Guest post by Walt Ottenad, H1 Unlimited Webmaster and AppSheet user
H1 Unlimited races the fastest circuit racing boats in the world— 30-foot-long, 3000 horsepower turbine engined hydroplanes that exceed 200 MPH, racing side-by-side on 2 and 2 ½ mile ovals on lakes and rivers in North America and around the world. With over 100 years of history and hundreds of thousands of fans, H1 Unlimited is the pinnacle of powerboat racing in the United States.
Walt Ottenad has been the webmaster for the series for the last seven years and was looking to expand the reach of the series beyond their website and social media channels. With analytics showing that almost 50% of their fans were getting their information about the series via mobile devices, it was only natural that they looked at building an app to present even more information and additional features to their fan base.
In researching the options, Walt determined that to contract for a standard application through regular developers would cost many thousands of dollars more than the budget for the project. With this in mind, the search began for alternatives. In AppSheet, Ottenad found a platform that allowed him to develop the application in-house using information he was able to transfer from the series website, and more importantly, allow fans to research the extensive results database in near real-time— a capability that was never possible on their website.
“The results database we pulled from currently extends back to the 2000 season, with every result of every heat of the racing fully documented,” Ottenad says.
”The incredible performance and flexibility that the AppSheet platform gives us in manipulating this huge amount of data (1200 rows x 75 columns) is really mind blowing considering it's running on a mobile device!”
With over 3,000 video links, the results database gives fans the ability to search or filter by almost any criteria, and then view the video clips associated with each result.
“We are looking at the possibility of opening up the rest of our database (reaching back to 1904, with over 6,700 video links!) to our fans on this platform as well, which as far as we are aware, is a first for any motorsport in the world,” says Ottenad.
The app also contains profiles of drivers, teams, sponsors, event schedules, photo, and video archives, social media, television, and print resources among many other features. When the racing begins in July 2016, the series will also push heat race assignments, results, points, and an automated points tracker into the app— giving fans far more information than they have ever had available, all in one place on their mobile device.
Next, the team at H1 wanted to make sure the app would be discoverable to its wide audience of fans. Once Walt had customized the app to the company’s requirements and specifications, the AppSheet team worked to white label H1’s app, which is now featured in the iOS store.*
“We literally could not have accomplished this goal without AppSheet, and highly recommend it to other organizations like ours as a very cost-effective way of bringing your brand of excitement to your fans!"
*White labeling with AppSheet will be available in the near future.