Chief Data Strategist at Genpact
Digitalisation is the way forward for many industries, but it’s almost impossible to comprehend the speed at which Formula E is using data and the effects this has had on the electric motorsport. The electric vehicle (EV) racing championship also acts as a sustainability campaign to drive the future of net-zero emissions, environmental; social and governance (ESG), and EV adoption is the chosen method of getting there.
Teams like Envision Racing are pushing the boundaries of electric mobility to showcase the capabilities of all-electric power and facilitate a global electrified approach to sustainability. This would be lagging behind the curve if it wasn’t for Genpact, an IT service management company, which partnered with the team in 2018. Chief Data Strategist at Genpact and the executive in charge of liaising with Envision Racing, Sanjay Srivastava is heavily involved in the Envision Racing team and leads the data strategy development for various different projects to drive success in the motorsport.
Generating data for a sustainability initiative
His role is significant both on-track and off-track in a couple of ways. Srivastava has been with Genpact for over 11 years and is now engrained among the e-mobility applications of data and analytics. His role sees him discussing technology in motorsport on one day to the application of data in business and commercial electric vehicle adoption on another.
Srivastava holds a wealth of knowledge from his time in various IT roles, including work for Hewlett Packard and Akamai Technologies. Working with the Envision team, he is able to discuss wider topics of digitalisation, which benefit the general public and facilitate more action against climate change.
“We actually think beyond racing, of course we love racing, we enjoy winning races, but a lot of the work we do together is all around thinking about the future of transportation and mobility,” says Srivastava.
“We believe that designing some of the algorithms; some of the models and the neural networks that we're building in AI today, will eventually transcend beyond racing into the general public and we’ll all be using that in generations to come.”
A data partnership for sustainable e-mobility
“We partner with envision racing on a number of fronts. First and foremost, we work very closely with them on the data and analytics side of racing. EV racing is a little bit about the software and a lot about the data and analytics, because that's really what drives the performance,” says Srivastava.
The partnership between Genpact and Envision Racing provides Srivastava with ample opportunities to present the application of data analytics and the current and future applications. At an exclusive event at the Envision Racing workshop at Silverstone, UK, Srivastava spoke about the partnership and the current developments taking place to give the team a competitive advantage.
“We've been working very closely over multiple years. Now. We started in 2018 and we work across many different projects, by looking at the data, looking at their analytics, improving the insights that we get out of that and helping teams win,” Srivastava explains.
Not only is the team able to leverage significantly more data for testing, practice and trackside, it’s a requirement to get the garage moving out of the garage. In conversation with Srivastava, it was clear to see just how important data and analytics are to achieve the basic functions of Formula E.
“What's also compelling is the size and scale, because you're looking at tons of data points that are coming through all of the telemetry on the car; all of the weather and external data points from the track, and the friction and weather and temperature. They're looking at the performance of the drivers, their historical performance, and the performance of other racers.
As the further use of data becomes commonplace in the team’s strategy, the partners are also working on an artificial intelligence (AI) powered speech analytics tool, which is used in-race communications as well as analysing surrounding cars and drivers.
“You need to build the right infrastructure of data that gives you the capability to build artificial intelligence. So, we start with that. We build a foundation of data and then we’ve got that. The second thing about AI is you have to think about where and when to apply it because it's not right for every single thing,” Srivastava says.
Its AI-based solution to analysing text has altered the way that the Envision Racing team uses data and provides a unique way to transfer information from the pits to the drivers. Leveraging the publicly available radio network, AI listens in and converts speech to usable data.
“Once you get through those two areas, then you get to the beauty of AI and what AI is able to do that is very difficult to get done otherwise—process information at scale, in a velocity that's just not possible. We carry out some work to listen to the conversations that are publicly available on the race track between various drivers and engineers and you could tune and listen to it any day.”
What excites you most about formula?
"I think the number one thing that excites me is actually the race against climate change. It's fantastic to be on a race track," says Srivastava.
"It's great to be with the teams and all the camaraderie that goes in there and the spirit of winning, but when you step away from all of that, what we're really trying to project across the world is that there is an alternate view that there is a different world. There is a different future, and if we can plan and progress it. We can actually get a handle on climate change. Climate change is a really large problem and it's a tough one to solve, but the lens I think we're applying is in the end, it's a data problem and it's a change management problem."
"Some of the things we're learning here with Envision Racing are allowing us to think about data as an asset class and how to leverage and harvest the data, drive the right insights and to the right people that are about to make the decision, and then how to drive change management to be able to adopt this new way of thinking and the new technology components that come through."
"If we get data and change management right, we can take a really serious crack at climate change. And I think the work we do here well beyond racing is actually helping us think about climate change and getting much more proactive about addressing that."
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