Photo: Dimension Data
IoT technology has become an integral part of the sporting experience, from the management and execution of sporting events and smart stadiums to the way the players utilize wearables and track data to aid in their training and race-day performance. Viewers and fans also demand so much more when watching and following their favorite sports events. Whether live or on television or streaming, viewers want real-time information and the ability to interact with the athletes. For the competitors and the fans, this means that data and analytics have shifted from the bench to the starting lineup, becoming a critical aspect of the sporting event experience.
Global solutions provider Dimension Data, a subsidiary of NTT Group, saw this need and has partnered with several major sporting events, including the Tour de France, to provide its clients with technology expertise and global service delivery capabilities. It recently established a five-year contract with the South Africa bike race Absa Cape Epic to more deeply incorporate technology into the bike race participants’ experiences and to create deeper connections between the fans and participants through different types of data applications. Dimension Data provides access to real-time data analytics throughout every stage of the race, connecting viewers, supporters, medical teams, coaches and race participants.
“The Absa Cape Epic is widely regarded as the world’s premier international mountain bike stage race. We are delighted to have Dimension Data at the race, as they are a global technology giant with proven capabilities,” says Absa Cape Epic CEO Lynn Naude in a statement. “The race runs along grueling terrain. The ability to provide robust connectivity and explore the use of data analytics brings a new dimension to the race, giving us the ability to transform the competitive world of mountain biking.”
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Absa Cape Epic is a yearly bike race, usually comprised of 1,200-plus participants, that extends for eight days and covers difficult terrain along the Western Cape of South Africa. The course is 654 kilometers and spans five South African villages. During previous Absa Cape Epic races, Dimension Data led campaigns that included the chance for participants to hear a live reading of supportive messages from loved ones and fellow fans. More recently, they developed the opportunity for fans, friends and family members to record personal video messages. These clips air in real time on large digital screens connected to the communications network as the bikers ride across Dimension Data hotspots located throughout the race course.
Photo: Dimension Data
Start to Finish Connectivity
Dimension Data wanted to extend the intersection of technology and data, with the goal of improving the bikers’ race experiences to include fans and locals. Dimension Data has created accessible mechanisms for Internet connectivity, making them available at every village in South Africa along the course, so locals can more easily follow the action even when riders are out of sight. Race sponsors, crew and riders can also access free Wi-Fi from Dimension Data during the race.
Another requirement from the race production team was connectivity for the media, as Absa Cape Epic wanted reporters to share the excitement of the race and post live updates to biking fans around the world. With the network, the media can upload and share race photos, videos and rider stats and data in real-time at every stage of the race.
Dimension Data’s Internet accessibility plan was also designed to save lives, as the grueling, muddy course can lead to injured riders. Medical facilities can access the free Wi-Fi network and quickly obtain medical records of athletes after a crash, allowing them to treat riders faster and provide better care.
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