Revolutionizing Remote Runner Safety: The Role of Satellite Connectivity

NEYOS with Skylo and Monogoto

Organizing an ultra-marathon requires almost as much training as running the race itself. They both require meticulous planning and execution. As the runners traverse challenging terrains and long distances, it becomes crucial for the organizers to track their movement and location to ensure runner safety and avoid instances of cheating.

Ultra-marathons take place in remote areas that often lack cellular coverage. Satellite connectivity plays a pivotal role as without it, the participants are only traceable at designated check-in locations that are often spaced miles apart. With the aid of satellite connectivity-enabled devices, organizers can track the runners’ every step throughout the race, regardless of the remoteness of the course. This real-time tracking allows the organizers to monitor the progress of each participant and ensure their health and safety.

Using geo-fencing capabilities, organizers can set virtual boundaries around the course. If a runner deviates from the course or steps outside the pre-determined boundaries, the organizers are immediately alerted and help can be dispatched. This feature is particularly useful in preventing runners from getting lost and ensuring they stay within the safe zone of the course.

The tracking device integrates anSOS button, enabling the runner to alert the organizers that they need assistance in emergency situations. This provides reassurance to the runner in distress and lets them know that assistance is imminent.

The Solution

NEYOS was founded following a life-threatening incident on a mountain in which its co-founder was unable to reach emergency services despite having GPS devices and rescue beacons. This highlighted the need for reliable tracking and safety measures for individuals in remote and underserved regions all throughout the journey - and not just at those crucial check-points.

The NEYOS team set out to develop solutions that enable its customers to track and ensure the safety of their customers, employees, and products, especially in remote areas often not covered by current connectivity systems. The device needed to be small and lightweight so as not to add to weight and slow them down. It also needed to be energy efficient with a long battery life as ultra-marathons can last between five hours and 24 hours.

The NEYOS Otrac, a tracking device and a subscription plan that offers 4G and satellite tracking was purpose built for ultra-marathon runners. The data transmitted over satellite and cellular networks is centralized on the NEYOS server, and a custom interface allows the supervisor to manage the fleet of deployed products. To support its technology and offer a comprehensive solution, NEYOS works closely with Monogoto, its overall network connectivity provider. Monogoto, in turn, partners with multiple cellular operators globally, and also with Skylo, who offers complementary satellite connectivity.

Skylo is a global satellite connectivity service provider built on 3GPP Release 17 standards. Skylo works with existings atellite operators and device makers to provide subscribers an anywhere, anytime connectivity solution that seamlessly roams between terrestrial and satellite networks.

Monogoto is a connectivity-as-a-service cloud provider for both public and private device connectivity. Its rapidly expanding service boosts Internet of Things innovation and growth by providing seamless, cost-effective device connectivity in a simplified and easily accessible way. Through a single Monogoto SIM card, Monogoto can offer cellular and satellite capabilities with a single invoice and subscriber relationship.

Solution Testing & Implementation

The NEYOS Otrac has been developed using Monogoto’s SIM card and employing Skylo’s NTN profile. Tests were conducted under real conditions in a truck, traveling through forests and countryside to test the connectivity and viability of the solution. Once the prototype was validated, the product was further developed based on specifications co-written with NEYOS prospective customers and further tested with these prospects all throughout Europe.

How the Solution Works

When the NEYOS Otrac is turned on, it automatically fixes its position using GNSS. Once connected to a GNSS constellation, it scans for existing cellular networks. If cellular is not available, the NEYOS Otrac switches to Skylo’s satellite network for coverage and continues scanning. This is exactly how cellular networks operate today.

The user’s position and other sensor information are stored in memory, grouped together in a message and sent at regular intervals, as determined by the provider. Users also have the option to send three pre-configured messages for an alert, assistance, or emergency help at unscheduled times.

Remote Running & Satellite

The advent of satellite connectivity has revolutionized organizations hosting events in and across remote locations such as ultra-marathons. Thanks to Skylo, tracking and ensuring the safety of participants is now affordable, operates on commercially available models, is not complicated, and simplifies everything. Organizers can now focus on providing an enriching experience for the participants, with the assurance of their safety and real-time location tracking.

The collaboration between NEYOS, Monogoto, and Skylo marks a significant stride towards making remote participant tracking accessible and efficient. As we reflect on these advancements, we look forward to a future where safety and innovation converge to offer an unparalleled experience.

Not Just For Ultra-Runners

NEYOS’ solution is designed for the following industries:

  • Sports event organizers: Ultra marathons, marathons, trail running, sailing, cycling.
  • Generic tracking: Tracking of high-value goods such as luxury items, cattle, pets, vehicles.
  • Lone workers: Forestry, delivery drivers, postal workers, construction.
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