Technology is changing every facet of how we live – how we shop, travel, bank and get medical care. It’s not surprising that technology is changing the way we enjoy our favorite sports. Thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices, mobile applications, WI-FI and social media, spectators can be anywhere in the world. No matter how far away they are from the arena, the stadium, the field or the track, sports marketing companies want fans to be more intimate with their favorite teams and athletes. Connected fans are loyal fans and with more sports to choose from, fan loyalty and engagement is core to many programs.
As such, sports conglomerates, media and sports marketing companies are constantly seeking ways to drive deeper engagement between fans, teams and athletes.
Take the Tour de France, for example. This 21-day test of endurance, skill, and physical ability has made it the world’s top cycling event with 12 million spectators lining the 3,344 kilometer route each year.
But the Tour isn’t your average sporting event.
With a three-week duration, the Tour represents a big commitment for riders and fans alike. Globally, 3.5 billion fans will follow the tour this year, most of whom won’t ever travel to France to see any of the race live; many opting instead to catch the final hours or minutes of the race – those memorable images of the winners crossing the finish line on TV. The challenge for sports marketing companies is to delight the fan. That’s hard to do with an epic event like the Tour de France.
"Cloud is the perfect service delivery platform for an event that has peaks and valleys of interest and fan participation"
It’s a challenge that the sports marketing company, Armoury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.) believes they can overcome. With a mind to innovate and delight more fans, this year’s Tour will leverage the power of technology to add a whole new dimension of engagement to the Tour de France.
A New Viewing Dimension
Using technology components architected to work together, including the cloud, advanced networking, the Internet of Things (IoT), and big data analytics, A.S.O. plans on transforming the Tour de France viewing experience by delivering and sharing the best race information speedily and in real-time with race commentators, the media, and the global viewing public.
Beginning this year, Tour de France fans will get an unprecedented opportunity to get to know their favorite athletes, adopt a team, track their performance and progress, and drive deeper engagement with riders and the event – from any mobile device, anywhere in the world. Fans will experience a map-based virtualization of the entire Tour, featuring real-time depictions and data about teams and riders in situ (a first for the Tour).
Instead of relying on random, manual reports from motorcyclists following the cyclists and picked up by broadcasters, fans will experience the Tour by using on demand access to multiple views of analyzed data, including details on the riders, the terrain, rider location individually and in relation to other riders, teams and position and much more.
Underneath the Hood
Gathering and collating the data starts on the ground. Each bike will be equipped with a transponder device that captures data. The data is picked up digitally, sent through a powerful network to overhead planes and helicopters then consolidated and analyzed in a “datacenter on wheels” provided by Dimension Data – an official technology partner of the Tour de France. The analyzed data is uploaded and stored on the Dimension Data Cloud where it will populate a web-based application also developed by Dimension Data.
The information will be accessed by media, commentators, spectators and cycling fans all over the world.
To deliver the solution for the Tour, Dimension Data will tap into its core, deep technical expertise in cloud, network and application development: bring together a global team; and provide an agile response to ASO’s requirements. In just months, Dimension Data will have delivered a dynamic and intuitive application that delivers all the information collected from the bikes. All this will be supported by a resilient and highly available cloud.
Cloud is the perfect service delivery platform for an event that has peaks and valleys of interest and fan participation that requires sustained, high performance response over the 21-day event. Without the cloud, analyzing the petabytes of data in real time wouldn’t be possible. Likewise, the cost of using traditional technology approaches would be prohibitive. The advanced network considerations, the development of an intuitive and engaging application all contribute to an outcome designed to delight the fans all over the world.
Just the Beginning
Accelerating the Tour de France and enriching the experience of its global fan base is just one example of how the cloud and big data analytics gives organizations the opportunity to be present and intimate with their customers, their patients, their subscribers, their partners all the time and anywhere.
By combining this amazing delivery platform with mobile application development, advanced networking and big data analytics, organizations in many verticals can transform relationships and exceed expectations in service-related industries. Today every organization has the opportunity to think big about their ambitions. Cloud, analytics and the IOT provide the freedom to think in new ways about your business – to innovate for better outcomes. At Dimension Data we believe that the application of technology should accelerate your ambitions. It’s what we’re doing for the Tour de France and companies all over the world.