Home » Posts tagged 'WorldRun'

Tag Archives: WorldRun

Zum ersten Mal

After WFLWR_sw2

#NetAcad Team at the Wings For Life #worldrun

Viele von Ihnen haben sicher in den Medien vom Wings for Life World Run gelesen oder im Radio etwas davon gehört. Mit mehr als 50.000 angemeldeten Läufern und Läuferinnen, wovon 35.397 den Lauf auch beendet haben, ist das ein Riesenevent. Dies ist das allererste Mal, dass so eine grosse Anzahl von Menschen gleichzeitig (bei Tag und Nacht je nachdem woe Sie sind) etwas gemeinsam tun – Laufen für die, die es nicht können.

Ich hatte die Möglichkeit und das Vergnügen, eine 5-köpfiges Networking Academy Team ins Global Race Control Center in Spielberg einladen zu dürfen und Sie zu begleiten. Die Mission: wie sieht die Technologie aus, die so einen Event überhaupt erst möglich macht.  Mein Ziel ist es, die Begeisterung und Motivation ins Lernen zurück zu bringen. Auf meinem Weg dorthin, habe ich Real World Learning oder “Hinter die Kulissen schauen” als sehr wirksamen Weg dazu gefunden. Lernenden sind Mitten im Geschehen, sehen die Wirklichkeit hinter einer schillernden Jobbeschreibung und können die tatsächliche Arbeitswelt erfahren – als Input für die Entscheidung über Beruf und Karriere unabdingbar.

Jeder Beteiligte lernt unterschiedliches, von seiner oder Ihrer eigenen Perspektive aus gesehen. Das Technologiewissen, dass man sich aneignen kann, ist nur ein Teil. Der ebenso wichtige Aspekt oder sogar viel wichtigere Teil sind die sogenannten Soft Skills, die man nur praktisch lernen kann. Das Arbeiten in Teams, kommunizieren in einem globalen Umfeld, der Umgang mit Problemsituationen, Problemlösungsverhalten, die Anwendung von Wissen in einer komplexen Umgebung braucht strategisches Denken, Beobachtungsgabe, die notwendige Begeisterung für die Aufgabe und eine Gefühl für den Umgang mit Menschen.

Am Ende zählt die persönliche Lernkurve. Alle Teammitglieder haben diesen persönlichen Lernaspekt beschreiben können:

Wie cool es ist, eine besondere Nische der Netzwerktechnik zu entdecken von Nathan Boone

Wie man sich traut, im Team seine eigenen Grenzen zu überschreiten von Maximilian Lehrbaum

Wie faszinierend eine bewegliche Ziellinie ist von Felix Hartung

Wie es sich anfühlt, in einem von der Aufgabe begeistertem Team zu arbeiten von Kevin Van Ryckegem

Wie gegenseitiger Respekt der Schnellstart für Teamwork wurde von Ivica Vugrinec

Wie ein solches Rennen für einen erfahrenen Läufer trotzdem anders ist von Christoph Malin

Wir haben uns als Team, einer Aufgabe gestellt, die es in der Art  noch nicht gegeben hat. Alle  haben zum ersten Mal Blogartikel geschrieben, Twitter benützt, Videos gemacht und auf  Youtube veröffentlicht. Zum ersten Mal haben sich Studenten aus unterschiedlichen Schülen und Unis in Österreich getroffen, sich ausgetauscht und miteinander gearbeitet. Wir haben mit Networking Academy StudentInnen aus anderen Ländern kommuniziert, deren Fragen beantwortet und unsere Erfahrung vor Ort mit Ihnen über die Kanäle der Sozialen Medien geteilt.

