April 26, 2007 Keep track of your kids on the slopes - or compete for top-speed snowboard bragging rights with a tiny and very affordable device in your pocket. Snowsports Interactive is perfecting their Flaik GPS-based safety, performance and asset management platform for ski resorts, and will launch the system in Australia and Canada with the start of each hemisphere's 2007 ski season.
"Real time personal performance analysis to those who want it," reads the Snowsports Interactive press release, "and safety to those who need it." The concept is simple enough - a small and unobtrusive GPS-based device you can strap to your arm that communicates with a central system at the ski resort, from which you can instantly determine the real-time location of your companions, and download a range of performance data about your ski session - including total distance, time, calories you've burned, which runs you've come down, how your times compare to others on the mountain - and top speed, which is bound to earn the quickest guys a few free drinks from their mates.
The safety aspect will be very appealing to families, explains CEO Steve Kenny: "You're a family going up skiing for a weekend, you simply rent out one of these devices each - they're the size of an iPod. Strap it onto your arm and away you go. Then if you're trying to find your kid at any point in the day, you simply flip open your cell phone, or go to a website, and locate your kid at that instant."
Initial testing at Australia's Mount Buller and Canada's Sun Peaks has proven very successful, and Kenny anticipates that very affordable pricing through existing resort rental shops will make it an exceptionally popular offering wherever the system is implemented. "At the moment we're looking at a hire cost of around 5 to 10 bucks a day, which makes it nearly the cheapest purchase on the mountain. You can hardly get a cup of coffee for that amount. It's a tiny cost as part of a $10,000 holiday, it makes it very affordable for a family to take out enough devices to keep track of everyone for the whole day."
The device can also be attached to portable assets such as snowmobiles to assist resorts in asset management.
Snowsports Interactive, and Australian company, are ready to roll out the technology in Oceania and North America this year, and will soon turn their attention to the European market. The company is seeking interested parties in ski resort management to discuss possible implementations. Enquiries are welcome.
Congratulations to Snowsports interactive on this highly practical, extremely affordable product. We hope we see the Flaik system becoming the norm rather than the exception at ski resorts around the world, and we look forward to seeing the technology pushed beyond the ski slopes into other outdoor group activities.