The difference between winning and losing can be measured in milliseconds in Formula One (F1) racing, and teams need to squeeze absolutely every bit of performance out of the cars. This has made it one of, if not the most, data-centric of sports.
UK-based Williams Martini uses BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) to access high-performance networking and cloud services, with fast connectivity and data transfer. Williams now has access to a 100Mbit/s MPLS network offering symmetric speeds between Williams' Oxfordshire factory and 21 F1 tracks worldwide. (See Williams Martini Uses BT in Winning Formula.)
The key to performance in F1 is constant adjustment -- tweaking various aspects of the car, to coax the best racing performance out of it. This process generates vast quantities of data. For example, the team generates 10GB of data every Friday before a race (during practice). Over a three-day race weekend, 60GB of data just on car performance is collected. In addition there's video analytics, weather data, tire performance metrics, analysis of competitors and driver comments.
Prior to the BT deal, this data was available only to the team at the race track itself and not the larger brain trust of engineers and mechanics at Williams' headquarters in Grove. Many tracks had poor connectivity, so communicating with the factory was very difficult. Now, data can be delivered and analyzed at the team's headquarters in real-time, and there's less IT equipment required at the race track, since much of the heavy lifting is done in the cloud.
Williams' engineers get video footage faster than live broadcasts on TV. They can review real-time video analytics on their own cars, competitor cars (where regulations allow), and suggest new configurations for the cars in real time, allowing for improved car performance.
The team moved from ninth position in 2013 in the constructors' championship, to third in 2014. This demonstrates the value of real-time data and video analytics. It's also a good example of productive video, where an increasing number of businesses are integrating video into their processes, and seeing productivity improvements. (See Defining Productive Video.)
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