11th January 2024

How we’re building better races and a better environment with Extreme E

At Vodafone we’re committed to a sustainable future. That’s why we’re teaming up with Extreme E, a pioneering motor racing series dedicated to paving the way to a lower carbon future through the promotion of electric vehicles, as its official technology communications partner.

Today, Vodafone’s Senior Technology Product Owner (E2E Solutions) Graham Arnott, and Technology Lead Reuben Kingsland tell us about the loT solutions they’re creating to support Extreme E’s sustainability goals, and the impact they’re having with the Extreme E team.

Reuben Kingsland
Technology Lead

Our solutions help Extreme E deliver their core race operations, but most proudly for me, they support them with their legacy projects – projects that aim to leave a positive environmental impact on the locations in which they race. Having gained a lot of product management and technology delivery experience all over the world in my years with Vodafone, I was asked to establish and lead the team working on Extreme E, and I’m now accountable for the technology strategy and delivery for all that we do in our partnership with them.

When visiting the San Leonardo region in Sardinia, where one of the legacy projects is focused, we could see immediately how our technology could make an impact. To help combat the wildfire threats they face due to climate change, we’ve implemented low cost IoT sensors that sit in the trees and detect fires during the smouldering phase to catch them early, notify local firefighters and prevent them from spreading. We’ve also implemented a solution for monitoring tree growth to understand the impact of the olive tree planting project in the area, which will replace the groves devastated by wildfires.

Working with Extreme E has given me the opportunity to work across a variety of different technologies and solutions and deepen my technical understanding. I've been fortunate to learn new skills by having the chance to innovate with the use of technology, and I’ve learnt how to deliver the most environmentally friendly solutions possible in some of the most challenging locations in the world.

It's amazing to lead the Vodafone team and it’s amazing working with the people at Extreme E. We have common goals and ambitions, and a team of subject matter experts who are truly empowered by Vodafone to achieve our shared objectives.

Graham Arnott
Senior Technology Product Owner

As well as supporting the customer-facing team who help Extreme E build solutions for their race operations, my main role is to create IoT Legacy solutions where our mission is to leave solutions behind that have a positive impact in tackling climate challenges after the race leaves. I scope potential solutions, liaise with Extreme E and their NGO environmental partners, work with vendors and supply chain, and oversee the installation and in-life management of the solutions remotely.

The NGOs we work with help to define, deploy, and run our IoT solutions in-country. We’ve now deployed four different technologies across Europe that will change the way local scientists monitor and manage the impacts of climate change. One of my highlights has been specifying a water monitoring solution for the River Nith in Scotland to help mitigate the impacts of climate change on the local salmon population and seeing it through from sensor delivery to installation and data acquisition. Watching the NGO scientists’ excitement when they unboxed the custom water quality sensor “Bob” for the first time was epic! Being able to deploy that and then record content for race broadcast was equally rewarding, as was being part of the race community for a week. I’ve been a fan of rally since teenagerhood and have owned EVs for years.

It’s very important to understand and respect the ways that NGOs and smaller businesses work too. We’ve realised that not everyone works the same way we do. I make sure everyone is clear on roles and responsibilities and communicates progress clearly, which eliminates blockers and allows us to deliver success together.

Working with Extreme E has enabled me to experiment again, which I've really enjoyed. It comes with risks and lots of hard work – but the rewards are immense when you build something new and see the impact it has on others, and hopefully, the planet.

Want to know more?

Find out more about the partnership between Vodafone and Extreme E.