By Nigel Broomhall, Product Manager
On the weekend of the 26th May, Yamaha’s Official WorldSBK Team rallied to a sensational double win which saw Michael van der Mark ride to victory on Saturday at Round 6 of the 2018 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship at Donington Park. The flying Dutchman also produced a stellar performance on Sunday by pulling off a simply incredible ride, coming from ninth on the grid in Race 2 to “do the double” and claim his second race win of the weekend.
As the team’s official technology partner for a tenth consecutive year, staff and customers of GCI were in attendance throughout the weekend, giving us a chance to experience first-hand how our technology is helping the team to make more informed decisions and utilise data to shave critical seconds off their lap times.
Keeping fans and guests entertained on and off track
When it comes to motorsport there simply isn’t time for failure; reliable, fast internet access is a crucial component for Yamaha’s race operations and can be the difference between a podium place or a non-finish.
With Donington Park being the PATA Yamaha team’s “home” race, every year they set up a pop-up hospitality area which hosts sponsors and the entire team – all with an array of internet-enabled devices. In the past, enabling visitor Wi-Fi access would have been a costly, inefficient and unachievable process, but not anymore!
I decided to bring down one of the GCI Rapid Network Deployment kits and put it to the test. With units available to purchase as a fully-managed service or for short-term managed rental, they come fully configured and incorporate all hardware and software components, service management via a dedicated portal, multiple carrier 4G SIM cards and data plans, and technical support services. As there is no need for an in-house IT specialist to manage or optimise the onsite units, within minutes we had a live connection that was offering guests up to 70Mb of download speed; impressive considering we were at a busy event and an airport was close by! The Rapid Network Deployment service could also be used as a backup or alternative data link, as there have been occasions where Satellite visibility has been blocked by other buildings – a risk Yamaha cannot afford to take.
From hospitality to the pit lanes
Providing connection to staff and guests in hospitality is one thing, but what about providing it to the pit crew in the garage who are pulling live track, weather and bike data, preparing the riders with a game plan? When the team arrive at the circuit, they’ll assemble their GCI satellite dish and align it to the nearest satellite. This then provides the parts truck with internet access, which in turn connects to the team’s telemetry truck. Once complete, a Wi-Fi access point is created in the garage so that the engineers and technicians can utilise the network to gain access to essential data.
Yamaha’s Team Principal Paul Denning tells us that his team rely on stable Internet access to keep in contact with the rest of the team and their office, as well as updating social media channels for fans across the globe to get minute-by-minute updates from the track. This setup stays in place for the duration of the team’s stay in a certain location – usually for 5 days – and is the perfect solution in areas where mobile data connectivity isn’t available, as a satellite can connect from anywhere around the world to provide vital connectivity for the team.
Our weekend at Donington Park highlighted the power of GCI’s technology perfectly. Michael van der Mark stormed to two race wins, and you could argue that being more informed about his bike and the track conditions over the course of the three days was a big benefit. And in an event venue where lots of phones are competing for the attention of a cellular network’s antennas and networks are strained, being able to provide guests and staff with the ability to connect to a fast-paced WiFi connection helps ensure a priceless experience.
Learn more about our Rapid Network Deployment service and how it could help your business provide an efficient and resilient connection within short timeframes. Download the official Product Sheet here or get in touch: email@example.com or 0844 443 4433.
Nigel Broomhall is Voice Product Manager at GCI
Nigel has a strong background in networking and voice engineering, and transitioned to developing GSM technologies in 2012. Utilising SMS, Voice and Data solutions, he has helped organisations in a wide variety of sectors including legal, financial, construction, retail and health to realise real business benefits and drive ROI. In his current role, Nigel is driving and developing GCI’s Global Voice offering, exploring the potential for SMS in the Contact Centre and AI environments, and utilising 4G and 5G technologies to deliver high speed, resilient Internet solutions.