Dimension Data reveals the tech behind Tour de France

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Dimension Data reveals the tech behind Tour de France

Dimension Data has given cycling fans an inside look at the tech behind the Tour de France's media coverage.

The global solutions provider partnered with the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) in 2015 to roll out an advanced data analytics solution to cover the three-week race through France and Spain.

To provide coverage of the race, Dimension Data Australia's own senior director of technology for sports, Peter Gray, led the 22-person operations team in France.

Dimension Data provided usable data on each cyclist's speed and location for race commentators and media by fitting each cyclist's seat with a custom-built GPS tracker. The trackers streamed data to ASO's race motorbikes and helicopters, which relayed the data back to Dimension Data's onsite mobile data centre, "Big Data truck". The data was then processed in Dimension Data's cloud and fed back to commentators in real-time.

Gray manned the big truck during the three weeks of the race. He told CRN that the tracking technology developed for the tour could be utilised in other industries, and Dimension Data would continue to support it.

"We really see the solution we delivered as an example of a real-time [internet of things] solution in action. We’ve actively taken the work we've done with the tour and we're working on how it can be utilised in other industries. It has a great deal of applicability, so we'll continue to look into further," said Gray.

The monumental project required 100 virtual servers leveraging 300 cloud services. Dimension Data provided 24/7 support from its global locations during coverage.

Over the course of the race, Dimension Data processed 127.8 million data records in its cloud from 198 riders, generating 42,000 geospatial points and 75 million GPS readings.

Dimension Data and ASO also developed a web-based application on Dimension Data's cloud that combines live race data with video, photos and social media feeds to create a digital experience for fans.

Using the same data, fans could track riders live, including where they were positioned, the weather in their location and which group they were in. This allowed fans to track riders who may not be featured on the television wherever they are in the race.

This year, Dimension Data added capabilities to track slope gradient, wind speed and prevailing weather conditions. GPS tracker range was also increase from 100 metres to 1,000 metres to cover any dropouts.

Dimension Data has also developed tracking solutions for Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in Victoria, the Tour of California and races in London and Berlin.

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