The Tour de France has gone wireless! Orange has been supplying the telecommunications for the Tour de France for 15 years. They ensure the event runs smoothly and that the army of media professional from around the world, including NBC Sports, has the necessary technology needed to make this a world-class event.
This year, unlike past, they saw enormous growth in BYOD, everyone having two to three wireless devices. For most events, this would present an ominous issue. Some vendors have even turned off their wireless networks due to the crashes caused by BYOD. But not Orange, who supplied enough wireless capacity and bandwidth for thousands of simultaneous users, including hundreds of event organizers, 125 TV broadcasters, 2,300 journalists, 70 radio stations, and 450 newspapers transferring enormous amounts of media-rich files was easy. And they did it with nominal amount of equipment.
The network was comprised of five Xirrus Wireless Rapid Deployment Kits, exclusively dedicated for media and professionals across the Tour’s Start Village, Timing Locations, Sprint Locations, Media Centers, and Finish Lines. The kits, consisting of an Array, tripod, weather cover, and cable, made it fast and easy deployment of Wi-Fi services. Each day, the network needed to be broken down, transported, and setup as the race moved along the 21 stages. Whether in the flats or the mountains, the network needed to deploy quickly and operate reliably as NBC Sports and others transferred live stats and video to their respective stations.
Besides the infrastructure, Orange launched an online portal and mobile application to bring the experience to the fan, regardless of mobile device. Being able to access real-time racing stats, including distances between riders, rankings, results at the end of each stage, video, and photos has made the race much more interactive for the fans.
Having access to Wi-Fi at every stage made it possible for fans to stay connected, so they didn’t miss a single second of the action. Orange customers were able to view otherwise unavailable footage captured by the special Orange correspondents present on the Tour – Commentary by Bernard Hinault, interviews with the winners at each stage, slide shows of the photos of the day, and video for each stage.
Orange also offered the official Tour de France application, in partnership with ASO, to give highlights and coverage on iPhones, iPods, iPads, and Androids. Fans can track the races, including distances between riders, rankings, and results.
“Orange is focused on providing the Tour de France, NBC Sports, government dignitaries, and thousands of media professionals during the race with reliable, high-performance wireless connectivity. Xirrus makes it easy to support the thousands of devices, simultaneously transferring large amounts of video and photo files through a robust network that, due to the race, must be redeployed on a daily basis, across 21 cities, in extreme environments. The array-based platform is the most powerful and trusted solution we’ve tested, and very quick to set-up,” said Henri Terreaux, Events Projects Manager at the French Operation Division of Orange.
Check out the press release.