Tech Talk – Remote Timing
Many large events require real-time scoring from sometimes distant timing points along the course. These times are often shown on a live scoreboard both on the web and at the finish line. While it may sound high-tech to some, it is really not too complex to put timing systems onto an inexpensive and reliable network using the Internet.
The most common way to accomplish this is to use a built-in GPRS modem that utilizes the GSM mobile phone network to send data over the Internet to a remote server which receives this data. An external 3G modem can also be used. Some savvy timers can even use a 3G Modem Router to use “The Cloud” to send data over the Internet, and many places in Europe have free Wifi connectivity within the area of a timing point. Data can be sent over the Internet to a server that accepts, deciphers, and stores them in a database. This server can then be accessed by any computer via the Internet to pull down this timing data to scoring software at the race finish line. The whole process takes only one or two seconds, so the results effectively appear in real-time.
Some other timing operators have set up a virtual private network (VPN) where the remote modem is connected directly to the finish line as if it were on the same local area network. The setup of a VPN can be complicated, but essentially eliminates the need for a central or ‘repeater’ server saving the data.
We, at RFID Race Timing Systems, offer all of the above solutions to our customers. The Ultra System even has an optional built-in GPRS as well as an HTTP post request, using an external modem.