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The way forward: From the workshop to the tracks

20 Jan 2022
 Image-Daniel Beevers

Dan Beevers

President, Vodafone Business APAC & Middle East

Over the last two years, businesses across the world have had to pivot and respond quickly to the pandemic, to stay relevant as well as to support their customers and employees.

Leveraging technologies like 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT) and more to push the boundaries of innovation is a must for any business wishing to remain relevant and competitive.

Our latest ‘Fit for the Future’ report shows a strong correlation between organisations that are ‘fit for the future’, and business financial performance. These businesses are also more open to change and investing in new technology.

By having an adaptable attitude, 94% of ‘fit for the future’ businesses are more prepared to overcome risks, with at least 89% having created a roadmap for digital transformation. They recognise that this is crucial for future business success and staying ahead of the competition.

This is something that Porsche Motorsport realises too - from managing a global team to work remotely, to the transition to E-Sports - the team is constantly evolving and adapting to new challenges.

In October 2021, I caught up with Carlo Wiggers, Director Team Management & Business Relations at Porsche Motorsport, to talk about the challenges the team has faced during the Covid-19 pandemic so far, their approach to innovation and how our partnership has helped to drive forward-thinking.

Q. What was the biggest challenge that Porsche Motorsport faced during the pandemic, and how did the team overcome this?

Carlo: We had to first prioritise physical health and safety. In the first eight weeks, everyone had to develop a rhythm of coping with the changes and accepting it.

We had to quickly evaluate which people within the racing teams could start working remotely. The team also had to ensure that our race and performance engineers, and others who deal with mechanical functions who needed to be on-site to develop the cars, still had access to their products.

The biggest challenge was for the team to come to terms with, and understand, the new working environment where the health and safety of our people comes first, but at the same time, making sure that our teams were ready when the sport is brought back onto the track.

Q. Indeed, a big part of coping with new challenges is the agility to move with change. How did you leverage technology and tools to ensure this transition was smooth?

Carlo: If you look at businesses today, and even how we are communicating for this fireside chat, we have managed to work around the situation to continue communicating and collaborating remotely.

We should view the current situation positively, and leverage the digital technology and tools available to help employees adapt to a more flexible, hybrid remote working environment that works for everyone.

Vodafone Business’ partnership with Porsche motorsport on R&D and 5G infrastructure has also further enabled our team.

5G is key in enabling not just smart mobility solutions in the future, but also setting the environment and infrastructure for racing operations, with 5G providing a stable, powerful and secured network for data transmission which can help improve car and athlete performance on the track.

Q. Motorsport has a very physical connection with fans and customers. How did you adapt and keep everyone engaged during the pandemic?

Carlo: Live support and engagement with customers and fans is key for motorsport.

This year’s races were very much restricted, so what we did was to understand what our business partners and fans need, and how we can deliver this experience virtually in the best way possible.

The cooperation with Vodafone Business on communications and technology was key to bringing this experience to life.  During the pandemic, our drivers and athletes also had to adapt to the digital world and turned to social media and video conferencing tools to stay in touch with family, friends and colleagues.

Q. Could you share how Porsche approaches innovation - are there any methodologies that you would encourage other partners to follow?

Carlo: Porsche’s motto is to never stop following your dream, and to never stop thinking outside of the box. The pandemic has proved this.

If you never turn to technology to find a new approach or solution to problems, you would never be successful in Formula E or be able to win a race. For instance, we innovated by using real-time simulations for track testing, which required a stronger connectivity for our drivers to race together through virtual simulation.

When it comes to smart mobility solutions, we are driven by the need to compete at the highest level. This principle translates into our R&D with series production, whereby high-performance technology from the motorsport has been brought to Porsche’s road cars as well.

We look forward to breaking more boundaries together with Vodafone Business in the e-mobility space.

Catch the full Fireside chat between Dan Beevers and Carlo Wiggers.

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