The Network Effect: Bringing It Together for Tour de France


Dave Heyns - Dimension Data

Dimension Data, Official Technology Partner of A.S.O., is ensuring an immersive experience to fans and followers of the Tour de France cycle race. The network is the underpinning technology that makes it possible. Evolving from a mobile data centre into a hyperconnected, mobile collaboration hub, the big data truck is a central node for the technical solution. It’s a shining example of a digital workplace in action. Inside the truck, ‘local’ teams collaborate with international colleagues, using the latest digital workplace tools, including HD video screens and videoconferencing facilities. The big data truck is connected to Dimension Data’s mobile Client Experience Centre, in four different cities in Germany and France, and to other offices in different locations.

Five innovations on the Tour

1. Data analytics – using data insights to predict outcomes
The data analytics platform, hosted in Dimension Data’s cloud, incorporates algorithms that combine live-tracking data, third-party data, and historical data to give fans a new level of insight at every stage. The cloud revolutionises the outcome.

2. The Internet of Things brings viewers to the race, not the race to viewers
GPS-based live tracking devices are installed underneath the saddle of each bike. The sensors produce real-time data for each rider, including speed, peloton position and distances between riders. We combine the data feed with third-party data such as course gradient and weather conditions and marry with historical data. Across many industries, organisations realise the power and control by connecting the physical realm (equipment, computers, and sensors) to digital systems.

3. Hybrid IT – be more responsive to your customers
Our Tour de France solution is more agile and responsive to the dynamic environment due to virtualising our mobile data centre. Our data analytics capability ensures the solution is agile, adaptive, scalable, and less vulnerable to physical circumstances. Few organisations start their digital transformation with a clean technology slate. Dimension Data helps organisations to innovate and transform at the right pace.

4. Digital workplace – we’re all in the race, even if we’re not at the race
Inside the big data truck, teams collaborate with international colleagues across four continents using HD video, conferencing, and collaboration tools.
The digital workplace demonstrates the ability of international teams working together effectively and efficiently.

5. Cybersecurity – safeguard your most valuable asset, data, in ways that don’t hold you back
We’re safeguarding growing volumes of race information while data flows freely from bikes, to the cloud, to broadcast media, race commentators, and social media. Dimension Data’s digital infrastructure came under attack following higher brand awareness during the Tour de France. Our cybersecurity solution blocked over a million unauthorised access attempts and foiled 147 ‘bad bot’ attacks.
Our cloud platform is certified to the highest security standards through ISO certifications, and listed on Cloud Security Alliance’s Security, Trust and Assurance Registry.
Besides all the excitement you’d expect from one of the world’s most spectacular professional sporting events, the Tour de France tells a compelling transformation story.

Why these innovations are relevant to the needs of the education and research communities -

In a nutshell, students expect an extraordinary experience at university -
• This requires excellent connectivity across the campus and beyond
• Connected devices on campus facilitate a range of teaching and learning practices; safety; efficiency – and allow the abstraction of some very relevant information
• Analytics allow some level of predictability with regards student outcomes and preempt interventions where necessary
• A hybrid cloud strategy drives integrated solutions and promotes lower spend on data center resources
• Collaborative platforms enhance student/academic interaction
• Cybersecurity supports regional compliance with regards protection of personal data and verification of qualification