Friday, 24 March 2017 03:24

AT&T global network backs up Red Bull F1 team Featured

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Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo

Advanced technology, including global connectivity services from US telecommunications giant AT&T, will play a critical part in Australian Daniel Ricciardo’s attempt to win the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne this weekend in his newly-minted Formula One car with the Red Bull team.

And much of the data feeding into Red Bull’s trackside garage will be relayed in near real-time, before, after and during the race, from AT&T’s Operations Room in the UK, over the AT&T global VPN.

The Red Bull race team transfers up to 400GB of data across the AT&T network every race weekend, helping engineers and critical partners collaborate quickly, effectively and securely.

AT&T’s sponsorship of the Red Bull team, which started in 2011, is claimed to provide the team with a unified communication and collaboration solution featuring instant messaging, IP-based phone services, telepresence, and video conferencing.

The AT&T network allows Red Bull Racing to transfer data from many race locations back to the AT&T Operations Room in near real-time – or 300 mili-seconds between the Australian grand prix and headquarters.

The data is fed back to the UK operations centre in virtual real-time using 100 sensors fitted to the Red Bull cars.

The partnership with Red Bull involves a multi-year sponsorship and is based on mission-critical technology integration by AT&T.

Red Bull Racing team head of technical partnerships, Al Peasland, spoke in Melbourne yesterday of the importance of fast transfer of data to the raceday team and, critically, the enhanced security around the data provided by AT&T this racing season.

“You’ll notice the cars look different (this year),” he said.

“The new nose and wings have been in the spotlight, but there are less obvious improvements too. To make sure the new design is as aerodynamically efficient as possible, we’ve been taking advantage of our secure AT&T network to help us quickly access data from our wind tunnel in the UK.

“This facility generates a huge amount of information that our engineers have to analyse to hone the design of the new car. They can also look at data from previous seasons in order to help focus development and maximise our performance.”

Ricciardo is driving a newly designed and built car for the first race of the F1 season.

And the speed and security of transfer of near-real-time data, over the AT&T network — in pre-season testing in Spain and on the car as it hits the track on any raceday, including Melbourne on Sunday — will be critical to Red Bull’s efforts to try and gain a competitive edge.

That’s where security of data is paramount, particularly in the testing phase of the new cars.

“Testing is all about gathering data, learning about the new elements of the car and then improving its performance. It’s an intense few days, with everyone working together – the trackside team in Barcelona, Spain, our headquarters in Milton Keynes, UK, the wind tunnel in Bedford, UK, and our power unit supplier, in France,” Peasland explained.

“As our innovation partner, AT&T enables us all to collaborate quickly, effectively, and in a highly secure manner.

“With a global VPN network from AT&T, Red Bull Racing can rely on virtually real-time data transfer so we can swiftly make crucial, data-driven decisions on how to optimise car performance.

“We have to be able to rapidly develop new components, ship them to the race track and install them onto the car so they can be tested live on the track, with immediate feedback to the engineers.”

Peasland says security of data and the overall team’s operation continues to be boosted every year.

“There’s no standing still when it comes to keeping the team’s information and assets safe, especially as the volume and variety of devices we use continues to grow.

“As always, our focus is on effectively mitigating threats and deflecting unauthorised activities before they happen. We use multiple AT&T security solutions including Secure Event and Threat Analysis (SETA), cloud web security and secure email gateway.”

As Peasland explained, Red Bull has full control over all the mobile devices accessing its corporate apps and content and, if a device is lost or stolen, team management can remotely wipe important data from it.

And this year, Red Bull is making more use of mobile devices, with an enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution from AT&T.

“This evolving technology will let the race team innovate in new ways, such as enabling engineers to securely exchange crucial race information directly with the factory using just their smartphones,” Peasland said.

Peasland says that once this year’s pre-season testing was complete, there were an intense couple of weeks to get ready for the Melbourne race.

Keeping the lines of communications operating efficiently and securely over the AT&T network is managed through Red Bull’s AT&T operations room in the UK for race weekends.

The operations room allows the Red Bull team to send a smaller trackside team to races and yet have more team engineers contributing to raceday decisions.

“With data coming in at near real-time — just 300 milliseconds between the Australian Grand Prix and our HQ — they can see exactly what’s happening with the cars and provide strategic race feedback to the trackside team.”


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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