Was ich gelernt habe? Als Lehrer und Mentor arbeite ich seit vielen Jahren mit StudentInnen Teams, die Ihre Idee in ein Produkt oder Dienstleistung am Markt umsetzen möchten. Jedes Semester und jedes Projektteam ist anders. Es ist anders, weil man immer mit unterschiedlichen Personen zu tun hat. Jede Person hat einen anderen Zugang zur Idee, sieht sie von einem unterschiedlichen Hintergund und bringt sich verschiedenartig in deren Entwicklung ein. Das ist der Faktor Mensch, der in der Technologiewelt noch zu wenig Beachtung erhält.  In diesem Kontext muss ich in Zukunft noch mehr in der Lage sein, einen Stop zu veranlassen, um Zeit für zumindest einen kurzen Moment des Nachdenkens und der Reflexion über Erfahrenes und Gelerntes zu haben, um Verstehen zu ermöglichen und die Integration von Wissen zu erlauben, um berufliche Kompetenzen und Fähigkeiten auszubilden. Timing ist alles – in unserer schnelllebigen Zeit; so auch in einem Rennen, in einem globalen Rennen, dass soviele Menschen mit ein und demselben Ziel zur gleichen Zeit zusammen gebracht hat.

Damit wurde Geschichte geschrieben. Das Rezept?

  • Eine Multi-Stakeholder Konzept
  • Ein gemeinsames Ziel
  • Keine Interessenskonflikte
  • 100% hinter der Sache stehen

Der Wings for Life World Run ist das erste  global ausgetragene Rennen, das in 33 Ländern und 34 Städten zur selben Zeit statt gefunden hat. Für mich ist dies der Beweis, dass wir gemeinsam, zur gleichen Zeit ein gemeinsames Ziel verfolgen können. Es ist der Beweis, dass die Technologie uns wirklich verbinden kann und ein kollektives Angehen einer Sache mit Herz und Hirn möglich ist.

Das ist nicht nur eine wundervolle, sondern auch sehr wichtige Erkenntnis für die Menschheit. 

Am 3. MAI 2015 findet der nächste WINGS FOR LIFE WORLD RUN statt. Sind Sie dabei?

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
IN A NUTSHELL
About the race – 50.000 people running in one race
About the idea – Interview with Sigurd Meiche Lesson in passion
About the timing – Interview with Alexander Knauff Timing is everything
About the network – Interview with Bas Sanders Technical challenges

About the Netacad Team :: Maximilian :: Felix :: Ivica :: Nathan :: Kevin
About their insights Only winners :: More and more :: Something special :: Enthusiasts :: Mutual respect
Running reporter Christoph

Netacad Worldrun Youtube channel
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

 

Incredible level of mutual respect

ivica_Colin_Jackson

I had an amazing opportunity to be part of a global reporting team in Spielberg, Austria with Nathan, Felix, Maxi and Kevin (on site team). I would like to share my view of the event itself and give some thoughts:

We met at Friday late afternoon and after the introduction, and quick tour on Global Race Control Center we had a first meeting. There were no fixed plans. Jutta just asked us: “Ok, guys how are we going to do this?”  With incredible level of mutual respect and team work ideas just started popping up and in an hour or so the plan for the next day morning was in place.  No complex introductions, no limits, no obligations – just pure enthusiasm, smart ideas and courage to get the job done. The “job” was only a framework – reporting from a global race control center – and could take shape and form in the way we found interesting.

The team was very different: Maxi is a cool student from Austria, Nathan and Kevin are student graduates from Belgium. Felix is very intelligent young guy that already have some working experience from military background …  . The point is: age difference, cultural difference, experience, background – and the team was functional after a few hours.

We never met before but just few hours later we were able to solve some problems together. We had to drive to our accommodation. We didn’t know where it was, there was a big rain but we put together our gadgets … some of the roads were closed so our navigation system lead us to village where our accommodation was arranged. We had another meeting that night and lot of technical details for the next day was considered and all ideas were listened and discussed.

I was confident that the Team was “fully functional”  just a few hours after we first met. That’s just teamwork!

How does teamwork work?

Recipe: a level of personal initiative, ideas and responsibility is expected and needed to do the job done. The job was “reporting” from the Global race control center. None of us were reporters, journalists, writers or (social) media experts but we quickly adapted, learned, created content, asked lot of questions, made some cool interviews and had a chance to peek into every corner of the global race control center.  Maxi had some experience in a media and gave as some tips. Felix brushed his organizational skills, Nathan and Kevin created some cool interviews from technical point of view.

My interests was the organizational aspects of the project, people and their enthusiasm and endurance that was necessary to create such a enormous project. And believe me Wings for Life World Run was the biggest thing that was ever put together. It took almost 7 years from idea to that final day – the day when the whole world was connected and run for those who can’t.  I am confident that next year we will have more that 100 000 athletes running. One of the track’s will most certainly be in Varazdin, Croatia – a small town in Croatia. I can guarantee you that. I’ve setup up a meeting with people that are also interested in doing that. We all need just a little inspiration.

