- Case study
Radio analytics: Amplifying a data-powered strategy
Winning insights are in the air. You just need to know how to tune in and listen
"I don't think that would help!"
"Copy. Grip six, grip six!"
In the heat of a Formula E race, radio communications between drivers and their engineers are critical to success, even if they don't make much sense to the untrained ear.
These exchanges are treasure troves of insights if you can analyze and interpret their vast volumes of information. The partnership between Genpact and a founding team in the FIA Formula E World Championship, did just that.
Radio analytics enhances the team's competitive edge, using technology to quickly unlock insights from teams' communications to respond during the race or feed them into future strategies.
And as the world championship's schedule was subject to change due to COVID-19, the need to turn data into an on-track advantage was amplified even further. The combination of deep racing knowledge and digital skills were essential.
During every Formula E race, 22 drivers and engineers share details on energy status, strategy instructions, encouragement, and frustrations on the radio. Formula E makes these channels public so anyone can listen in. Some instructions are in code while others are plainly spoken.
The team was looking for a fresh source of advantage and knew that the radio chatter carried significant competitive intelligence. Listening to each unedited audio stream, however, was time consuming and couldn't deliver insights at scale. And there was always other important work to do.
Facing fierce competition, the team needed to arm it drivers and engineers with quality strategic insights and top-tier race preparation. With the importance of radio analytics skyrocketing, Genpact helped the team meet the accelerated demand for radio insights.
The team wanted a model to sort relevant clips and then group them by driver and race, enabling engineers to act on conversations faster. But because clips are short and often contain encoded messages, standard algorithms struggled with them.
The first step was to build a transcription platform that could translate speech to text and automatically eliminate dead air. During a full race session, drivers and their engineers typically speak for less than 10 minutes in total.
Genpact designed the Radio Analytics Engine (RAE), a platform that could quickly process each recorded radio stream into relevant clips. Nobody had to trim the silence from the audio, and the team could quickly catalog clips by driver and race. This made it easier to gain quick insights on how rivals were approaching challenges, including when they might take to the pit, how they could manage remaining energy, and when they were likely to use attack mode – an extra boost of energy available to all drivers during the race.
By introducing natural language processing to RAE, the team could also automate clip sorting quickly enough to access insights and intelligence during a race. With more detailed competitive knowledge, drivers could make better in-race decisions, improve overtaking and defensive strategies, and change the outcome of a race.
See how we unlock insights from radio communications
These live radio conversations can reveal important insights into the motivations and behavior of each competitor. Because every race is hard to predict, the team needed to maintain its edge over its rivals.
Monitoring competitors allowed the team to adjust its strategy in real time. If engineers and drivers know when another driver is considering taking attack mode, they could act in advance.
For example, in a race in Mexico, one of the drivers started eighth on the grid. He used radio analytics insights to help decide when to take attack mode and overtake, which contributed toward his third-place finish and first Formula E podium.
With technology on hand to accelerate radio analysis, the team gave itself a head start on this vital intelligence-gathering process, especially when facing weekends with multiple races.
The team would not have been able to pull such valuable insights from such high volumes of unstructured data at speed and scale without Genpact's skills with digital technologies and data. With this insight, the team can go out on track knowing it hasn't left a stone unturned during race preparation.
This solution is another component of advanced analytics that will continue to boost driver performance not just with energy management or driver dexterity, but also with superior data-led insights.
Faster access to insight on how competitors make in-race adjustments and adapt to changing conditions enhances the team's pre-race strategy and ability to secure more podium finishes and a coveted season victory.
Read on to see how the technology behind radio analytics can enhance your business
From the racetrack to the boardroom
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