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Formula 1 Group try to transform fan experience and attract new demographic



Cloud | Construction | Engineering | Featured | Industry | Tech

By Loren Webb

Dynamic Business spoke to Rob Smedley from Formula 1 Group about how they are using AWS to deliver a digital transformation, deliver new metrics and change the way fans and teams experience racing.

Formula 1 Group is taking current infrastructures to AWS data centres to use their tech more effectively.

“Moving data centres to a cloud system is a big process for all of Formula 1 management. We’re getting into analytics as we’re thinking about how to deliver a better product for the fans,” Mr Smedley said.

Rob has spent 20 years working in F1, formerly as a Ferrari race engineer, and now joins management to deliver this digitalisation project.

He brings expertise from the ground up on how the teams operate, how they use tech, operations performance and car performance.

“F1 has to be improved for fan engagement and fan experience. The fan base needs to broaden. The tech we are rolling out will be giving a better experience to a larger demographic and both genders.”

The vision of F1 is to bring this on-the-ground data and stats to the viewers, delivering more technical information and insight to dedicated and loyal fans and helping newbies/channel skippers see the appeal of the sport through understanding its complex and interesting nature.

There are two new goals that Smedley identified; “Number one is to engage non-avids. To engage the casual observe from the outset, which is easier said than done. But this can be done by giving them some information, in an easy format to digest and consume.

“Second is for the tech side to improve performance. Cyclists 15 years ago didn’t have the reputation that they do now, same for swimming – how did they do that? How do you engage non-interested people? F1 management is hugely rich in data which is wholly underused, which could help viewers understand more about the sport. I think 1) we need to improve the quality of data that is floating around, 2) we need to how to store and access that data, and 3) we need to know how to process and use it.”

AWS brings new opportunities for Formula 1 to catch up with other sports in terms of giving fans the live data and creating a digital community and diverse following. They are at the beginning of their data transformation journey, however Smedley sees a future that attracts a better educated and more engaged audience.

“I hope to see far better organisation of technical analysis, much higher quality data acquisition and better processing methods,” Rob said.

“For the end user, my personal vision is to create a greater experience right across board from the casual observer to avid fan. For them to become better educated, and more engaged.

“Avids want to use all platforms, not just linear TV, to get closer to the teams. The current feed is not enough, and only appeals to a certain demographic. We can reach younger audiences through different platforms, clever applications that have insider news. The sport is technologically driven, the engineers are rockstars, and it’s now about how we make this more accessible to the end-user.”

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