RealTime IT News

Drivers, Start Your IP Engines

In parts of the country, auto racing is the most exciting and fastest-growing sport. In the IT community, the same could be said of IP technology.

At Sunday's Indianapolis 500, the two will come together.

Cisco said several of its IP networking components and devices will be used by the Red Bull Cheever racing team to improve the transmission of data between onboard computers and support crews in the pit.

The system, which has been in testing since July, uses the company's Aironet 1100 and 1300 series access points, mobile access routers and 7920 wireless IP phones.

Red Bull Cheever Racing
VoIP on the Indy track.
Source: Red Bull Cheever Racing

Eddie Cheever Jr., owner of Red Bull Cheever Racing, who himself won the Indy 500 as a driver in 1998, believes the added intelligence could provide an edge.

It was Cheever who approached Greg Akers, CTO of Cisco's global government solutions group, to ask if he had any ideas on helping his team extract information from their telemetry systems.

"The two had a 'back of the napkin' session and continued discussions to integrate the wireless and VoIP technology," Charles Sommerhauser, a Cisco spokesman, told internetnews.com.

Sommerhauser added that the Indy 500 project is part of a joint development/proof of concept initiative with Cisco and Cheever sharing costs.

Cheever seems pleased with the results so far. "In a single lap around the track, we get nearly double the amount of coverage, in the transmission of data from car to engineers, than any other team," Cheever said in a statement. "This complete footprint of the track means we get crucial information when it happens, without delay."

Red Bull Cheever Racing has two cars in the race: No. 51 Toyota-powered Dallara driven by Alex Barron; and No. 83 Toyota/Dallara driven by Patrick Carpentier. Both will use Cisco IP systems.

"By utilizing Cisco wireless and VoIP technology, Red Bull Cheever Racing can be more mobile, have real-time access to data, and finally, optimize its racecar performance," Akers said in a statement.

Cisco and other network equipment makers have been pushing IP technology for business use, extolling improved performance and cost savings of converging voice and data onto a single network.

The effort has resulted in some high-profile enterprise wins, including a major deployment at Ford. A smooth race for the Cheever team on Sunday would help illustrate another real-world application for the technology.