Being part of such a project is an incredible experience, and some personal sacrifice is sometimes needed. You need to invest some time and yes maybe some money. We didn’t get paid for our “jobs”. We had some personal expenses … . All of that should be considered as an investment into personal growth and a small price for our own careers.

Cisco Networking Academies are not free, the books are not free, the certificate exams are also not free. But this is no high school or college any more. This is your professional life  and careers starting to evolve.

Are you ready to achieve great things? Get involved! On May 3th 2015 – your lives could change.

Ivica Vugrinec

Cisco Networking Academy student and alumni from Croatia

#NetAcad Team at the Wings For Life #worldrun

Enthusiast about their work

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA#NetAcad taking part in the Wingsforlifeworldrun #worldrun

I am Kevin, I was one of the five people of the Cisco Networking Academy Team, who attended the Wings For Life World Run event, at the Global Race Control Centre in Spielberg, where I was able to inspect the technology used for this event.

When I received the e-mail asking me to attend this event, I saw the event was special. I had never heard of a run which used this concept of catcher-cars. I knew it was a special event where I needed to take part of. It was a really interesting event and I will tell you exactly why.

The event was international. The event was held in 33 countries, and I was able to be right in the Global Race Control Center. Every country was connected to the Global Race Control Center. I was able to interview important people who made the project a reality and gain more knowledge about how such big scale events are organized.

I was in a team of 5 people. There was me, my Belgian classmate Nathan, Felix and Maximilian from Austria and Ivica from Croatia. It was an international team. I found that everybody had a lot of interesting things to tell to each other. I learned new things from the experiences of my teammates. We all were interested in different parts of the project, which was great. This way, we had more insight on the project.

My focus was mainly on the technology used by the timing team (GPS positioning and data sending) and the RFID system used. Everybody took the time to show us how they made everything and tell us how everything works behind the scenes. They were all so enthusiast about their work. Everybody used 200% of their focus in order to be able to realize this big project. They managed to find team members who are all excited about the project, this is what I found really inspiring. In the end, it really was a success and it will be even better next year.

I learned that it is truly possible to gather team members who are all so excited about the project. It was a beautiful thing to see. It was very interesting to see how they dealt with problems. I learned that when you work in such a big scale event, everybody knows there will be a problem somewhere, but they do not know where. There have to be measures already in place in order to prevent such a problems. When the event is so big though, it is very hard to implement prevention measures everywhere. Handling the problems in a calm and efficient way is very important. Everybody has to know what to do in a specific situation. Every possible problem has to be considered before the start of the event.

I am really happy to have been able to attend this event and I would love to attend it again next year!

WfL_WR_3D_pos_web
Join in on 3rd May 2015

There are only winners

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA#NetAcad Team at Wings for Life #worldrun

I am Felix and I was one of five academy students that reported from the Wings For Life World Run Race Control Center on 4th of May 2014.

We have found out a lot about the event and about the technical background that was required. All of the people had a real passion for the event and did everything to do their job well. They were very courteous to us and showed and explained all the technical details. We walked around – from the data center to the satellite antennas, back to the truck and to the organization center. Everyone was really excited because it was the first time of such a worldwide live event to happen.

I got to know some new friends and hope that we again will all participate in the event next year.

Thank you very much Jutta, Cisco, Tiani & Wings for Life for giving us this opportunity to be part of this huge event.

The whole event was a great success and is still in my head.
The idea that the finishing line comes from behind is still fascinating and innovative. Running for those who can’t – there are only winners =)

Something special

This is the feedback from Maximilian Lehrbaum thank you, Maxi. It was great to see how you integrated into the team as the youngest member. I found it especially courageous that you conquered your fear to be on a public video. Well done ! I am looking forward to collaborating with you in the future.

WfL_WR_3D_pos_webI really enjoyed this weekend at the Global Race Control. It was the first time for me meeting other student, which are part of Cisco Networking Academy, I never knew, that it is such a great community.

