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Hybrid Sports with McLaren Racing

Hybrid Sports with McLaren Racing

Let’s get to work—from home, the office, and everywhere in between. In the case of McLaren Racing, they cover a lot of ground between the office and home. McLaren relies on Webex by Cisco to keep their race crews connected and their Formula 1 (F1) vehicles purring at top speeds.

As F1 fans, we typically see merely the surface, the asphalt if you will, of what’s one of the most high-octane sports out there. But there’s a world of work that goes on behind the scenes, off the track. Cisco’s SVP & GM, Security and Collaboration Division Jeetu Patel chatted with McLaren Racing’s CEO Zak Brown to explore how technology enables McLaren’s people to collaborate around the world, across diverse environments.

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While the pandemic might have increased McLaren’s Webex usage, they were already big fans. Jeetu asked Zak how everything has changed with COVID and his business. How have they managed with such a complex and precise sport, which of course requires some staff to be on-site, during this very difficult time?

“In one aspect, we’re very used to remote work and communication around the world via Webex, whether we’re racing in China, Abu Dhabi, or America. We have real-time communication between our traveling teams, factories, and mission control,” said Zak.

From that aspect, comprehensive collaboration and reliable communication has been business as usual for McLaren.

“Where it’s really changed for all of us is we’ve been working from home. And to actually run a racing team and build race cars, where there’s physical elements, while working from home, we’re totally relying on Webex and conversations like this. In a strange way, I think it’s made us a lot closer as an entity because when you have conversations like this [Webex]…this feels very intimate, very one-to-one in terms of our relationships,” said Zak.

The relationships are very real. But is hybrid sports a real thing? How does Zak approach the new demands of hybrid environments?

“We had to figure out how to do what we normally do, but in a remote manner. Communications are critical. We sometimes literally have seconds to make decisions during a pit stop. Not only do we need instant communication, we also need reliability. Fortunately, we have that. Credit to our technology partners for making this work seamlessly. I’m amazed,” said Zak.

When you consider that anything more than 3 seconds is considered bad for pit-stop timing, it’s easy to understand the importance of reliable, real-time communication.

Zak went on to say, “If you would have said, let’s work from home and go run races around the world, we would have said it’s just not achievable. But the way our team came together and worked with our technology partners, and the way individuals have rallied through such a terrible time with the help of technology has saved the world. Had this happened 20 years ago, everything would have just been shut down. Technology has enabled us to conduct business as usual. I’m sure this is the way the world was going, but COVID has made us embrace and adapt a lot quicker. Now, we’ve got these learnings and have done things we humans didn’t know was possible. To me, it’s now about taking these learnings and applying them moving forward. Now, I think we’re more efficient, including fiscally more efficient. If we have a meeting, we don’t fly people. We have people click into a meeting. Productivity has never been higher.”

And when Jeetu asked Zak what the future of work looks like, Zak said, “The future of work is going to be hybrid. Our teams have gotten a lot closer. Now, we’re doing Webex video calls instead of traditional calls, and it feels much more relationship-based. We’ve even done dinners and events via Webex.”

And to wrap up their talk, Jeetu asked Zak about his favorite Webex features: “Given our sport, we’re quite often in a loud environment. So, noise cancelation has been tremendous, being able to block out background noise. In addition, we have 24 nationalities on our racing team, and we’re broadcasting to about 200 countries. Being able to use the language features, especially combined with noise cancellation, has been tremendous. We’re having very detailed conversations, so you need to know exactly what everyone’s saying.”

Hear Zak’s complete conversation with Jeetu in addition to powerful insights from Thrive Global and IBM leaders. Watch the full “Hybrid Work. Made Real” Webex special event.

When you watch the special event, you’ll also hear direct from Cisco executive such as Chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins; SVP & GM, Security and Collaboration Division Jeetu Patel; Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer of Webex Collaboration Aruna Ravichandran; as well as EVP and Chief People, Policy & Purpose Officer Francine Katsoudas.

The 2-hour event was loaded with Webex innovations and demos, major announcements, interviews, and more. These are some highlights you can look forward to in the event video.

  • Face-to-face, no matter where the faces are
  • Remote vs. hybrid
  • 800 new Webex capabilities
  • What the future of work looks like
  • The all-new Webex Suite and brand refresh

After you watch the event video, visit Webex.com to learn more about the one app for everything, and everyone to support your future of hybrid work.

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