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Microsoft HoloLens: Renault Sport CIO Shares How Formula One Can Use it

by September 23, 2017 General

Microsoft and Renault Sport Formula One Team has been working closely since the Lotus F1 days, back in 2012, to bring about digital transformation in their F1 team. With a substantially smaller budget compared to top F1 teams, the Renault Sport Formula One team had managed to migrate to cloud successfully just last year, leaving behind memories of the days when the Lotus F1 team used to ship its physical servers to every race venue.

As far as the partnership with Microsoft is concerned, Renault Sport Formula One team has already deployed Dynamics 365 with Power BI, Dynamics CRM in cloud and of course, Azure and Office 365.

Keeping aside the driving agility with cloud computing, Renault Sport CIO Pierre d’Imbleval shared the scope of Mixed Reality (with Microsoft HoloLens) in Formula One racing in an exclusive interaction with Debashis Sarkar of News18 during the recently held Singapore Grand Prix. Excerpts…ALSO READ: How Microsoft Helped Boost Renault Sport F1 Team’s Prowess

Do you think there is still technology left to be deployed in Formula One?

I think the real challenge for Formula One sport is to make it even more popular. I can see trends in technology that can enable more engagement with the audience through devices like Microsoft HoloLens. If you can provide a mixed reality experience for the audience watching the Formula One race and offer additional information regarding the car or driver, it would be great. As far as Formula One as a sport is concerned, of course, technology is making it safer and better but it needs to continue to evolve.

There is a cumulative audience of 1.6 billion people watching Formula One races across the globe annually.

Singapore Grand prix, Formual 1, Microsoft, Renault, Renault Sport F1, F1, F1 racing, Cloud Computing, technology news(Image: Renault Sport)

When you talk about Mixed Reality with Microsoft HoloLens how do see things developing going forward?

We are just experimenting with Microsoft HoloLens in the viewing area of our garage. There is nothing final as of now. Guests can come in to our garage during events and use HoloLens to get additional information when they look at the car in the garage. They can also be provided with data on the car parts they are looking at. This idea can be taken to grandstand where the audience can put on HoloLens to look at the cars running on the track and to get some engaging information about the race, car or the mood of the driver.

Today we are just at the experimental level. There is not for real in production yet. But I can mention some areas where we are looking at this notion of Mixed Reality. For instance, once the F1 car is assembled it is pretty difficult to detect leaks or defects. A HoloLens app could guide in repairing the car by streaming information right back to the factory and get instant feedback real time.

Hololens can be of great importance when we do design review across our two factories. Just imagine people based in two factories in two different countries seeing the same design of the car and reviewing it instantly.

Singapore Grand Prix Formula 1 pitt(Image: Renault Sport)

With the recent spotlight on Formula One cybersecurity, how importance is it for you as the Renault Sport CIO? </strong>

We are not worried about IP violation. This is because our parts and R&D gets obsolete very quickly. The most important part of cybersecurity for us is to prevent our systems from being hacked or a system failure during a race. We just cannot afford to let cars run without the IT support during a race. Our investments on cybersecurity are limited to just that extent only. Apart from that I trust our technology partners like Microsoft to invest in cybersecurity to prevent incidents around my infrastructure. We are not keen on “over-investing” in cybersecurity instead we would put that money in supercomputing or aerodynamic analysis or something else.

(Disclaimer: The author attended Singapore Grand Prix at Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore on the invite of Microsoft India.)

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