I think you can you learn much more, if you see the technology in use, that learning it in theory. Before I was a little bit afraid, because I never made anything public and I never met other networking people outside our school, but after this event I can say, that there is not really a big difference between each of us, because we all are interested in technology and networking.

The people were so nice and gentle and always tried to help us and answer our question. I think it was something special, because although they were all stressed and nervous they took time to answer us or ask us if we still have a question or need anything. Maybe next time we should keep more contact to the people who can help us making everything more public and publish it all over the world.

The best for me was that Alex from the timing team always came to us and asked if we need support and that Sigi took the time to tell us how this all started with an idea many years ago.

What I learned was that you can never avoid problems, you can only try to make them as improbable as possible, and that with a wider distribution more problems will come.

I am happy with the choice of my profession and this event confirmed this for me.

… it became more and more interesting

#NetAcad taking part in the Wingsforlifeworldrun #worldrun

WfL_WR_3D_pos_webI am Nathan, I was one of the five persons of the Cisco Network Academy team who reported from the Wings For Life World Control Center in Spielberg. I blogged, twittered and facebooked about all the technical things that were happening behind the scenes.

When I got the first e-mail from Dominik Engel who is my coordinator in the Fachhochschule in Salzburg, I had no idea what exactly I would need to do for the Cisco Networking Academy at the Wings for Life World Run Global Control Center. But after some research on this event, I knew it would be really great to participate. I immediately answered him that I was interested in participating. When he brought me in contact with Jutta Jerlich from Cisco, she explained me what exactly our tasks were at the event and it became more and more interesting.

Our Cisco NetAcad team consisted of people from all over the world, me and Kevin are from Belgium, Felix and Maximilian are from Austria and Ivica is from Croatia. Me, Kevin and Maximilian are students, Felix and Ivica are already working. So we had people from different backgrounds and different countries in our team. This was exciting because everyone had another point of view and another way of working.

It was a great experience for us to be part of this event because we had 3 perspectives over this whole event. We were following the Livestream on our computer, we were also taking interviews of the people who made this event possible and our office was in the middle of the Global Race Control Center, so we could see how the professionals reacted to problems and how they solved them.

What I noticed about the crew working at the Global Race Control Center is their motivation and commitment to make this event successful. We could ask any question to anyone, they always answered our questions. I learned a lot during this event.

Participating in this event meant a lot to me. I am more motivated to keep on learning about networks and everything around this subject. It was very interesting to talk with the people who made the network for the event.

WP_20140503_017_klIt is a big difference designing and configuring a network for an event than making a network for a company. When you design the network of a company, you can first investigate the needs of the company, and you are almost sure that while you are implementing your network, you will have enough devices,  switchports, cables, etc. But if you make a network for an event, this is all different. You will need to rely on the meetings you had with the organization to know what is all needed for the event. But when you get to the event place, everything can change. This is what happened at the Global Race Control Center. They were working on designing the network for one week. But when they got at the event, they needed extra switchports and extra devices, so they worked for 2 more days at the event to meet all needs.

The way we let the world know about our findings was also really interesting, I learned how to make good blog posts and how to twitter. Before this event I had never twittered. The communication with the Cisco Network Academy was fluently and it was great that they helped us sharing all our findings on their global Facebook and twitter page. To notice that the things that me and my teammates wrote got shared all over the internet was really special.

It was great being a part of this big event. It gave an indescribable feeling when we were in the room with the staff and saw on the 34 screens that all the participants all over the world starting running at the same time. You could feel the joy and the happiness in the air.

Next year the Wings for Live World Run will be organized again and it would be great to participate again.

Running NetAcad Reporter

Christoph Malin
#NetAcad taking part in the Wings For Life  #worldrun

After several years in the running business I can say that it was one of the greatest running event I have ever participated in. It is a special feeling when you know that thousands of people start in more than 30 different countries at the same time. Cisco and Tiani Spirit was not only a sponsor of the event, there were also several employees from Cisco Austria running.

I got the chance to run for Cisco through the Cisco Top Talent Club. I am convinced that thousands got further than they ever thought to be able to run, because the race is finished when a ‘Catcher Car‘ passes you. I’m very grateful that I could run for Cisco Austria as part of the Top Talent Club. I hope that next time several guys will join me.

