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Big Data to accelerate Tour de France coverage

Big Data to accelerate Tour de France coverage

 

South African IT firm Dimension Data Plc., a subsidiary of NTT Group, has achieved something of a coup by being selected as the Official Technology Partner of the Tour de France. The company is being tasked with powering the real-time data behind the world’s biggest cycling event, providing TV broadcasters and spectators with up to the second information on all the individual riders competing in the race.

Doing so is a pretty big undertaking, as the company says its data will be processed by its cloud platform across five continents, consuming over 350 million CPU cycles a second. The firm has also created a website especially to display real-time data of the event, which is capable of supporting up to 17 million visitors and 2,000 page requests each second.

Although it’s often associated with business processes, Big Data is also playing a transformative role in the way people can view sporting events. IBM did a similar job covering the Wimbledon tennis tournament last year, and now Dimension Data has created a platform that adds greater depth to people’s coverage of the Tour de France.

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Admittedly, not everyone is a cycling fan, but the Tour de France has nonetheless grown to become one of the biggest sporting events in the world since the inaugral race back in 1903. The event kicked off last Saturday, but takes place over multiple stages and will run through till July 26.

To help spice up our coverage, Dimension Data has installed live trackers in the seats of around 198 individual racers. Data is gathered up constantly throughout each stage of the race, and Dimension’s system then processes and analyzes this before making it available to the media and cycling fans. During the three week event, Dimension is planning to introduce a range of new capabilities, such as a beta live tracking website that lets users track the current position of each cyclists, their current speed, and more.

Perhaps whatever complications Dimension Data is experiencing were inevitable though, since an awful lot of data is set to flow through its website once it’s up and running. The data will be provided by a third-party geo-localization transmission component, and Dimension Data’s job is to “clean” this data, analyze it, and then provide it to the masses via real-time streaming and through historical archives. The 198 riders are likely to generate 42,000 geospatial points and 75 million GPS readings throughout the race.

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