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'This Partnership Has Positioned Us As The Innovator In The Industry'

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Tata communication has bagged the Formula 1 races deal as a communication provider. Mehul Kapadia, Managing Director, F1 Business, Tata Communications, spoke about the marketing strategy and it's performance as a communication provider:

How did you get this deal with F1?
Formula One Management (FOM) was seeking a connectivity partner with a dedicated support team that could provide the best connectivity at locations spread around the world and offer state-of-the-art managed services for content delivery globally.

Keeping the potential of our fully-owned global subsea fibre network and consistent futuristic innovation in perspective, we were chosen by FOM as their Official Connectivity Provider and Official Web Hosting and Content Delivery Network Provider of Formula1.com in February 2012. Since then, our association is going strong.

Please explain about the services provided by the Tata Communication to Formula One management.
F1 is one of the most demanding global sports, which by virtue of advanced technology, is accessible to fans across screens around the world. The sport warrants real time technology with precision and fail-proof connectivity. Now in our third year of operations, continues to deliver customised services by providing the best connectivity solutions across locations around the world.

Official Connectivity Provider:
As the Official Connectivity Provider we delivers quality real-time connectivity around the world, allowing vital real-time content to travel quickly and reliably. It traditionally takes around 30 days to install, test, run and then dismantle a big MPLS circuit. However, we install, configure, and test temporary 100Mb MPLS circuits at each location in just one week, increasing the average 7Mbps bandwidth previously provisioned at events while giving Formula One Management (FOM) the power to enhance the experience for fans and broadcasters.

With an initial tenfold increase in pipeline capacity, FOM is now finding it easier than ever to transfer data. As a feat of networking, it’s the equivalent of changing a tyre in under four seconds.

Official Content Delivery Network provider:
On race day, every second counts. Enthusiasts around the world are glued to Formula1.com. The smallest technical glitch or performance issue could have a huge impact on both fans and the Formula One Management organisation.

While the site sees substantial traffic on any given day, the traffic to the site increases exponentially on race days. These typically see spikes of up to 100 times the usual number of visitors accessing the site, using multiple devices including laptops, handheld devices such as tablets, and mobile phones; as well as from multiple platforms and web browsers.

As the Content Delivery Network Provider, we have designed and integrated a complete bundle of services onto one platform for improved synergy. This provides Formula One Management with a global Content Delivery Network (CDN), global IP network and on-site engineering, all from a single supplier for consistency and flexibility.

Official Web Hosting provider:
For the first time, the network and content distribution for Formula1.com has been brought together on one resilient platform. It is being hosted on a managed hosting platform at one location, supported at another location with dynamic failover features for redundancy.

The delivery network is deployed for Formula1.com globally via our Content Delivery Network. There are three tiers of web hosting from our international standard data centres with strong business grade security policies to recognise threats.

By using a combination of hosting and CDN services from a single provider to publish and distribute website content, Formula One Management benefits from more efficient delivery of content and images. This worldwide content distribution is underpinned by the resilient and high capacity Tata Communications’ global network, caching content to enable followers to enjoy faster access to Formula1.com pages. The whole platform is managed and monitored for security and availability 24x7 by a team of experienced IT and data centre professionals.

We also work in close collaboration with Formula One Management on research and development around connectivity and the latest video technologies which has led to us offering newer services to F1.

What is your marketing strategy for the partnership with Formula One®?
Unlike other marketing efforts where a company logo appears only as a badge on a product, car or track, we get to explain and present what we do as a business. We take our target customers into the technical centre at the races to show them what we do and showcase our technology in real time, with the engineers and our technicians. This privilege is exclusively made available to Tata Communications by the Formula One Management (FOM). The FOM has also allowed us branding at the technical centre.

Apart from this, we empowers the Grand Prix races with humungous volume of data, which is a great way to showcase of our capabilities to the future B2B clients. This marketing strategy to put across our work directly to our customers has led to great awareness of the brand. The smooth management of technology at every Formula1® race is a task of great scale, which is why we say, ‘if we can do it for Formula 1®, we can do it for anyone’.

How this new deal is changing the image of the company?
This partnership has positioned us as the innovator in the industry. With every passing season, the expectations are increasing and so is the level of dedication from our side to provide the best connectivity to one of the most watched sports globally. This partnership has increased the visibility of our calibre in supporting mission critical projects globally. Today, we are an example to many and that is a good image to have.

What are the hurdles that you are facing as you provide connectivity to Formula 1® & Mercedes AMG Petronas? How are you overcoming these hurdles?

One of the most challenging aspects is keeping a constant data channel open with the car which is travelling at high speeds and connecting that to back office specialists, who may not be sitting at the track - all this has to be done real time. This could be challenging in places that have a street race amidst high buildings, which have a lot of signaling challenge.

Due to the difficulty of the track, teams need to rely heavily on telemetry data in developing a pitstop strategy. Car reliability is a big focus area and test simulations at the factory become that much more important as there is limited track data available.

Tata Communications also provides services to MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS. Please outline the contours of this partnership with an idea of the kind of services that you offer to them.
The partnership with MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS was a natural progression. We have invested in building the core competence needed for servicing Formula 1® and we have now brought that expertise to the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS team and give them the speed to lead.

We are delivering high quality and secure trackside connectivity to MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS at all Formula 1® race locations. This will enable the team to transfer vital real-time data from the Silver Arrow cars at any Grand Prix location to its headquarters in the UK, three times faster than before.

This deal enables MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS to react more quickly to developments at the track and help increase car performance. This gives the team a competitive advantage in car performance, not only in speed but also handling and stability.

Please tell us about your recent partnership with Chello DMC and how you stand to benefit from it.
We provide provide live video feeds to the official F1® licensee/broadcaster Chello DMC via its wholly-owned fibre network for the first time this season. The high quality video feeds, broadcast on Dutch sports channel, Sport1, will be used for the channel’s full 2014 race season coverage.

Six live feeds and an additional unilateral feed from all 19 races this season will be distributed via the fibre network for broadcast on the Sport1 channels and via the Sport1 app.