Fans Getting Closer Than Ever to Tour Action Thanks to the IoT
GPS sensors and a sophisticated relay system make it possible to track a rider’s progress throughout the prestigious race.

As the official technology partner for the Tour de France, Dimension Data is changing the spectator experience of the world’s most prestigious cycling race with the IoT. Using IBM’s InfoSphere Streams analytics platform, Dimension Data monitored the real-time geolocational data of almost 200 riders over 21 days.

Every bicycle in the race was equipped with GPS sensors and a sophisticated relay system that transmitted data to apps, websites and broadcasters, giving fans and media the ability to track a rider’s progress throughout the race. The experience was no longer limited to a manual process that involved radios, stopwatches, and chasing riders on motorcycles to read the numbers on their shirts.

Dimension Data’s IoT solution provided a “positional fix every second, the latitude and longitude and the speed of every single rider,” IBM Asia Pacific’s Big Data Technical Leader Chris Howard told ReadWrite. “And from that raw data, we then did lots of things to determine their journey so far, how far they’d progressed, the ranking of the riders, the distance and times between all of the riders.”

In the future, a related IBM technology known as Quarks will provide cycling fans, broadcasters and team strategists deeper insights during the Tour. Quarks is an open source platform that lets developers create IoT applications to analyze data on the edge of their networks.

Howard believes that sensitive information such as “power output data, cycling cadence, pedalling cadence, respiration, [and] heart rate” could be gathered and used in a competitive nature.

To read more about how IoT is disrupting the Tour de France, please click here.