Software specialists on the right track

Track the Race logo

From their base in A Coruña, a coastal city in Galicia, perched on the tip of northwest Spain, the young and dynamic team of developers at Trileuco Solutions offer individually crafted software solutions. Self-confessed lovers of technology, even in their own time, they pride themselves on their ability to generate custom-built applications for the web, mobile devices and to bring to life the innovative ideas that clients have but just don’t know how to bring to market.

The company has been prolific in generating solutions that not only meet their clients’ specifications on functionality but are also easy to use, modern and well designed. Their aim is, having identified the best-fit solution, to rapidly produce a prototype for the client to test. Thereafter, the project moves forward as a partnership to reach an end result which exactly meets and perfectly satisfies the client’s objectives.

The Trileuco development crew are fully conversant with a wide range of programming tools, languages and systems but, although they may spend a substantial amount of desk-time honing applications and refining code, they are not afraid to venture beyond their keyboards. Indeed, it was a passion for sport and the outdoors that gave rise to one of their game changing in-house creations, the events platform Tracktherace.

Inspiration off the beaten track

Adventure racing is probably just as far from a cosy workspace as you can get but it is in this world of extreme conditions and ultimate physical endurance that the team from Trileuco get away from it all – literally. 

The Adventure Racing World Series (ARWS) is the ultimate competition in this sport. During the event, teams compete to qualify around the world hoping to gain entry to the annual world championship. It is an extreme team sport encompassing several disciplines, which include navigation, running / hiking, canoe paddling and cycling along with several other endurance tests. Each team of 4 members is mixed and must stay together throughout the competition carrying the supplies they will need. Races are run over courses of five to seven hundred kilometres divided into sections and last from 3 to 8 days on average. 

Tracking the races

Teams must navigate their way between checkpoints along the routes, finding the best and fastest way to negotiate the terrain in between, there is no marked course in Adventure Racing. There is also hardly any sleep. The course as a whole is a secret and each stage is revealed as the race unfolds, teams are not told beforehand what challenge awaits at the next stage and must wait until they arrive at the checkpoint to discover what comes next. Teams must use their combined skills and strengths, not only to meet the physical demands and challenges but also to be able to help one another through extreme fatigue, disorientation, physical pain, hunger, cold and fear.

From severe hardship to triumph and elation, as the creators of Tracktherace explain, “This is how we experience real adventure and how we disconnect from the world. People call us crazy but it is here, in the middle of this madness that you find the motivation to keep going through these unforgettable adventures. There are unique moments when, after maybe two days of running and without even knowing how, you open your eyes and suddenly you are made aware of the sheer beauty that only nature can offer: a sunrise in a hidden, inaccessible valley or night closing around you in the middle of the sea. Discovering the extent of your body’s reserves and its capacity for endurance, joy and tears of happiness, despite the suffering – all in some of the most spectacular settings”.

Tracking the race over mixed terrain

Although in the company of their team members throughout the race, participants are completely isolated from support crews, organisers, family and friends once the race begins, as no phones or tracking devices are permitted, making contact only at a few transition points along the hundreds of kilometres of trail. “Before we developed Tracktherace, the experience could only be shared by the competitors but now by using this kind of application, information from the teams can be shared with the public as the race unfolds”, Marcos Muíño of the Tracktherace team comments.

Keeping track 

Their direct experience and personal involvement in adventure sport meant that the developers at Trileuco Solutions could create a platform which would perfectly support and improve the administration and monitoring of such events. “As we were ourselves competitors in this discipline we immediately knew which were the important variables to consider and which would be the real requirements for a system designed to deliver support and monitoring for these races, we wanted a system which would set a global standard for safety, control and dissemination of adventure sport events”, explains Marcos, “It took us two and a half years to perfect it, and we keep on evolving it with new needs we detect from our customers”.

Tracktherace is a platform behind a website which displays all the relevant event information. This includes a map of the course, participants’ details and information about the race as well as sponsor messages, multimedia information and links to social media. In the lead up to the event, the platform helps manage registrations, recording details of participants and taking payments online.

In order to be able to follow the participants on the day of the race, each team or each competitor will carry a small GPS tracking device which gives another dimension to the Tracktherace facility. Although the tracking devices do not provide any information to the competitors, they do have a button which can be used in an emergency to summon help.

Tracker size comparison

Live data from the Tracktherace platform shows each competitor’s position continuously, with a map overlay as the race develops. Other pertinent details can be added to indicate the start and finish, position of checkpoints, excluded areas etc. The online updating facility means that organisers and supporters can follow the action in real time on any device web browser. The ability to locate participants at all times also, obviously, improves security and means emergency services can quickly localise any casualties, even in isolated areas. 

