Forging a lasting partnership
The A.S.O. stands out as an organisation that uses partnerships for strategic success. It maintains a lean in-house IT team and focuses on establishing long-term and trusted relationships with partners that have the capabilities it requires. Over the years, the A.S.O. has invested in establishing an ecosystem of partners and also encouraged those partners to collaborate, innovate, and create new opportunities for fans of the event.
In 2015, we embarked on a five-year journey to accelerate the A.S.O.’s ambition as its official technology partner. The first innovation as a result of the partnership was delivered during the 2015 Tour de France, where we defined the technical scope of the project and built a world class analytics platform in the space of just four short months.
Real-time data analytics — a solution in action
The real-time data analytics solution called for our skills in transformational technologies, such as digital, cloud, mobility, and security. Moreover, we adopted agile development practices and used technologies that would enable speed and flexibility — specifically our global cloud platform.
Firstly, we mapped the journey of the data during each stage of the Tour de France:
A.S.O. and key technology partners and suppliers fit the bikes of the 198 riders with GPS trackers.
Trackers communicate with each other in a mesh network and to gateways in television motorbikes and official cars.
From gateways, data is streamed to a plane and then relayed to a technical zone assembled near the finish line of each stage.
In the technical zone, data is transferred from the broadcaster’s truck to our Big Data truck.
Data cleansing and analysis undertaken on an advanced digital analytics platform powered by a mobile data centre within the Big Data truck and our cloud. During the live race, we provided access to this data as a real-time data stream to the television broadcasters for use in live TV graphics. We also built a beta live-tracking website that allowed commentators, media, and fans to track individual riders. We published insights on the data to social media platforms.
The ability to understand where any of the riders are at any point in time, obtain live information about their speed and location, and compare the speeds of different riders and the distance between them, was the first step in providing a new viewing experience for cycling fans. It would bring them closer to the energy and excitement of the race and give insight into the strategies of the riders and teams.
Speed of adaptation is the new competitive equation
To transform the Tour de France in a short space of time, our teams worked together from 11 cities and five continents to build the solution. After signing the agreement with the A.S.O. in March, we developed the technology solution and deployed it in time for the Grand Depart in July.
From on-the-ground teams in France, to support teams in Australia and India, and our cloud team in the US, each individual worked tirelessly to put together this complex project in just under four months.