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How hybrid IT helps Amaury Sport Organisation take the viewing experience of pro cycling to the next level


 How hybrid IT helps Amaury Sport Organisation take the viewing experience of pro cycling to the next level

Peter Gray | Senior Director of Technology and Technical Team Lead for the Tour De France

Peter Gray | Senior Director of Technology and Technical Team Lead for the Tour De France

Digital viewing experience for ultimate fan engagement, and more.

I recently travelled around in Europe and was sitting in my hotel room trying to follow a one-day classic cycling race via an app on my mobile. My excitement about the thrill of the race quickly turned into frustration. I was fiddling with a basic digital platform which didn’t really tell me anything about the race. I wanted more.

Today’s super fans demand to be immersed in sports events. They’re more digitally engaged than ever before and expect to have a live and compelling second-screen experience during an event.

Empowered by social media, these super fans, like me, want to take a seat at the commentators’ table. During the race or event, they engage on social media and monitor Twitter for information when – for example – a crash occurs. They want to see if someone has posted a video or picture and to find out what caused the crash.

The revolution in how race data is delivered to pro cycling fans already began with the 2015 and 2016 Tour de France races. Through our data analytics platform, useful data was delivered to social and traditional media, and fans were enthralled with rich and compelling stories of the race. Have a look at this video for an overview of the journey so far: how we’ve helped Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.) bring its vision of a revolutionary viewing experience to life.

In the run-up to the 2017 Tour de France, we’re applying new innovations at other A.S.O. races, such as La Flèche Wallonne and the Critérium du Dauphiné. Our aim is to take the digital viewing experience of sports fans to the next level, and we use hybrid IT to help us do it.

New! Race Centre – single live digital info hub

Race Centre is a live digital platform that brings together live race GPS data, timing data, social media, news feeds, and video streaming (if available in the user’s country).

Fans ultimately interact with the front end of the website – it’s a ‘one-stop shop’ for all race-related information. However, if you look under the covers of the solution, you’ll find an analytics platform that captures, processes, and manages structured data, such as the grouping of riders, time gaps between riders and groups, and race results. Real-time and historical data is captured to enable compelling storytelling.

A core enterprise web content management platform allows A.S.O.’s content team to easily manage the content on the site. The platform also allows us to create flexibility around the design and implementation, and ‘re-skin’ the site for different events.

Race Centre – a hub of insight about the Tour de France for media and fans

Three secrets: how we blow digital life into the Tour de France

1. Cloud is critical

Our entire live data analytics and digital platform is hosted on Dimension Data’s cloud. The cloud provides benefits of scale and flexibility, which means you need fewer feet on the ground to enable the solution. The data captured from the vehicles following the race are ‘pumped’ straight into the cloud platform and then uploaded onto the site. The cloud provides us with geographic flexibility, because it can be managed from anywhere in the world, as well as scale to handle massive volumes of users and data simultaneously.

2. Modern collaboration tools connect our global team

We communicate effectively, regardless of our locations – our client, A.S.O. is based in France, but our team is scattered across the UK, Australia, and South Africa. Our people have a range of advanced collaboration and communication tools available (for example, instant messaging, videoconferencing, and document sharing) and can pick the right tool for the job. Tools are delivered via the cloud, so it supports flexible working and teams can work from anywhere and anytime.

3. Our key to success – a hybrid IT model

Technology innovation at the Tour de France – a single live digital platform, cloud analytics, global collaboration – is all made possible through hybrid IT, where workloads are spread across different technologies, all integrated to deliver a single outcome: useful, compelling race data.

This kind of innovation can be replicated in many other organisations, not necessarily in the sport industry.

A distributed workforce and employees demanding flexible work environments can all enjoy benefits as a result of a hybrid IT model. Communication and collaboration can seamlessly take place anywhere and anytime.

Hybrid IT is becoming critical for all industries including utilities, banking and finance and healthcare, among others. In these industries, key information is managed in a broad range of systems and technologies. A combination of cloud analytics and high-volume data processing along with the ability to integrate a range of data sources including on-premise core business systems, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, digital systems, social media, public data, and third-party services can give decision-makers integrated real-time information. This allows informed decisions to be made even before events occur.

One of our major aims with this year’s Tour de France is to share our knowledge and showcase the technology solutions ‘under the covers’. We’re revealing all our secrets. We know first-hand what hybrid IT can do for A.S.O. and cycling fans and we want other organisations to discover the same possibilities.

Learn about the success factors for managing hybrid IT.