|NASCAR takes advantage of big data in its AR project to engage with its fans / Photo Credit: Actions Sports Photography (via Shutterstock)|
In September 2019, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) debuted its NASCAR AR Burnout Experience for fans with AR-enabled mobile devices, as reported by Mary Shacklett of online trade publication TechRepublic.
In the company’s announcement, NASCAR's senior vice president and chief digital officer Tim Clark stated, “Our goal is to bring fans as close to the sport as possible, and AR is an ideal medium to help us accomplish that as we look to engage the NASCAR fans of both today and tomorrow.”
Since there are fans who cannot attend an event in person, NASCAR wants to give them an alternative way of being at a race or at racing activities like Burnout. According to Clark, the AR Burnout Experience took many months of diligent research. NASCAR knew this initiative would be a “leading edge.” Hence, they partnered with firms that have established mobile delivery platforms such as Apple and Google. They also worked with a software development agency to help them with developing the AR applications.
Around half a dozen developers and specialists were working on the project. The video data used for the burnouts “was for simulations,” not real-time video. Hence, the data was stored in an offline repository. This data would be optimized for performance to minimize bandwidth constraints with user mobile devices.
NASCAR’s AR project involved “capturing 3D renderings of cars” and creating an approximate experience of being at a live burnout event. So far, NASCAR has received positive feedback from fans, Clark noted. NASCAR is in the process of incorporating AR in its customer outreach strategy. It is also looking forward to exploring big data and AR to further engage with their fans.
Overall, big data should go beyond “back office” analytics and utilize it to connect and engage customers using video and AR streaming devices. Shacklett concluded that NASCAR’S AR Burnout Experience is the “next frontier of big data.”