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NTT Ltd., the official technology partner to A.S.O, will create the world’s largest connected stadium, a concept unique to the Tour de France, generating a ‘digital twin’ of the event. Millions of data points will be collected and brought to life through stunning, insightful visualizations and digital experiences for fans, as well as new services to support the event operations for this three-week long race that takes place from 26 June – 18 July 2021.
Due to ongoing travel restrictions and COVID-19 safety measures, NTT, together with A.S.O, will deliver a host of digital experiences to engage fans around the world. This includes:
•Race Center – the official live tracking site that provides race updates including rider live tracking data on letour.fr and on the official Tour de France Mobile application
•LeTourData – data-driven insights and AI predictions on Twitter, Instagram and TV broadcast
•3D Tracker – an immersive augmented reality app that provides 3D views of the stages
•Tour de France Fantasy by Tissot – a fantasy sports game integrating data insights and machine learning (NTT predictor) to provide insights on the riders to watch
•NTT Media Wall – a rich media display at the race villages featuring data insights and visualisations from LeTourData, and live race updates
Creating a digital twin with IoT and Edge Computing
The Tour de France is a mobile stadium that picks up and moves every day for 21 days, across 3,400km visiting some of the most remote locations in France, from the picturesque countryside to the harsh landscapes of the Alpes and Pyrenees.
Creating a digital twin of the event will enable operations staff to gain real time visibility and ultimately streamline operations to ensure the continuity and resilience of the race. NTT will use a broad range of IoT sensors, edge compute and networks, integrated into NTT’s smart platforms and mapped against a geo-location model of each stage of the Tour. This will enable real-time visibility of key locations and assets, COVID-19 contact tracing and in-the-moment updates of caravan and race arrival times.
In another first for 2021, NTT will use real time analytics at the edge to provide immediate race data back to official race vehicles. This will deliver a live overview of the race situation, even in remote areas or the high mountains.
Peter Gray, Senior Vice President, Advanced Technology Group, Sport at NTT Ltd. commented: “The digitization of the Tour de France began in 2015 by capturing data from the cyclists to provide real-time updates. Every year we have been able to take the technology to the next level, this year we are creating what is essentially a digital twin of the event. It’s a highly dynamic and changing environment that requires immediate access to information to ensure continuous and smooth operations, resulting in more informed and engaged fans.”
Connectivity at the core, securely enabled by cloud
By providing a truly hybrid environment of physical servers, virtual servers, containers, and serverless functions for different workloads, all deployed via automated Infrastructure as Code, NTT is able to support this broad array of fan and operational services for A.S.O. This will all be monitored by NTT’s Services Portal and a global team of experts connected via NTT’s Managed Collaboration Service, facilitating the demand to be better connected, no matter where the race is staged and regardless of where computing, applications and users reside.
Creating a digital twin of the race also means greater connectivity of devices and vehicles, as well as more applications and platforms accessing services hosted in the cloud – whether public, private or hybrid. Whatever the host, for A.S.O, data will be at the core. This not only includes understanding where different data lies, but how to gather it and use it effectively to create better experiences, whether it be the fans, the media, or the cycling teams.
Gray continues: “A recurring theme for many organisations as they navigate the pandemic is how to ensure their customers’ changing needs and requirements are met. The ability to adapt has been at the heart of our seven-year partnership with A.S.O. We’re helping to constantly innovate the Tour de France, an event millions of passionate fans from around the world eagerly anticipate. Each year the stakes increase as we create new ways to reach and engage more people in new and exciting ways, which is no easy feat when you consider the complexity of the race.”
Yann Le Moenner, Chief Executive, A.S.O commented: “Technology plays a vital part in helping us innovate at the speed fans expect from their mobile and cloud-based applications, all the while providing event insights, rich analytics and intelligent digital solutions. Since 2015, we’ve brought a whole host of digital enhancements to the event to create the best ‘connected fan’ experience. This year is no different, delivering a data-driven experience across any device, wherever you are in the world. ”