Lesson from Formula 1: Using data is a winning strategy

Lesson from Formula 1: Using data is a winning strategy

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For the first time ever, Formula 1 Grand Prix cars will race in the heart of Sin City on the Las Vegas Strip in a historic event running from November 16-18 – and I couldn’t be more excited.

I have spent almost 10 years working in motorsport, first with Mitsubishi Ralliart, where I had the opportunity to travel the world and experience the birth of providing IT services to engineers on the ground at rally events, and then with Honda Racing, one of the leading companies in the field of the cars. The biggest names in Formula 1

You can also watch me in the documentary Brawn: The Impossible F1 Story released by Hulu and Disney+ on November 15 – because I was also part of the Brawn GP team that had only been around for one year, had no money or sponsorship, and yet I won. Formula 1 World Championship.

In my early days in motorsport, we were bending the rules to get car data into the hands of our engineers faster, and I was part of the IT team. But when IT took off in motorsport in the early 2000s, every team started bringing an IT team to all racing events. It was clear that we could use technology to make ourselves more competitive. Clearly, it worked.

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Helping bring about a digital transformation in motorsport has certainly been a learning experience. Much of what we have done and learned also applies to enterprise IT. Here are some key takeaways from my exciting and rewarding time in Formula 1 and how you can use them to drive your business forward.

Don’t be afraid to use the bleeding edge technique

During my time in motorsport, one of the big IT-related changes has been around virtualization technology. Adopting virtualization has allowed us to fit more computing into smaller spaces and save money. This means we can have a flat chassis for things like IPTV, so we can take it to more places – to the garage and back to our engineering team’s facility at headquarters.

Having the power of virtualization was extremely valuable when a volcanic eruption in Iceland disrupted air travel outside of Europe, and some of our engineers were unable to fly onto the route in China. Since we built this architecture that supports live audio, live telemetry and live IPTV, we didn’t need our engineers there. It can be virtual; We created engineer avatars for them.

Even before that, in 2006, my Formula 1 team was brilliant. Today, all flash is a given, but at the time I couldn’t even afford an all-flash laptop, so we had to design our own flash solution. This was because when we went from a V10 to a V8, the sound of the V8 revving caused the actual discs to hit each other, and everything in the garage went bluescreen and died.

But flash memory also provided us with a huge performance advantage. I could process the data, analyze it and present it back to the driver much faster, enhancing our entire environment.

The most important point is that whether you are part of Formula 1 or any other organization, start using the latest technology. You may be reluctant to do this for whatever reason, but even if you only test the technology or use it for one purpose, it can have a huge impact on your business and provide a competitive advantage. You won’t know until you try it.

Use data, software, and high-performance computing (HPC) to test and understand the physical world

Traditionally, Formula 1 has done a lot of physical testing. Honda Racing had a whole team that would go to Spain to race all week, every week, to physically test the cars. That’s all gone now.

This variety of testing disappeared in 2009. Car parts testing, wind tunnel testing and tire testing can now be done using the software. This is a good thing because it would have been complex, expensive and highly carbon-intensive to transport and operate all the equipment needed for such a test.

We also built simulators for the drivers because taking the cars to test the track was against the rules. So, we built it all into software. We’ve been sending teams around the world to scan track surfaces with a laser, and using that data to build the car’s characteristics in software based on fluid dynamics and mechanical grip based on the track surface. This served as a precursor to the digital twins that companies in sectors such as manufacturing are starting to adopt today.

Your organization can also use data, software, and high-performance computing (HPC) to test solutions in the digital world; Reduce complexity, cost and carbon emissions; Use data from your tests to gain greater understanding; Make more informed decisions; And win.

Reduce your activity to increase your performance and make your work more powerful and efficient

The heavier the car, the slower it will perform. It is also very expensive to physically ship heavy vehicles to where they are needed. The same applies to enterprise IT.

Your business can also be slowed down by a data infrastructure that makes it difficult for people to easily find and use your data. But with easy-to-use, high-performance, reliable, and scalable infrastructure that integrates with your modern applications and can scale to the cloud, you’ll need less infrastructure, use more of what you have, and lower your carbon footprint because you’ll be able to have less IT infrastructure to charge, operate, and achieve The right balance between power and efficiency.

The right infrastructure is like a Formula 1 car. Formula 1 cars are some of the fastest cars in the world. It’s also more fuel efficient than the average car on the road.

Use data to make decisions – data may even enable your business to take down a giant

Formula 1 teams at the track represent massive IoT deployments. Live data comes from the cars, and Formula 1 teams overlay this with data about the weather, the surface on the track, where the car is on the track, what other teams are doing and much more. This data is fed into AI and Machine Learning (ML) models to gain insights and make decisions to be more competitive.

In Formula 1, weather can have a huge impact on performance. But sometimes when the weather is bad, you see giant kills because large teams may stick to their existing processes while small teams can make huge progress using great software models to make really good decisions to negate their performance deficits. Competing companies can use a similar approach.

When I was on track, we processed a lot of that data right at the edge. We obtained the data we needed, then sent only the relevant data to our engineering facilities. You can do the same in your organization to process and use data faster and achieve greater benefit.

My motorsport team had to create our own metadata in SQL to simplify how quickly we could get data to the people who needed it. Metadata is important to help you understand the value of the data you store.

For example, if something goes wrong, you want to be able to go back to some point to see how you could solve the problem. After all, you learn the most from your failures. Metadata helps you go back to that point in time and understand each piece of data available so you can explore what led you to make a good or bad decision.

The way a team handles, processes, and understands data can make a huge difference in its performance. You want everything to be brought together in one visualization, streamline and automate your processes, and be able to make straightforward decisions.

When you have the technology to do this, you can compete with even the largest companies and teams and win.

Ian Clatworthy is Digital Infrastructure Product Solutions Marketing Director at Hitachi Vantara.

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