In Broadcast - January 2018 - 47

47 | Vol: 8 - Issue 1 | January 2018

Tata Communications and F1®

A glimpse inside the Tata Communications Network Operating Centre
within F1™ Communications Technical Centre

including higher definition video
formats such as Ultra-High Definition
(UHD) to enhance the viewing
experience for F1® fans and big data
analytics for the teams to make each
lap faster than the last, we carry
more than a petabyte of data over
our network every season. To put this
figure into perspective, that equates to
more than 2,000 years of continuous
music playback!
We also enable the Formula 1® teams
in the UK and in each race location
to work more seamlessly together.
Thanks to superfast connectivity,
they are able to handle essential live
broadcast operations remotely from
their technical HQ, just as if they were
trackside. For example, Formula 1®
controls some of the robotic trackside
cameras remotely from the UK. The
team can review and produce race
radio, add commentary, enable virtual
branding and produce highlights that
contribute to the feeds distributed
to broadcasters and content for F1®
digital platforms in real-time.
The Mercedes F1™ team uses our
global network for remote operations
too. FIA regulations limit the number
of staff each team can have at a
Grand Prix, so the Mercedes F1® team
needs to be very efficient in how the
team works. Superfast connectivity
ensures that the team complies with
FIA rules, while tapping into as much
brain power as possible. Mercedes
runs a state-of-the-art remote
operations set-up, with a 'second pit
crew' based at the team's factory in
the UK, playing a direct role in each
race, communicating, collaborating
and exchanging data and insights with
the pit crew at the track in real-time,
as if they were trackside. Remote

operations via fibre enables Mercedes
to make more real-time data-led
decisions, monitoring a multitude of
derivative telemetry that can advise
reliability and race strategy all which
contributes to the team's success.
In a sport governed by split-second
decision making this translates into a
critical competitive advantage.
InB: Are there any challenges that
need to be overcome during a race?
MK: Formula 1® is arguably the
most watched annual global sporting
series in the world and hence most
demanding sport. While a great
number of its fans watch the sport
at the race track, there are millions
who watch it live from their home or
on the move - on their television or
the Internet. Any loss of connectivity
- even for a nanosecond - is simply
not an option. To ensure a failproof
operation, a lot of work goes on in
designing a resilient and redundant
connectivity between the race track
and the UK operations through
our global fibre network and other
service partners. This infrastructure
is constantly tested and is actively
monitored during the race to mitigate
any potential risks and disruptions.
Hundreds of Tata Communications
experts across multiple locations
on the globe monitor the network
conditions and website traffic patterns
to ensure a glitch free race experience
for millions of fans globally.
It is this ability of ours to deliver a
mission-critical service in a demanding
environment of F1® which helps us
say to our customers that if we can do
this for Formula 1®, we can do it for


InB: As the red lights go off,
everyone's eyes are on the fight
for the first corner, but what is
happening behind the scenes during
the race?
MK: At lights-out, our on-site
team, supported by the Tata
Communications' pit crew, has already
been on live alert monitoring the full
resilience of the network. A pit crew
of virtual teams connected across
the globe, support dynamic technical
expectations, and the timescales and
flexibility required for any real-time
delivery and support.
Our team travels to every race event
around the globe, providing services
to multiple customers within the F1®
ecosystem. They deliver the action
across multiple mediums - be it data,
video or commentary services. They
manage the extreme challenge of
quickly and reliably delivering content
from across global race locations.
Formula 1® races occur in some
of the most diverse and challenging
environments across the globe. No
matter how difficult or remote the
terrain, every race has to be connected
to the rest of the world and fans
everywhere. Tata Communications
plays a key role in the amazing feat of
logistics and is involved in setting up
the trackside operations.
Temporary MPLS circuits are
installed, configured, and tested at
each location in just under six days
(traditionally takes 30 days). As a feat
of networking, it's the equivalent of a
F1® pit-stop in under three seconds. A
dedicated race implementation team
is present on every race weekend,
dealing with the unpredictability and
ensuring delivery every day. Detailed
planning and on-the-ground flexibility
ensure that connections are always
available, avoiding even a split second

Chase Carey, CEO of Formula
One and Vinod Kumar,
Managing Director & Tata
Communications Limited
Group CEO

of downtime for these essential
The detailed planning and on-ground
flexibility gives our customers access
to our world class network which is
always available and reliable.
InB: Any innovation that you have
made in the 2017 season of Formula
MK: At the 2017 Formula 1 Singapore
Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, Tata
Communications and Formula 1®
conducted a test of truly live 360º
video to show how the F1® racing
experience could be augmented for
fans worldwide by enabling them to
experience the action in and around
the circuit almost as if they were there.
To-date, any 360º video experiments
in sports have been hampered by a
30-second delay between the 360º
video and live TV feeds, preventing
a widespread adoption of the
technology. This Proof-of-Concept
(PoC) by Tata Communications and
Formula 1® is the first time when the
live 360º video feeds and TV broadcast
have been shown in complete sync.
Further, this PoC shows the potential
of live 360º video to augment the
F1® TV viewing experience and bring
VR mainstream in live sports and
entertainment. Eliminating the delay
in 360º video means that, for the
first time, it's possible to offer fans
truly live 360º video experiences on
a global scale. This will enable sports
and other live entertainment platforms
to engage with their audiences in
new ways and generate new revenue
streams - helping the 360º video and
VR market achieve its US$60 billion
InB: Thank you for taking the time
to answer our questions.

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