F1 Innovation Prize

F1 Innovation Prize: Interview with Mehul Kapadia

On July 5, 2018, Tata Communications awarded its F1 Innovations Prize again. The cooperative initiative by Tata Communications, Formula 1 and Mercedes encourages Fans all over the world to help shaping the broadcasting possibilities of the racing sport.

By the means of the F1 Innovation Prize Tata Communications, the Official Connectivity Provider of the Formula 1 since 2012, wants to include the Fans in the process of bringing them closer to the cockpit. Every year, the smartest and most innovative idea is awarded with the prize and 50.000 US Dollar. This year the winning idea is to be implemented by building a prototype. We have conducted an exclusive interview with Mehul Kapadia, Managing Director of Tata Communications’ F1 Business and the company’s Global Head of Marketing.

MBF: Which services offer Tata Communications to the Formula 1?

Mehul Kapadia:

The basis for everything is our fibre-optic network. We connect every F1 racetrack to the network. By that, we can broadcast data from every country in the world to the F1 headquarters in England in merely a quarter of a second. Our 20 broadcasting partners also use our network to broadcast the races of Formula 1 every weekend to the households of the viewers.

Moreover, we host the official F1.com website, which registers over 5 million visitors during the most important racing weekends. More and more fans want to watch little snippets online as a revision or instead of the entire race. Consequently, the videos on F1.com become more and more popular. During the first half of the last season alone, the videos on F1.com and the F1 app were watched more than 21 Million times. In comparison to the previous year this is an increase of 134 percent.

MBF: Are there special challenges?

Mehul Kapadia:

We are not a sponsor as such. We proudly claim that there is no other technology business hich has such a central role in sports as us. Due to the close collaboration with the Formula 1 we have the opportunity to help developing a vision for the future of sports. Together with the Formula 2 and the Mercedes team we have initiated the “crowdsourcing” project which realizes the ideas for new technologies by F1 fans: The F1 Innovation Prize 2018 just started and we are looking forward to all the interesting ideas by fans.

Also, every year we test new technologies with the F1-ecosystem like UHD and live-360°-video to enhance the fans’ F1 experience even more.

MBF: What dies the Formula 1 want to achieve with new digital services like F1 TV OTT video platform?

Mehul Kapadia:

F1 is a sport, which currently undergoes a massive transformation. Many disruptive services are developed during the race – on and next to the track. They have one thing in common: They want to enhance the fans’ experience.

One of those disruptive services is F1 TV, along with the Twitter live shows which offer the fans video highlights after the race, and F1 Fan Voice – a platform where fans can exchange their opinions about the sport in polls, forums and blogs.

Since its first presentation in 2014, the F1 Innovation Prize has paved the path for many digital programs which we can see in F1. They all bring the fans closer to the sport which is so close to their hearts. They change the sports experience of fans, and how they can experience the action on and next to the tracks.

MBF: Which technologies for the future of the F1 are you especially excited?

Mehul Kapadia: The breakneck speed of the technological innovations also means that we cannot predict the future. However, I think that there are some great opportunities for the Forumla 1 to include the newest digital innovations to offer the audience at home and at the track an even more immense racing experience. For example, how can F1 use the available wifi and mobile apps to improve the live experience at the tracks? Which digital platforms can excite the new generation of audience in the coming 5, 10 or 20 years? The racing sport is currently going through a very interesting phase with plenty opportunities for groundbreaking innovations.

Source title image: Tata Communications