Berne, 02 April 2014
A combination of extreme climbs, treacherous descents, alpine weather conditions and mountainous terrain test participants of the annual Patrouille des Glaciers race to the full. That's why it's crucial that organisers and participants can be reached and located at all times, be it on the course from Zermatt to Verbier or that between Arolla and Verbier. To ensure that each team's position can be determined with pinpoint accuracy, participants are given a small mobile telephone developed especially to withstand extreme weather conditions. This can also be used to make emergency calls. A simple tap on the emergency button not only connects a participant to the emergency services but also automatically sends out an SMS containing his or her exact GPS coordinates. This gives the teams even more security.
Swisscom is setting up two temporary networks along the 53 kilometre-long course of the Patrouille des Glaciers. A wireless network not only allows information on the participants to be transferred, but also enables the organisers to communicate with each other via mobile phone. Swisscom is working closely with the Patrouille des Glaciers command and the Armed Forces Command Support Organisation to set up the communication networks. After all, setting up a temporary network in the Valais Alps is a major challenge rather than merely routine, even for Switzerland's leading telecommunications provider. The high-alpine terrain makes transporting the equipment more difficult, while the low temperatures decrease functionality. Planning and preparing for the event took several months. The Swisscom specialists setting up the network will be assisted on site by about 20 military personnel. More than three tonnes of equipment – base stations, antennas, repeaters and other telecoms equipment – will be transported up into the mountains. During the race, 30 Swisscom specialists will also be monitoring the two mobile networks so that teams can be helped quickly if necessary.
The highest quality standards are also being demanded of the time-keeping and data recording for the race. Datasport, a Swisscom subsidiary with plenty of experience assisting sports events, will once again be providing its services. It will collate times and statistics in real-time and thus give organisers, participants, spectators and even people at home up-to-the-minute information about the current standings throughout the race. The Swisscom Patrouille des Glaciers app enables families, friends, skiing enthusiasts and fans of the participants to follow each of the stages over the five days of the event. The app provides information about the courses, standings and the current location of each team on the course. Swisscom has also improved the app, making it more user-friendly. For instance, maps can now also be viewed in landscape mode for greater legibility. The PDG can now also be followed on tablet computers. The app is now available for downloading from the App Store and at Google Play.
The Patrouille des Glaciers app does more than simply provide information about participating teams. App users who get into trouble can also call for help at the touch of a button. For this Swisscom is taking advantage of the services of a Swiss start-up called Uepaa. Uepaa has developed the first outdoor security app that enables users to call the emergency services wherever they may be.