Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Kerlink deploys LoRaWan to track desert horse race

Steve Rogerson
September 11, 2018

Demonstrating the flexibility of LoRa technology to bring the benefits of the IoT to outdoor settings, French firms Kerlink and Tech4Race, a sports-event tracking company, have deployed a LoRaWan at an endurance horse-riding event in the Abu Dhabi desert.
The customised small private network for the Al Ain Endurance Cup is a ground-based geolocation system that includes Kerlink Wirnet stations for access to a LoRa IoT network, LoRa-enabled trackers developed by Tech4Race and worn by contestants, and a web interface that allows event organisers to track them through the course. The web interface also allows spectators to follow the race on their smartphones, including the location and status of specific runners.
LoRa technology, which operates on unlicensed ISM bands, makes these services possible, securely and without data interference from other networks. In addition, the narrowband technology optimises small data-rate transmissions, which typically extend battery life of devices for five to ten years.
With the Tech4Race system, event organisers simultaneously achieve different complementary objectives:

  1. Precise positioning enabled by the device assures that participants stay on the official route.
  2. Volunteers and medical and security teams can be coordinated to intervene in case of an emergency and to ensure the quality of the event.
  3. Spectators can follow participants’ progress in real time and won’t miss a checkpoint or convenient opportunity to encourage their favourite athletes.
“The innovation of Tech4Race’s solution, which can be installed at competitive events ranging from golf tournaments, riding and running events and swim meets in virtually any location, is exemplified by the miniaturisation of the trackers, the flexible business model that enables small private networks designed for unique events and the overall reliability,” said Stéphane Dejean, Kerlink’s CMO.
Fabien Letort, Tech4Race cofounder, added: “In deployments where a GSM-based solution could be limited by white zones and network interference, the LoRa-based tracking system offers superior robustness and reliability. Kerlink helps us deliver this service by providing an agile, easy-to-deploy and to use architecture that fits perfectly with our need for quick-and-easy integration.”
Kerlink provides end-to-end networking for the IoT, serving telecom operators, businesses and public authorities worldwide. More than 100,000 Kerlink installations have been deployed in more than 69 countries. In 2017, Kerlink Group generated revenues of nearly €25m. Since 2013, it has posted average annual growth of more than 62 per cent.
Tech4Race offers real-time tracking for outdoor sports events, based on the geolocation of all participants. Designed for outdoor sports, it consists of a GPS tracker coupled with a web interface tracking the race. The company, created in 2016, has already equipped more than 2100 participants on endurance events, triathlons and running.