How the IT services company undertook two remarkable digital transformation projects in 2016
The first ever Tour de France took place in 1903 and the first ever digital Tour de France took place in 2016.
Dimension Data, an IT services player served as the official tech partner of Amaury Sport organization that conducts the world's biggest cycle race. Millions of cycling fans watched the race online as revolutionised the viewing experience for cycling fans around the world. This is an example of a true digital transformation of a114-year old organization.
In a recent interview, John Lombard, CEO, Dimension Data APAC, said, "we worked closely with Amaury Sport Organisation, and the digital infrastructure we implemented at the 2016 Tour de France really took digital transformation to the next level."
Overhauling the infrastrucutre wasn't a simple task. Each of the 198 riders in all 22 teams that sped off from the start line were tracked by a telemetry sensor installed under each of their seats– to record speed, distance between riders, composition of the race pelotons, wind speed and direction, as well as prevailing weather conditions.
All of the data is transmitted immediately back to Race Center, a web-based application hosted on Dimension Data’s cloud platform combined live race data, video, photographs, social media feeds, and race commentary on a new live tracking website to give viewers an immersive digital experience that goes beyond the television coverage of the race. "This web platform was able to support a global audience of over 17 million viewers," said Lombard.
Additionally, apart from the viewers, over 100 onsite and remote race broadcasters had access to a purpose-built digital application that gives media commentators direct access to live race data for enhanced, in-depth event coverage, and analysis.
However, the digital transformation of the Tour de France wasn't the only large implementation Dimension Data undertook in 2016.
In the same year, Dimension Data collaborated with Cisco on a digital transformation initiative.
Connected Conservation, an initiative aimed to tackle the issue of rhino poaching in a reserve adjacent to the famed Kruger National Park in South Africa, was in the need of a sophisticated security system.
"A host of sophisticated technology solutions were deployed in the park; including a thermal imaging security net, CCTVs, biometric scanners for anyone who enters the park, and a 24/7 control room set up with infrastructure to cover the massive park," said Lombard.
Unlike previous invasive methods of tracking the rhinos, this deployment protects the rhinos by tracking people, specifically poachers, before they get to the animals.
"As a result, the number of poaching-related rhinoceros deaths in this reserve has dropped by a massive 96% within the first year," said Lombard.
The project is very close to the hearts of folks at Dimension Data - one of the reasons being that the company was founded in South Africa.
There's no doubt that businesses across the globe are taking the digital route, rather ardently. On the other hand, wildlife projects such as Connected Conservation clearly showcase that such digital overhauls are not restricted to just enterprises. On being asked which organization does he consider truly "digitally transformed"? Lombard said, "Cisco," - with whom they share a strategic relationship for the last 25 years.
"A truly digital organization would be one where being digital trickles down to the very being of the company – its values and its actions beyond business processes; for instance, extending digital transformation to the way it carries out its CSR efforts as a way of giving back to society," said Lombard.