Here are the results and some impressions from St. Pölten:

A part of the Cisco Austria TeamImpression from start area

Panorama of the start areaMe after 10 km

Lesson in Passion

@CiscoNetAcad at Wingsforlifeworldrun #worldrun

Interview with Sigurd Meiche

Wandertag-FeuerHow did it all start?

We’re constantly looking for new ways to engage with consumers. So new ideas are always on my mind. During waiting for a plane connection n Moscow airport, I talked about doing something with running with a friend. We didn’t want to copy anything existing. Our strength is that we have knowledge about organizing runs in Austria, and our colleagues around the globe know how to organize events in their countries. The main idea was:  Doing a run in different places of the world at the same time.

When I came back home, I typed some notes in my office about this idea. Unfortunately my energetic presentation did not help and the idea was not adopted further.

Years later, we were looking for how we can raise awareness on a global scale for the Wings for Life Foundation. That is when my idea had it’s come back. We wanted to create an event that has a meaning, that engages as many people as possible. We wanted to create an asset for people, rather than just asking for money as a charity. Doing something together for a cause is much more than a charity.

Running is the biggest sport, everybody runs. It’s the most simple form of movement everyone can do. It connects us all.

The great thing about this is also: We know where we are now, where we start but we don’t know where we end up.

How did you get the project running?

Bringing everybody to one table to talk about the idea. This is the best thing you can do to get the project running.

Why do the races have to start at the same time?

That the races start at the same time is the most important part of this project. It makes this unique. We wanted to create something that we can actually do together at the same point in time. This is the uniqueness of the project – we can all do something together at the same time.
The global winner will have been better than more than 50 000 people.

Do you think it’s fair that people run in different weather and time conditions?

During the preparation for this I learned that the best condition for each runner is different because the biorhythm of everybody is different. In India it is 40°C hot, but the people there are more used to this. The beauty in this race is that you can really choose where you would like to run. Early in the morning, in cold or hot weather. This is what professional runners do and the runners had a lot of runner-specific questions.

Another beauty of this event is that winning does not only depend on your own performance but also on the performance of others.

Do you expect more runs in the future?

Yes, in the future we expect many more runs. We would like to have more runs so that more people can easily come to a run instead of having to travel far to take part in a run.

Come and join us on May 3rd, 2015 !

Thank you, Sigrund for the time to speak to us and your passionate
explanation on how the Wings for Life World Run was created.

 

Technical challenges Wings for Life World Run 2014

Felix and Nathan from #netacad Team at #worldrun

How does the Wings for Life World Run team masters all the technical challenges regarding such a huge event?

Global Race Control Center - Datacenter Setup

Global Race Control Center – Datacenter

Basically all the competing countries use a satellite up-link where they send one HD video stream from all over the world to Spielberg, Austria. So there are a lot of antennas outside the Wings for Life World Run Control Center.

All those antennas are connected with a fiber channel link to the main datacenter. The datacenter is set up in a box for a racing car which looks like the picture on the right side. In the background you can see the network and system administrators sitting and observing/managing the network. On the right side are the racks that contain a big part of the network and storage used for all the video streams.

Let’s take a closer look at the datacenter setup.

W4Life Run Datacenter closer look

Global Race Control Center – Datacenter view

In the first rack there are all the administration / control parts of the setup.

As you can see the second rack, it contains a lot of the networking devices and also the storage arrays.

The third rack contains a lot of video calculation power and the fourth rack has a lot of ASIC components which are decoding the incoming HD video streams and storing them onto the storage arrays.

W4Life Run - Datacenter 7,4 km of copper cable

Global  Race Control Center – 7.4 km of copper cable

@Network Redundancy – The whole setup is redundant – which means the have two 500 MBit/s  Synchronous Internet connection. One connection leaves the building in the opposite direction of the other internet connection. The Internet Connection is used for social media, webpages, small clips and media purposes. The main TV-Stream is NOT transferred via this connection.

There is 7,4 km of copper cable used at the Global Race Control Center and there are over 700 switchports used for copper/fiber.

When we take a look behind the datacenter picture above we have this view as seen on the picture on the right side.