Tracking map

The data handling by the platform provides more information than just the plotting of positions on a map. The location information which updates automatically without the need for page refreshing includes, detailed information about the competitor or team, their average speed, number of checkpoints visited, bonuses incurred, time spent at rest, at transition points and on the move etc. This information means that an up-to-the-minute representation of the race and ranking of competitors is available to spectators and organisers alike, however far from the action they may be.

Post-race analysis is another useful tool provided by the Tracktherace platform. Data stored over the course of the event is available for analysis once the event has concluded. Competitors can look back at their performance and evaluate the experience. Lessons learnt will provide a basis for strategic planning prior to the next event. While organisers can use the same information to look back at the unfolding event, generate information for the press and identify areas which they may wish to improve on in subsequent races.

Podsystem’s multi-network M2M Data SIM never loses track

A critical aspect of all participants’ devices is that they maintain a network connection wherever they may be located. “One of the main reasons why organisers implement our system is so that they have the security of knowing the participants’ whereabouts at all times”, explained Marcos Muiño, joint founder of Trileuco Solutions, adventure racer and developer of Tracktherace.

The best signal, multi-network M2M Data SIM developed by PodsystemM2M offers access to multiple networks in each country and if the signal is lost, the SIM automatically swaps to a different network ensuring maximum coverage and dependability. “The very nature of adventure sport means that it takes place in remote and rugged terrain, areas where network coverage is notoriously patchy. Although the device will store data during downtimes, these moments mean that the competitor is invisible to organisers and their location is unknown.”, commented Marcos.

“With our previous network provider”, he adds, “the GPS trackers could only connect to their own network, which meant that there were frequent gaps in coverage. With Podsystem’s data SIMs however, it is possible to switch between networks, meaning that total network unavailability is reduced to an absolute minimum. This was one of the main reasons that we switched to using Podsystem’s services.”

Global network coverage means the platform stays on track

The meticulous effort put into developing Tracktherace has paid off and interest in the tracking system has expanded beyond Spain, particularly as the developers are able to supply services beyond borders, when partnered with the PodsystemM2M data SIM card.

The ever-increasing range of networks available through Podsystem’s multinetwork SIM card means that coverage is assured wherever in the world devices are active and each Podsystem SIM card comes pre-programmed and ready for multinetwork connectivity. 

The data SIM card offers access to multiple networks globally on one flat rate. This was a deciding factor in Tracktherace’s choice of SIM card provider, “The fact that we can avoid extra roaming costs when Tracktherace is used outside Spain influenced our decision”, says Marcos Muiño, “We can currently use our devices anywhere in Europe”. Should they be required, modifications to the functionality of the card can be made Over the Air (OTA) eliminating the need for recalling devices and manual changeovers which means there are no limits to the scope of the Tracktherace devices with the potential for global network connectivity. 

Professional synergy helps developers keep track of customer needs 

At Podsystem the relationship with each customer is a long term undertaking, where emphasis is placed on a close working partnership. Our team of M2M experts can advise the client on every aspect of their M2M solution. Collaboration throughout development of a connectivity solution delivers a sophisticated product that is ready to use, freeing time for the customer to focus on their own objectives.

Teamwork and overcoming challenges is something the Tracktherace team feel gives them an added edge, “We have discovered this through our hobby and thanks to this we feel able to better understand and identify with our clients’ needs. We can understand their doubts and concerns and together we try to find a better solution to their problems”

The ongoing endeavour to perfect a versatile and efficient platform together with the integration of Podsystem M2M multinetwork data SIM cards into the Tracktherace system has given rise to a world class product. It has already successfully been used to monitor cycle races, long-distance running, multidisciplinary sports, adventure races, motorbike rallies and canoeing competitions but these are not its only applications. Marcos Muíño is keen to point out that their solution can be implemented in many activity-driven situations, “Extreme hiking trails, maritime contests and long distance equestrian sporting events among others, are all areas in which our product works perfectly”, he states.

The stamina to maintain a perfect track record 

“Combining your passion and your work generates a very positive work flow and drives the desire for constant improvement, we strive to be leaders in our sector”, concludes Marcos, “At Tracktherace we know that sport is not just entertainment but a fundamental facet of being human. It cultivates competitiveness, intense preparation, the concepts of triumph and fulfilment, essential attributes for a society which aims to dominate the global rhythm”.

The global rhythm is about connectivity; it is the very heart of evolving technology. Podsystem’s dedication and commitment to a future ready, global multi-network connectivity solution gives its customers the power to realise their dreams and deliver superior, state-of-the-art devices.