Formula 1 races to AWS as official cloud provider, cites importance of machine learning capabilities

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

It has been described by Citrix as a ‘never-ending technology arms race to optimise performance’ – and now Formula 1 has gotten a further boost by selecting Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its official cloud and machine learning provider.

The move will see Formula 1 move the vast majority of its infrastructure from on-premises data centres to AWS, and use a variety of products to help improve broadcasts, data tracking, and race strategies.

Amazon SageMaker – AWS’ service to help developers build, train and deploy machine learning models – will be put to task by Formula 1’s team of data scientists against more than 65 years of race data. The data, collected in real time by Amazon Kinesis and stored in Amazon DynamoDB and cold storage product Glacier, will be crunched to extract performance statistics and make predictions for upcoming races.

Other AWS products being utilised by Formula 1 are AWS Lambda for serverless capabilities, and AWS Elemental Media Services for greater video options.

“For our needs, AWS outperforms all other cloud providers, in speed, scalability, reliability, global reach, partner community, and breadth and depth of cloud services available,” said Pete Samara, Formula 1 director of innovation and digital technology in a statement. “By leveraging Amazon SageMaker and AWS’s machine learning services, we are now able to deliver these powerful insights and predictions to fans in real time.”

This is by no means the first customer to cite machine learning as a key element of future strategies. In May, Ryanair announced it was going all-in on AWS, saying greater data insights and better customer experience through machine learning was vital to its decision. The airline is using Amazon Lex, the technology underpinning smart assistant Alexa, on a trial basis.

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