns perfectly with Formula 1, whose races take place all over the world — sometimes in remote and challenging locations. Tata Communications’ robust and superfast fibre optic cable ring ensures seamless connectivity at each race event as well as to Formula1.com.
Tata Communications helps Formula One Management work smarter and more securely by hosting its essential IT infrastructure. Enabling remote operations for the live broadcast production has created efficiencies of 50% cost savings by reducing trackside infrastructure, logistics and presence. This partnership is a true culmination of Tata Communications’ pursuit of excellence in innovation, the capabilities of its network and the expertise of delivering extreme reliability and security.
In 2013, Tata Communications partnered with Mercedes AMG Petronas to become the ‘Official
Managed Connectivity Supplier’ to the team, delivering worldclass trackside connectivity for the team at all Formula 1 race locations using the Tata Communications Global Network. Tata Communications’ superior managed connectivity solutions from the pit wall back to the team’s headquarters in Brackley, UK, enable a team of dedicated specialists to analyse abundant amounts of real-time data remotely and faster than ever before to contribute to vital decisions live on the race day. In a sport governed by split-second decision-making this translates into a critical competitive advantage.
Apart from connectivity services, Tata Communications also provides media services to Formula 1. Consumer demand for highquality live content across different platforms is growing. “We work with 20+ broadcasters to deliver F1 to fans across the globe. Last year, Tata Communications was chosen by Formula One Management to provide broadcast services for the GP2, GP3 and Porsche Supercup racing series. This year, Tata Communications also partnered with Sky to deliver the live broadcast feeds of all 21 Grands Prix over our global superfast fibre network. We have also successfully tested in action live Ultra High Definition (UHD) broadcasting at the 2016 Singapore Grand Prix. Sky will now show all races of the 2017 season in UHD”, Kapadia said.
Innovation and data analytics define F1. A fraction of a second is the difference between success and failure in this sport. A winning team needs a car that can reach a top speed of over 233 mph (375 km/h), a driver with a reaction time of less than 0.4 seconds, and a crew that makes the race winning calls in the heat of the moment based on accurate and up to the second information. Data is an invaluable tool in the teams’ arsenal. During each race, the team dissects information recorded by up to 200 sensors on each car, generating about 2,000 data points a minute. From this data, engineers glean insights on factors ranging from tyre pressure and fuel consumption to trends affecting past lap times to enable the team to come up with a winning race strategy.
Tata Communications’ network has trebled thehe speed of data transfer for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 team, enabling critical race car telemetry and sensor data, such as tyre degradation and temperature, airflow, aerodynamics,s, throttle, brake and oill temperature, and movements inside the gearbox, to be transferred in less than a quarter of a second from a racetrack anywhere in the world to the team’s factory in the UK and vice-versa. That is 0.244 seconds to send a signal around the world, transmitting 128 GB of data per second. With the volume of data analysed by the team growing each season, this infrastructure delivers a real competitive advantage to the team. Formula 1 is a sport that is at the cutting edge of the technology. There will certainly be new forms of technology to be deployed to the cars as well as the entire operational mechanics of the teams associated with the sport in the seasons to come.
Take Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), for example, these applications are set to transform how people engage with each other and the world around them, so the exhilarating, high-pressure environment of
Formula 1 is the best place to explore the full potential of these technologies.
Tata Communications partners with Formula One Management and The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team to promote and reward connectivity innovation through the F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize (FCIP). FCIP is a global platform that engages international brainpower against
the demanding backdrop of Formula 1 racing. “After 2 successful seasons, we are now into our third season of the competition and the challenge this year looks to unleash the collective brainpower of F1 fans and technology enthusiasts worldwide to show how creative applications of VR and AR, underpinned by superfast connectivity, could boost F1 teams’ competitiveness”, he said.
For a chance of winning the US $50,000 Grand Prize, fans need to develop a solution that uses VR or AR to enable closer collaboration between the team of engineers on trackside and those working remotely at the team’s factory in the UK. Currently, the 2 teams of engineers come up with a race strategy, review component changes and resolve issues if any using audio communications and two-way video feeds between the track and the factory. The objective is to show how this collaboration could be enhanced using VR or AR during mid-season tests, practice, qualifying or race day, helping the two teams to become a more closely integrated unit, and ultimately boosting the drivers’ competitiveness.
All collaborations are about growth, innovations, and thrilling experiences. With this association, both Formula 1 and Tata Communications unite to deliver an enhanced experience to the fan base every time. Even a split seco second of data transfer delay dur during a Formula 1 race can pro prove to be fatal.
“With businesses increasingly be becoming global and cuttingedge technology coming into pla play, we have learnt a lot from ou our association with Formula 1. He Hence, for us, this association w with Formula 1 acts as a ca capability showcase. We offer F1 innovative services that e enable them to carry out all t their races seamlessly. We o often tell our customers that i if we can do it for Formula O One, we can do it for anyone”, Kapadia said.
The lessons Tata Communications has learnt from its association with Formula 1 are being employed to some of its enterprises include: Full-speed service from afar: Technology deployment at Formula 1 has developed at a very impressive speed. As the company’s enterprise customers expand globally, it has realised that it needs reliable technology solutions, regardless of location. Even if the race is on the other side of the world, the “teams” on and off the track need to be connected. Human collaboration is the key: How the engineers sitting at the pit wall analyse the data to be sent to the driver who, in the meantime, tweaks critical race strategies is a great example of teamwork. It is understood that across any time zone around world, the perfect mix of training, motivation, and leadership can ignite enterprise teams to perform together at the same level again and again, producing results that help companies thrive in the midst of calm or chaos.
Driving innovation from start to finish: Right from the beginning of the partnership with Formula 1, Tata Communications took full advantage of key technology trends in racing. It constantly looks at the road ahead, scanning the horizon for new opportunities and looking around the corner at potential twists and turns.
Beyond the F1 track, the approach to innovation can inspire global enterprises to imagine the possibilities. The same tech used on the track is being leveraged in hospitals to remotely manage patients. With the right amount of resources, before long, Tata Communications thinks that it will be able to change the efficiency of hybrid cars through F1 technologies using the energy they emit to propel them forward. In essence, a car that creates its own power.
“We meet enterprise leaders every day who are looking at their businesses and trying to find the next leap that pushes them out ahead of the competition. Bringing innovation to the board room and cross-pollination of ideas, expertise and technology is what is going to provide enterprises a competitive edge,” Kapadia said.
Mehul Kapadia, Vice President, F1 Business and Product Marketing, Tata Communications