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Winner of the F1 ® Connectivity Innovation Prize announced

18 Dec 2014

Tata Communications, a leading provider of A New World of Communications™, today unveils the Grand Prize winner of the inaugural F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize. The jury, which included the 2014 FIA Formula One World Champion and Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Lewis Hamilton and F1 commentator Martin Brundle, delivered its final verdict announcing a four-man British team as winners of the Grand Prize. Their novel idea of how 60,000 hours of footage in Formula One Management’s digital archive could be catalogued was a hit with the judges and will see the team share US$50,000, and two of them will attend next year’s Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco as VIP guests of Tata Communications.

The winning team - Jody Allen, Tom Williams, Chris Randall and Chris Belmore from London submitted a user-centric solution that could empower fans around the world to contribute to the process of cataloguing over 60,000 hours of video in Formula One Management’s digital archive. The team proposed a solution to the ‘Crowd Sourcing Commentary Challenge’ where fans would be given access and encouraged to submit their 'greatest moments’ compilation each week. Searching the archive, which has already been tagged with baseline metadata, fans could explore the relevant race and using the simple editing interface, find and clip their moment. The fan community would vote on the winning clips and the winners could receive VIP prizes. This user-centric approach could empower F1 viewers to catalogue the digital archive, whilst also adding a new dimension to the fan experience.

As one of the judges making up the F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize jury, the 2014 FIA Formula One Drivers’ World Champion, Lewis Hamilton says, “There were lots of really strong entries for all three challenges. The competition really seemed to engage the fans and sparked some great responses. The winning solution understood how race fans think and act, and how our sport can develop ways to connect with our fans at the race tracks and at home.”

Reflecting on their win, team leader Jody Allen says, “At the heart of our belief as Formula One fans was the conviction that everyone has their own treasured memory of key moments in the sport’s history. Some are the instantly recognised seminal events, others are highly individual and personal. By connecting these moments to narrative allowed us to build something that was more than just a rigid and structured database, but rather a fluid and dynamic set of linkages between everyone’s personal views of the sport. We’re delighted the judges’ welcomed our approach as the work required plenty of detailed consideration - and quite a few late nights.”

The full judging panel was made up of some of the foremost names in motor racing including 2014 FIA Formula One Drivers’ World Champion and Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver, Lewis Hamilton; Lewis’ 2014 FIA Formula One Constructors’ World Championship-winning team Executive Director (Technical), Paddy Lowe; Formula One Management’s Chief Technical Officer, John Morrison; F1 commentator, Martin Brundle; Tata Communications’ Managing Director of F1 Business, Mehul Kapadia; Tata Communications’ Julie Woods-Moss, Chief Marketing Officer and CEO of the Nextgen Business; and John Hayduk, President and CTO at Tata Communications.

Mehul Kapadia, MD of the F1 Business, Tata Communications brought the 2014 Tata Communications’ F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize to a fitting conclusion by confirming that the challenge will be back in the future. “We at Tata Communications decided to partner with Formula One Management and Mercedes AMG Petronas to give fans around the world a chance to show their creativity and passion for the sport. This has been a genuinely global competition, and we’re proud to have been a catalyst for some truly visionary thinking.”

John Morrison, Formula One Management’s Chief Technical Officer says, “I must congratulate all of the many entrants from around the world for the quality of their work and the self-evident effort made to compete in the challenges. The bar has been set incredibly high.”

The competition, launched by Tata Communications, along with Formula One Management and the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, was a three-part crowdsourcing platform for innovation that engages international brainpower against the demanding backdrop of Formula One racing over the 2014 season. The challenges have inspired a legion of innovators from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Germany, India, Singapore, UK, USA and Spain among other nations to make submissions to the judging panel, making it a truly global affair. And while entrants have been busy honing their responses, the resonance that the F1 Connectivity Innovation Prize has achieved can be witnessed by the temperature of social media commentary, with over 11 million impressions on the official Twitter feed and half a million video requests on the Prize’s official website.