Fans experience Tour de France via NTT’s virtual ‘global stadium’

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Fans of Tour de France can now watch this year’s edition of the largest annual sporting event from the comfort of their homes.

NTT Ltd., the official technology partner to Amaury Sport Organization (A.S.O.), has developed a ‘Virtual Zone Technique’ that brings together different technologies to deliver its Tour de France services remotely for the first time. 

To create a digital ‘global stadium’ for fans who can’t be at the roadside this year, NTT and A.S.O. have made use of their advanced, real-time, data analytics capabilities. Live data and analytics will be featured across multiple channels which include a brand new augmented reality data app that will provide selected users with a unique way of viewing and interacting with live race data and the amazing landscapes of the Tour de France.

For the first time, this will allow fans to appreciate the scale of the event in 3D from their home. With an unprecedented view from the sky, they will see the riders among the mountains, valleys, rivers and lakes, and have access to interactive live data on the race while feeling like they’re actually viewing the race from a helicopter.

NTT Ltd. and A.S.O will also provide new data insights and visualizations as part of the live television broadcast. This will provide a fresh way of seeing and understanding the race, and how each team is performing. 

Apart from that, the data shared across the @letourdata social channel will allow fans to keep up to date with what is going on with the race, even if they’re on the move. It will also provide deeper insight into how the cyclists are performing, their team strategies, and predictions from the #NTTPredictor. 

Meanwhile, the official ‘Tour de France Fantasy’ game will enhance the experience for fans, with machine learning predictions provided by #NTTPredictor at every stage. Fans are able to immerse themselves in the Tour de France experience, competing with other like-minded fans! 

The live-tracking platform of the Tour de France has also been completely re-developed for 2020 to enhance the user experience, and leverage cutting edge cloud platform services. Race Centre 2.0 provides a second screen experience, showcasing key race data, live rider telemetry and other insights including race predictions and race commentary.

“This is not just a first for the Tour de France, but a first for sport; everything we would previously have done physically has been moved to a remote environment. Sport has the power to inspire and we wanted the public to enjoy the race this year even if they can’t be at the roadside,” NTT Ltd. chief marketing officer Ruth Rowan said. “Our work with A.S.O. has shown how, when we work together, we can find solutions to do great things. Innovation means fans will see the race in a different way, actually get closer to the action and more people than ever before can enjoy it safely.” 

“The approach we are taking at the Tour de France this year will revolutionise how sporting events are delivered in the future. We are using technology to take the fan experience to the next level. The new challenges we’ve addressed in preparing for this year’s race are inspiring our team to develop many more fantastic ideas to attract a new generation of digitally savvy fans,” Rowan added.

For its 40,000 employees, NTT Ltd. has also launched its Tour de France Hackfest – a competition where anyone from across the business can suggest future innovations for the race in support of creating the largest connected stadium in the world. The initiative encourages employees to think differently and celebrates the company’s innovation culture. 

“Over the last five years, we have built the Tour de France with NTT Ltd. and we have continued our digital transformation journey under unique circumstances this year. People have seen the benefits from sport even during the pandemic,” A.S.O chief executive Yann Le Moenner said. “Many people exercised during lockdown and now even more people are cycling to travel around. We can use technology to ensure the fan experience is richer than ever. These changes are good for the world. For example, if we can use the Tour de France as a platform to accelerate cycling in cities, we can improve people’s health and lessen our impact on the environment.” 

The sporting event takes place from August 29 to September 20.

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