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Antonio Neri: HPE And Mercedes AMG-Petronas Motorsport Formula 1 Share A Culture Of Innovation

HPE CEO Antonio Neri says his company’s partnership with Mercedes AMG-Petronas Motorsport Formula 1 has its roots in a shared culture of innovation.

HPE’s Winning Data Insight Formula

HPE CEO Antonio Neri, a Formula 1 racing fan from an early age, says HPE’s technology and services is providing critical speed and performance advantages for Mercedes AMG-Petronas Motorsport drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

“The more information we can give to the driver real time, the more data he has available to make decisions,” says Neri, noting the complex calculations that drivers are making every 90 seconds with a steering wheel jam packed with buttons, switches and a display. “Because in the end the driver is one that makes the difference. We have enabled them with data and insights they could not get before.”

The edge to core to cloud data management challenge that the Mercedes team faces in each and every race is not unlike the challenges that each and every business grapples with in a world in which more than 60 percent of data is generated at the edge.

“Think about a true edge to cloud architecture,” says Neri of the HPE performance busting solution. “The edge is the car moving at 220 miles per hour – essentially an office that is moving all the time. The garage and the factory is the core where they do all the design and analytics. We provide the infrastructure and software and services at both ends and then we enable them through AI and machine learning to analyze that data.”

Talk about HPE’s partnership with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Formula 1 team?

First of all I love the sport. I have always been a fanatic of Formula 1 racing. It is a very high-tech sport. When you talk about Formula 1 it is the epitome of the top car racing on the planet. The reality is that many of the technologies used in those (Formula 1) cars trickle down into the commercial cars years later. Most of the teams, particularly Mercedes Benz, are in Formula 1 to test these new technologies that eventually make it to the cars you buy. Obviously that (Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Formula 1) car is the most efficient car on earth. It is a hybrid. It is not pure fuel. The way the car is engineered is it is battery powered and fuel powered. You see only the fuel side but it is actually a hybrid car.

How long have you been a Formula One fan?

Since I was five. I used to follow the Argentinian driver Carlos Reutemann in the 70s. He raced for Williams, Ferrari and Lotus.

Talk about the HPE and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport cultures?

We have a similar culture for innovation (with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Formula 1). They are very advanced on the innovation front. We both agree the power of the outcome of the race is dependent on the data. How we extract the most amount of insights from the data so they can design the best car, they can define the best strategy for the race and the best setup for the car for the race. Designing, strategy and setting up (the car) are the three areas we work with them. We power the factory which is a beautiful high-tech factory in the UK. We power the 22 races they compete in.

Think about a true edge to cloud architecture. The edge is the car moving at 220 miles per hour with an office that is moving all the time which is basically the (team) garage and the factory is the core where they do all the design and analytics. So we provide the infrastructure and software and services at both ends and then we enable them through AI and machine learning to analyze that data.

What are the products that you have brought to bear with the HPE Mercedes AMG-Petronas Motorsport?

They use everything. In the factory they use our Synergy, Apollo and Moonshot systems. Apollo and Synergy are for the cloud architecture. And for the design of the car and the wind tunnel they use HPE Moonshot. When you go to the races they use our Edgeline products- the converged OT/IT systems. They used to have a lot of challenges at the edge. They go to a race on Monday or Tuesday and they need to be ready by Friday for racing.

It takes a lot of work to bring all these technologies together and they used to have a lot of point of failures connecting analog and digital devices. We converged all of that. Now there is one device in the garage connected to the cloud back to the factory.

Now they are using Aruba as well and they are using our AI technology to analyze the data. The AI (solution) is running on Apollo with a series of algorithms we developed for them.

It is all high-performance compute. It is a high amount of computational power. The data is big but it is small sets. It is a very large number of files but it is small sets of files. They have 100 channels in the car that collects data all the time. By the time you are done there is a lot of data.

Talk about the “unfair advantage” that HPE technology/services is providing Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Formula 1 team.

It is very simple. There are 22 races. They improve the performance throughout the year by two seconds. Every race there is a one tenth of a second improvement. One tenth of a second can mean the difference between winning and losing a race. Anything we can do to help optimize with a one tenth of a second advantage is a big deal.

What kind of an impact does the edge platform have on the driver?

The driver has a very complex task. It is not just about driving the car. It is optimizing the car to the way he is driving. He is changing buttons all the time. It is tweaking the car at least 10 times in a minute and a half. That’s every lap. It is not just looking at who’s ahead of you, but changing things as you go. The more information we can give to the driver real time, the more data he has available to make decisions. Because in the end the driver is one that makes the difference. We have enabled the team with data and insights they could not get before. If you have a driver like Lewis Hamilton who has won four worldwide championships, which is amazing, he can feel every tire. There is a lot of high tech and electronics in the car which need to be optimized. Obviously you need to crunch that data in real time.

How does HPE approaches partnerships like the one with Mercedes AMG-Petronas Motorsport?

We have a different philosophy for partnerships. It is a very consistent approach. Whether it is a partnership with Formula 1, the partnership with Tottenham Hotspur (football team stadium powered by HPE Aruba), the Golden State Warriors or the Ryder Cup. The reason we do these partnerships because we want to drive innovation with them.

We use it for brand awareness but most importantly to address the biggest challenges facing each of these sports partners or any customer for that matter. We use it to learn and to drive innovation.

For us it is a partnership to drive innovation and we get the benefit of showcasing the product.

What is the lesson for partners from the Mercedes Formula 1 partnership?

The lesson for the partners is that customers are looking for solutions – not point products. Second they are looking at both the edge and the cloud in concert. Those are not independent things anymore. They are looking for business outcomes which comes from the data – not the technology. And they are looking for a partner that can help them architect this solution. That is why you need strong services acumen to go do this.

So basically customers want a services orientation with solution development that gets deployed to deliver the outcome from the data. That is where the partners have an advantage working with us.

Partners all need to pivot. It is one thing selling a server. It is another thing to sell workload optimized solution that delivers a business outcome from the data.

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