Preliminary report to the IGC Bureau on the provision of a common tracker system for the SGP events.
A summary of the work undertaken by Brian, Roland and Visa Matti.
The purpose of the project was to try and resolve a deal that would provide us with a sports presentation system common to all our SGP events.
After preliminary discussions by E-mail Roland and I met, Way Aero (German) and Yellow Brick (UK) in UK to discuss possible co-operation, and we discussed by e-mail and by phone with DSX (Italian) the same issues.
Unfortunately we were not able to come to a solution with any of these organisations for a variety of reasons, I have summarised the company specific reasons below but they are not the main reason we are unable to recommend a solution.
During the discussion it became clear that several fundamental issues exist in our current situation that prevent us from being able to enter into an arrangement.
In the end it comes back to MONEY, and until we have developed a way to finance the use of the system it is unlikely we will be able to make further progress in this area.
The basic fundamentals are: -
We cannot make any of the current organisers use a common system if they have to pay the full cost.
It is unrealistic to expect clubs to bid for events if we insist on an OA requiring them to pay possibly 6000+ euro per event.
The major cost is the satellite data transfer and this applies to all the companies, this cost can only be reduced by low transmission rate thus reducing the live coverage to way below an acceptable standard.
Until we have a common Sailplane racing Portal it is doubtful that we would get value for money if the IGC were to subsidise the system.
Developing technology could solve some of the data transmission issues and we should do more research into how these could be adapted for our purpose. Particularly the combined use of ADSB, GPRS and radio data transmission
Our conclusions are:-
We would be unwise to enter into a purchase deal until we have solved the financing issues, as we cannot be sure the units would be used at all events.
The rapidly changing technology may make any current system redundant within a few years.
The cost per event even if we apply a 20,000 euro IGC subsidy is more than 6000e and we can not expect most of the QSGP organisers to be able to fund this.
The priority for IGC resources should be the development of the SGP and sailplane racing web portal.
The SGP series needs to be placed into a commercial environment as soon as possible to develop financing opportunities.
There are no technical barriers to providing live race coverage at a very high standard, the new units on offer are a very big improvement on the older tracker units and some of the later innovations make the systems more user friendly and more reliable.
The three companies approached were in varying stages of development but they were all going down the same route of data transfer by satellite, one system also used GPRS but it was acknowledged that this did not work above 1500ft in most areas.
The transmission costs are only varied by the transmission rate and all the manufacturers could provide a range of options.
It is possible that the use of ADSB which may provide data at little or no cost, combined with a radio data transfer system could make a very big difference to the viability of a common tracker and presentation system. We will need to take some initiative on these possibilities because they offer little opportunity for commercial exploitation and are therefore not likely to be developed by any of the existing players.
Any system we adopt has to be managed and a large part of the cost is maintenance of the units, servers and software. As we have no infrastructure for managing any of these issues it became obvious that buying the equipment was likely to be a more complicated deal than renting.
The offer from Yellow brick was exceptional value and the new trackers units are a proper commercial piece of equipment and very good value at around 600euro. The web interface software is by far the best available and they once again proved to be very adaptable and easy to work with.
They are not interested to enter into a deal with rental units unless we can guarantee a minimum number of events but they are prepared to provide a full service should we buy the trackers. They are very keen to develop the “System in a Box” for us which would remove the need for expensive on site support and allow more flexible use of the units.
They are developing a very attractive system but are a way behind YB with the presentation and web interface software; their unit was 50% more than the price of YB and not as robust or well made.
The data transfer is by Globalstar which does not provide cover as comprehensive as Inmarsat and we have no information on its reliability.
They did not wish to operate without on site support and their quote for the Aussie SGP is 3000euro for one week!
They offer a good value rental system but were not prepared to make any reduction for a deal providing them with preferred status or even sole provider.
This is a new company based in Germany they have developed a compact tracker unit very similar to the old YB box. They have no 3d presentation package and are a long way from providing a web interface with the features we need. They are very innovative and will probably produce a good service and system in the coming years. The system was not yet mature enough for SGP use but is very suitable for WGC events. The quoted prices make it seem cheaper than the other systems but this is primarily due to a low rate of Data transmission.
Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, The World Air Sports Federation