Virtual Forum - October 13
Turbocharging F1 through tech, the Tata way
- 16 October, 2019 17:23
Mehul Kapadia (Tata Communications)
As Sebastian Vettel took his place atop the Grand Prix podium, joined in a Ferrari 1-2 by team-mate Charles Leclerc, millions of viewers across the globe fixated on Singapore.
Coupled with 268,000 spectators descending on the Marina Bay Street Circuit, all eyes focused on the city-state amid a record-breaking weekend of sport and entertainment.
Behind the scenes however, and unbeknownst to the watching world, Tata Communications ran a technology race exceeding the 61 circuit laps.
As the official connectivity and innovation partner of Formula 1 (F1), the global system integrator has delivered technology offerings in 154 F1 races across 25 countries, providing solutions across an ecosystem which includes F1, Mercedes-AMG Petronas, ROKiT Williams Racing and Sky Sports.
“We're relentless in our pursuit of innovation for F1,” said Mehul Kapadia, managing director of F1 Business at Tata Communications.
“Whether it's connectivity, hosting critical IT infrastructure, enabling remote operations, ensuring content security and privacy or pioneering new broadcast technology, Tata Communications is helping make the spectacle of F1 exhilarating for its half a billion fans around the world.
“We are constantly working towards getting the sport to more people, in more countries and more platforms.”
Billed as one of the “toughest race tracks”, Tata has used Singapore as the testing ground for many proof of concepts since 2013, such as live 2K and 4K video streams, in addition to live broadcasting in ultra-high definition and live 360°video streams.
Currently, the technology provider serves more than 25 broadcasters through its media distribution platform, in addition to delivering 40x bandwidth to the F1 ecosystem.
“We can make this happen through our always-available connectivity, ability to instantly transfer high volumes of data across the world, scalability of web infrastructure to deal with high volume peaks in traffic with the peace of mind that everything will be continuously monitored and secure,” Kapadia added.
“We also offer a whole immersive experience to the fans - enabling companies to explore experiential channels such as streaming platforms, eSports, virtual reality apps and other technology innovations.
“We have successfully tested the first ever over-the-top feed with no time lag between live broadcast and footage viewed on a second-screen app. Some of our other successful innovation tests have been with JPEG2K, ultra-HD 4K and Live 360 video to enhance the fan experience.”
Through partnering with F1, Kapadia said Tata has “effectively optimised” solutions to deliver “two key results” to customers.
“Operational excellence as we help to deliver efficiency and increased productivity in operational process, and innovation that can help our clients and partners reach new audiences through different offerings,” he explained.
“We come in with a whole solution set which includes services around digital connectivity, cloud and security which helps build a platform through which F1 is able to do a lot more.”
Through the provision of "reliable connectivity", Kapadia said F1 is now able to run applications such as remote operations which enables the back-end team to operate from a distant location.
“We make the entire process highly reliable and efficient for F1,” he said. “This service not only drives cost efficiencies but also ensures the best talent can be leveraged from where it is available, eliminating the need for travel, which is not only expensive, but also comes at the cost of employees’ personal commitments.”
Over the past eight years, Kapadia said Tata has delivered broadcast media for millions of fans globally, alongside introducing 36x faster connectivity at every race.
“Getting to the level we are at now was possible only because we have worked closely with our F1 partners to adapt to the ever-changing and continuous evolution in technological infrastructure,” Kapadia added.
“From the early adoption of live streaming, 4K and 360° videos before its popularity, we are constantly trying to stay ahead of the technological curve by two years. Specifically, for F1, a fan’s experience starts way before the race begins, as such, we aim to continue to develop innovative integrated technologies to deliver an immersive consumer experience.”