WFL - Data Center satellite antenna park

Data Center satellite antenna park

@34 HD Streams – the satellite antennas terminate here in the datacenter and the video is decoded directly by hardware ASIC components in the fourth rack and then transmitted to the storage arrays. The streams are MPEG encoded and use a strong compression, but they have almost no quality loss. The traffic produced is about 15Mbit/s per stream, so we estimate that the permanent traffic on the satellite connections is about 550 MBit/s incoming traffic. The stream is uncompressed and results in about 50MBit/s per video stream hence 220 MByte/s.

@Storage – there are 8 x 50 TB storage arrays. The overall storage is 400 TB only for storing the 34 HD Video streams from all over the world and cutting them locally to produce small clips. The storage arrays are redundantly connected to the system.

@Video Cutting Performance – There are several servers. We received the information that the severs have an Intel 8 x 3.6 GHz processor and about 48GB RAM. With this data and considering Hyper-threading we estimate an overall x86_64 CPU speed of 700 GHz and 600 GB RAM. Those servers are used for cutting together the streams in real time and also offline.

@Video Cutting Workstations – the video cutting of all those streams is performed via a thin-client like architecture. The workstations used for that are connected via 1 GBit/s fiber to the datacenter. There are several servers used to calculate and encode all those streams.

@Backup – They do not host a second datacenter like this, but all the streams have a decentralized  backup in every country. There is enough redundancy in this setup.

@Connection lost?

What happens when the connection to a certain country or car is lost? There is a local storage in every car which stores all the recorded video. When the transmission stops for some reason and is later resumed, the previous videos won’t be sent to the datacenter – only the current live stream. The other videos can be used after the event when transferred from the local storage. It’s the same with the video stream that is uploaded from the country to the satellite. The technology used to transmit the HD streams locally is Digital Video Broadcasting – DVB. There is a minimum of 6-8 hops before you can see the video at home.

The things we found out only describe the setup in the datacenter. There is also a huge truck where the live-stream director/producer is sitting. They have local video calculation power but they also rely on the storage in the datacenter.

For further questions, write us an e-mail to netacad.worldrun@gmail.com

Timing is everything

#netacad Team at #worldrun

Interview with Alexander Knauff, network administrator for the timing group.

Image-edited-ivica

www.datacapo.com
www.chronotrack.com

Q: How do you synchronize the time between all the countries and all the cars?
A: It’s GPS system, we need satellites all over the world, they use UTC. (one common time) It’s the same as every time, every server. The time is synchronized over GPS. There are two GPS mice, fixed on the roof of the cars, two for redundancy.

DSC01964 DSC01965

Q: How is the car connected to the network?
A: We have laptops with linux, these connect using two 3G sticks (one with Austrian provider and one with local provider) and if both fail, there are satellite modems for fallback. They are Rockblock modems for satellite connections. The Rockblock costs about $ 300. The modem itself is not that expensive, but the data to send is the more expensive part. The data connection is not that fast. The data connection is connected to Amazon cloud servers.

DSC01961 DSC01963

Q: Why are there trucks with enormous satellite antennas? How can this small box do the same?
A: That is a good question, we can not answer. We are happy to have it. It’s very expensive and we pay per character.

Q: How do you achieve redundancy?
A: We use a custom linux operating system which has been created for only this purpose. It has an easy to use graphical interface.

Q: How is the data transmitted?
A: The data will be stored locally and also sent to the cloud servers periodically. If there is no connection, there are 2 fallback servers in the Global Race Control Centre. Here we have a synchronous connection of 100 mbits.

Q: Why use Amazon cloud?
A: We have been using Amazon cloud for 3 years now. We didn’t have any downtime at all. 4 years ago, there was a downtime though, this was because of a connection mistake. We use Amazon cloud’s load balancer. The Amazon cloud does not have a fixed address, they use dynamic DNS systems.

Q: How long have you been planning this setup or event?
A: We started the planning of it 2 years ago. The planning of the networking and programming has been put to use 1 year ago.

Q: Were there any problems with your connections?
A: Some provider blocked the necessary ports and didn’t want to open the ports. The only solution was to switch to another provider.

Q: What do you use to keep the position of the leading bikers?
A: We use a free app called Backitude. Everybody has the same mobile phone, set up in the same way. It sends the GPS location of the leading bikers every 10 seconds and sends it as an HTTP POST. The next time they get a connection they send their current location. Not only the bikers use this system, the catching cars have it too.

