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Industrially Hardened Time Keeping

Utilizing IIoT technology for Boat Racing

Today, a wide variety of industries with outdoor OT assets require technology that can connect the assets to a modern communication network. Depending on the application, the solution is not always as simple as slapping on a cellular or standard WiFi solution. For one, many industries have assets located in remote locations where cellular coverage is limited and long range communication is required. The OT network must also be highly secure and have the ability to avoid interference. Additionally, any outdoor communication network is subject to weather and natural elements. The best hope for maintaining reliable, secure, real-time connectivity is with a solution that is ruggedized, industrially hardened and proven to work in the most extreme environments.

Recently we talked about wireless communication solutions used in Antarctica, that are performing under some of the most extreme conditions in the planet. These Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS)-based technologies are built to last and perform with a secure connection. Did you know that the same solutions have also made their way into the sport of boat racing?

When November rolls around each year, rowing enthusiasts gather in Chatanooga, Tenn. For the Head of the Hooch race. A total length of 5,000 meters, it is one of the largest and fastest growing regattas in the U.S. Each year more than 2,000 boats race over the course of two days.  Participants come in from all over the U.S. and the event has hosted international teams from Canada, Germany, Sweden and Australia.

Real-Time Accuracy

The race is organized by the Atlanta Rowing Club. In the early days, organizers relied upon stopwatches for keeping time. As the race grew and more boats participated, the manual method of time keeping was no longer feasible. Organizers needed a time keeping solution with a link strong enough to deliver race results in real-time in any weather condition. Organizers selected an industrially hardened wireless communication solution and used it in conjunction with a timing system built for downhill skiing races. The system offers precise timing accuracy – down to 1/10th second for each boat.

The wireless solution uses FHSS technology that is typically used in utility-scale Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications. These types of solutions have been used for monitoring and control of outdoor assets in the utility industries for decades and have proven to ensure accurate, real-time connectivity in harsh, remote locations. Not only is the “hopping” nature of FHSS inherently secure, but there are solutions with AES-encryption and other advanced security features to further secure the network. The solutions also offer a range of 60 miles Line-of-Site (LOS), and have proven to be ideal for the Head of the Hooch race. Over the years, races have been conducted in cold, rainy, cloudy and/or windy weather, and the solution has reliably performed in all whether conditions present during the race.

Rugged, industrially hardened communication solutions that are well known in the oil/gas and utilities markets – aren’t always the initial choice for connecting non-industrial outdoor networks. In some cases, decision makers in these markets may simply be unfamiliar with the benefits of FHSS. What they need to know is that FHSS solutions have been trusted for years to provide long-range, real-time connectivity, and they are often ideal for a variety of use cases outside of industrial markets.

Read the full Head of the Hooch case study here: http://www.freewave.com/case-studies/head-of-the-hooch/

More Stories By Scott Allen

Scott is an executive leader with more than 25 years of experience in product lifecycle management, product marketing, business development, and technology deployment. He offers a unique blend of start-up aggressiveness and established company executive leadership, with expertise in product delivery, demand generation, and global market expansion. As CMO of FreeWave, Scott is responsible for product life cycle/management, GTM execution, demand generation, and brand creation/expansion strategies.

Prior to joining FreeWave, Scott held executive management positions at Fluke Networks (a Danaher Company), Network Associates (McAfee), and several start-ups including Mazu Networks and NEXVU Business Solutions. Scott earned his BA in Computer Information Systems from Weber University.

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