Absa Cape Epic wins with Dimension Data
Through Dimension Data's continued sponsorship of the Absa Cape Epic, it has been able to further explore, and push the boundaries of technologies and, most importantly, facilitate engagement between its tech solutions and business decision makers.
Each year, whether in the field or long after the last rider has crossed the finish line, its team works hard, analysing the learnings and the data to find innovative solutions. These improvements are then assessed and implemented in future events to help demonstrate to other organisations how Dimension Data can assist and transition them to the digital world.
Finding the right partner: a "blank canvas" approach
The Absa Cape Epic has become a showcase for Dimension Data, where its current and prospective clients - a number of whom are entrants in the race themselves - can witness the proof of concept and begin to see how they could incorporate the multidisciplinary technologies into their own businesses.
Being an innovative event, the route of the race changes every year and so we therefore cannot rely on existing fibre infrastructure year-on-year. That means, each year we are challenged to bring our brightest minds and best technological solutions to the fore - to create something out of literally nothing. The technological nervous system of the race is created and maintained by us and our partner network and, among riders, fellow sponsors and the organisers themselves, the seamless connectivity experience in the remotest parts of the Western Cape has never gone unnoticed.
Attracting the right partners through shared value
As the official technology partner of the Absa Cape Epic since 2015, Dimension Data's starting point is to provide bandwidth and connectivity at all sites for riders, crew, operations, sponsors and media. Its solution provides a seamless service to at least 4 000 devices accessing networks at different locations over the 658km course. The available broadband connectivity has opened new doors and facilitated meaningful conversations that have encouraged innovative solutions to stakeholder needs.
Riders can upload their own statistics to assess their performance on the go. This data is then available for the riders to use when optimising their training programmes for future races.
For the Absa Cape Epic's operations team, it's meant more accurate measurement of times and distance between riders across every stage of the course, which has made the adjudications process easier.
Over and above the base connectivity solution, Dimension Data is committed to bring innovative ideas to the race every year. In 2015, it included video conferencing with British commentator, Rob Warner, at the course hot spots. In 2016, it expanded to live coverage from the route and on-screen data nuggets. In 2017, a PowerBI tool for real time analytics was deployed. Heart rate and power data for the professional riders were indicated on the race's Web site.
2018 has seen the implementation of further efficiencies, in particular for the medical teams, who now have instant access to riders' medical histories and the ability to relay that information to the ER24 teams in the field. The mobile race hospital is also connected to the Medi-Clinic national hospital network, enabling world-class field triage and aftercare treatment - a necessity for one of the world's toughest mountain bike races.
Without a doubt the most impactful innovation that Dimension Data and partners have enabled through technology, is the reinvention of the Absa Cape Epic's broadcast package from a limited three-hour broadcast to full, live race coverage of the event. This was done through creating WiFi 'bubbles' along the route and mounting a GoPro camera on a rider on an eBike - essentially a bicycle with an integrated electric motor. The signal is sent from the eBike GoPro to a helicopter and then to the production truck back in the race village. The footage can then be selected by the news producer to show live to viewers at home. This has brought greater exposure for the sponsors and enriched the viewing experience for fans.
Taking your partners, and clients along for the ride
As a business that provides solutions that are often not completely understood or are taken for granted, it is important for technology businesses to seek out strategic partnerships that are mutually beneficial and speak to what the business does best.
While the Absa Cape Epic may seem like an unlikely partner for Dimension Data, which is usually associated with large corporates, it has created a valuable platform where Dimension Data is able to visibly demonstrate its solutions. As its partnership with the Absa Cape Epic continues until 2020, it is mindful that the partnership has flourished because of a focus on creating shared value and it will continue to look at innovations that will bring shared value to an event that has allowed it to come along on a spectacular ride.