Q: What does every country have?
A: There are 31 countries, every country has three mobile phones, one biker for leading women and one biker for leading men and 2 catch-up cars. If there is a wheelchair race, there is a third catching car.

Q: Does every mobile phone have the same configuration?
A: No, there is always a little difference. There is a part to recognize if the mobile phone is for the biker following the leading man, the biker following the leading woman or a car. This is just for tracking purposes on their system.

Q: How is it possible to recognise the leader?
A: Always after some time we call the different bikers to identify the leader. The biker has a bluetooth headset to send in the information. In some countries, we use walkie talkies to make local communication and then informing the Global Race Control Centre because it is not allowed to use a phone while driving a bike.

Q: Does the catcher car have a camera?
A: No, there is live stream from the media teams only. The catcher car equipment is solely used for timing. So many TV cars will be there. The media will be on the catcher car lane

Q: What is a BIB number?
A: The BIB number is the starting number to identify a runner. We use RFID tags in order to keep track of the identity of runners.

An Interview with John Kelsey, the COO of Chronotrack, the company behind the RFID technology.

Q: How does the car communicate with the Global Racing Control Centre?
A: They use a laptop with a customized linux operating system. It is called OBU (On-board Unit)  internally. They have an easy to use graphical interface. They have a second battery. As backup there is also an AC/DC converter to charge the OBU. The OBUs send small data packages over the network. It contains OBU-id, BIB-id (runners wordwide unique number), GPS-time (UTC timestamp) and GPS coordinates, its about 40 characters. Every time a runner is caught by the catcher car, a package is created and if there is a connection, then all the data is sent.

DSC01966

Q: How do you make sure the driver knows the OBU is okay while driving?
A: The OBU beeps every 3 minutes to say, hey I’m here. This can not be muted.

Q: How many OBUs do you have per car?
A: One OBU per car.

Q: Why is it not possible to cheat?
A: There are regular checks on the track.

Q: Was it difficult to find appropriate running tracks?
A: Yes, we try to have only 1 direction and no loops within the running track, but sometimes this was not possible, because of highways. There was also a problem with streets smaller than 4 meters. In India the streets are sometimes 8-20 meters, this is too big, because the sensor can only detect perfectly up to 6 meters. The car needs 2 meters space. Ideally the runners have 6 meters of space.

DSC01979 DSC01980

These RFID scanning boxes have a modem and GPS integrated but they are heavy and do not have battery power. There aresmall ones that have about 10 hours and the big ones have 8 hours.Every car has an AC/DC for charging.

Q: When do you start preparing the cars, the day of the run?
A: They have to start 2 hours before the race for the registration of satellites and etc.. They have to work through a checklist in order to get everything OK.

Q: How many people are in a catcher car?
A: In every car there is a driver, the timer with the laptop and a third person with telephone.

Q: How is the functionality of the cars checked?
A: The country operators of the Global Race Control Center can see if everything of the cars is all right, with green status lights.

Q: Like a dashboard?
A: Yes, we have interfaces for every OBU connected. So we can see which OBUs are online and if we have any problems we are alerted with a red light on a dashboard.

Q: Is there always a network connection?
A: No, sometimes we know the cars have no connections to the network, because they know that in some parts there is no GPS connection, but as soon as they have a connections again, it is okay because they don’t need data every minute. They save the data locally too.

Q: Was there any problem with privacy?
A: No, because there is nothing private collected. If you see the BIB number as something private, then yes, but the athletes agree to this with registration.

Q: How big is your team in the Global Racing Control Centre?
A: The main team has about 10 people, including me. About 30 people from datacapo. But timers all around the world work for us, because it’s impossible to send so many people all around the world.

Q: Are there a lot of students working on this project too?
A: Yes, a lot of students were hired.


Chronotrack MiniTrack (RFID Sensor for cars) User Manual:

http://www.eqtiming.no/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/MiniTrack_UserManual_v1.61.pdf

Rockblock Rugged Sattellite transmitter:

https://rockblock.rock7mobile.com/shop-product-detail.php?productId=4

 

%d bloggers like this: