Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Sigfox tracks Grand Raid runners

Steve Rogerson
October 23, 2019

Sigfox made its 0G network available for Capturs trackers throughout last week’s Grand Raid race in Reunion Island. This enabled real-time tracking of runners on the SFR Grand Raid web site.
The 51 best runners in the Grand Raid, all races combined, have been equipped with the GPS Capturs tracker, in addition to the runners who have bought or rented their trackers, enabling the public to follow them as closely as possible throughout the race. GPS positions of the elite runners provided their exact position every two minutes. Real-time monitoring is only available on the SFR Grand Raid web site.
The Capturs GPS tracker is based on Sigfox’s technology and network that enable it to send the user's GPS coordinates in real time. This is the second year in a row that the beacon has been available on the Grand Raid, the ultra-trail race also known as Diagonale des Fous, which is one of the most difficult races in the world. The tracker meets the need for organisers and relatives, allowing them to follow the runners at any time during the event, regardless of their location.
This technology has been designed to ensure the safety of runners and sportsmen and women practicing outdoor and extreme sports. If the runner finds themselves in difficulty, the tracker has a button that allows them to alert their loved ones, as well as the organisers of the Grand Raid, so the latter can determine their exact location and send help as quickly as possible.
For this 27th edition of the Grand Raid, more than 500 runners have chosen to invest in a Capturs tracker. By using Sigfox technology, Capturs can offer a tracker that is both space-saving and less expensive than satellite systems, does not require a SIM card and has autonomy, 360 times greater than that of a smartphone. It therefore supplements the use of mobile phones, which are adapted to short trails but cannot accompany runners on ultra-trails, which last between 20 and 60 hours.
For example, Benoit Girondel, the winner of the 2018 edition of the Grand Raid, took a little over 23 hours to complete the race.
“We have been in Reunion Island since 2016 thanks to our partnership with IO Connect, our operator in the Indian Ocean area,” said Nicolas Andrieu, vice president for Middle East and Africa at Sigfox. “For the past three years, the Sigfox network has been deployed in a large part of Reunion Island where more than 93% of the population is currently covered. It is thanks to this unique coverage, and in particular on the Grand Raid races, that the geolocation of runners will be ensured in all circumstances. We are delighted to be able to offer this service to Grand Raid participants in partnership with SFR Reunion.”
Reunion Island is famous for its many hikes on very varied terrain and its activities with extreme sensations, accessible to beginners and experts alike. It is an ideal destination to exploit the potential of a technology such as Capturs and Sigfox's low-speed network, for simple performance monitoring or to ensure the safety of the most adventurous athletes.