NTT takes over iconic Tour de France tech alliance

Cloud and managed services backed up by new digital innovations

Newly-launched NTT has taken over the iconic technology agreement with Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation, extending the partnership until 2024.

Originally initiated by Dimension Data in 2015, the move places the technology giant in charge of fan experience during the race, delivered through data, digital and smart technologies.

Specifically, the technology provider will be tasked with improving the viewing experience by leveraging enhanced TV graphics through data insights from NTT’s live data team and 3D mapping of the live race situation.

NTT will also trial augmented reality during the race, using technology to "create a vision for how home-based fans could watch and interact with the race in the future".

Other innovations include ‘Le Buzz’ - a new machine-learning model being trialled for the first time at the 2019 Tour de France. The offering analyses the movements within the peloton to predict potential key moments such as the increased likelihood of a crash, a split in the peloton or a change in the race dynamics.

“As Dimension Data, we increased the appeal of the Tour de France and brought its supporters closer to the action and their favourite cyclists,” said Jason Goodall, CEO for NTT. “As NTT, we now enter a new and exciting era of innovation, driving the continuous innovation of software-defined technologies to support the transformation of our client's business.

“We’re excited to continue working with A.S.O. on the biggest cycling stage in the world to engage millions of fans with this compelling story of innovation."

All solutions delivered at the Tour De France will be hosted on the NTT cloud, and developed and supported by a distributed global team. Through the combination of DevOps and cloud automation, Goodall said production environments can be "scaled up and scaled out" faster based on user demand.

“Since 2015, A.S.O. and NTT have revolutionised the viewing experience of the Tour de France for fans all over the world on a variety of media - onsite, mobile, TV and social channels,” added Yann Le Moenner, CEO at A.S.O. “Together, we’ve also accelerated the digitisation of the Tour de France to engage younger fans.

“By launching a new mobile app, developing an all-in-one digital platform to follow the race in real-time (Race Center), and creating @letourdata, we’re allowing data to tell the story of the race.

“NTT’s real-time analytics platform and our co-developed “content factory” allows us to produce around 2,000 exclusive pieces of content every year to be broadcast on all types of screens. Through this partnership, we’re confident that we can face the challenges and achieve even greater things in the coming years.”

NTT officially launched to the world on 1 July, as a global technology giant housing the capabilities of 28 companies.

Headquartered in London, the $11 billion business will be spearheaded by Jason Goodall and comprises of NTT Communications, Dimension Data and NTT Security, employing around 40,000 staff in offices across more than 70 countries and regions.

As reported by Channel Asia, John Lombard has been named as CEO of Asia Pacific, with a responsibility for NTT’s global business in Asia Pacific, excluding Japan and Australia.

Lombard joined Dimension Data as the Asia Pacific CEO in May 2016, coming on-board from SAP, where he was senior vice president and head of services, responsible for services and support.