The SIS-SREM (Safety and Information Systems for Ski Resorts in Emerging Markets) feasibility study investigates and assesses the technical feasibility and commercial viability of a sustainable service which will support the management of ski resorts (development, operation, maintenance) in order to reduce the operational cost and services which support safety and enjoyment of their visitors.
Partners involved are aimed at designing and establishing a viable and sustainable operational service. The specification of the integrated system shall combine existing terrestrial assets with space technologies and offer to the end users an attractive solution which is different from the existing services.
Objectives of the service
SIS-SREM stays for Safety and Information Systems for Ski Resorts in Emerging Markets. The design of a scalable modular service for Ski resort operators and creating a fun tool for their clients on the slopes are the objectives of this project. The study team focuses its efforts on central European and eastern European markets which have demonstrated stabile growth over the past 5 years and still have a good potential in this respect.
Together with the investigation and assessment of technical solution, the team is designing a sustainable business model which will allow the resort operators to serve their clients and fully utilise the income potential outdoor resorts.
Users and their needs
The service is designed to be of benefit for:
1) Ski resort Planners/Developers
2) Ski resort operators
3) Search and Rescue Teams
4) Professional and amateur skiers and snowboarders
And other users could also benefit from the services are:
5) Ski and snowboard schools/ski guide associations/ski clubs
6) Local authorities
7) Ski Sport Events Organisers
8) Tourist office operators
9) Avalanche Centres
Czech Ski Association, Association of lift operators and F.I.A.N.E.T, Ski resorts in CZ operated by Tatry Mountain Resorts TMR - which is the largest investment company in Ski resorts business in central Europe - are the first users and stakeholders which have been approached and are actively involved in the study.
Ski resort operators showed the need for an integrated solution supporting the management of a ski area as well as safety, enjoyment and comfort of its visitors. In particular they would like to obtain:
Optimization of Ski resort operations - team management, information system, economy;
- Improving quality and economy of Ski resort development and management;
- Prevention of emergency situations;
- Coordination of teams - Ski resort operator, mountain rescue, police ski patrols, integrated rescue system.
- Increase the enjoyment and safety of the skiers on the slopes.
Service/ system concept
The system concept is based on two services have been identified for two different user groups:
- Mountain Rescue Team Management (MRTM) service for professional rescue organisations in coordination with Ambulance, Police, Fire Brigade or Army. In case of accidents, the service allows the coordination among the different bodies and helps the localization of the injured person.
- Outdoor Infotainment service for ski resort operators and skiers. The service consists of: a) providing ski resorts with traditional advertising means (such as billboard, gondola, ski lift) and b) providing skiers with digital media information such as waiting time at the ski lift, weather information, live web-camera sponsored by brand operators. Skiers will have the possibility to access wifi through VSAT station installed in the ski resort area.
The outdoor infotainment service will be provided by an Out of Home Media Agency which will operate as mediator between the brand provider and the ski resort operator, according to the following picture:
Space Added Value
The system combines GNSS based features and services with remote sensing or UAV imagery which enhance the resolution of the services. Satellite communication is considered as an alternative used by professional teams in remote areas.
The benefits related to SIS-SREM concern different actors.
Ski resort operators will benefit in terms of:
- Improved economy
- Better management of all resources
- Rising the attractiveness of the ski resort
- Improved security
Skiers and travellers will benefit in terms of:
- Improved information on the ski resort
- More fun on the slopes and in mountains
- More security on slopes and in mountains
- Interaction via Social media with friends
Currently there are many solutions available for skiers, snowboarders and professional staff which mainly use GNSS services to track persons or equipment. The SIS-SREM service includes all features which are standard in currently available solutions. Moreover, additional features and improvement of stability, accuracy and availability are achieved thanks to the integration of space assets.
The SIS-SREM solution includes two main elements. One element is focused on the needs of professional staff. The second element is targeting the customer of the ski resorts.
The professional element includes features such as: real-time positioning of persons, tracking of team members and managing teams, possibility of using satellite communication in remote areas. These services are offered to professional and voluntary personnel operating for the security on the slope and for search and rescue services. SIS-SREM professional provides also the ski resort operators with: localization of equipment and staff, 3D model with real-time information, monitoring of the water resources, information about the current local weather in different locations of the resort.
The second element of the SIS-SREM service includes services such as: assessment of traffic density on the slopes, fun features, weather information; and it is targeting skiers, snowboarders, cross-country skiers in winter, and bikers and trekkers in summer.
The most challenging part of project has been to understand what the market situation of the ski resort services is in the Central and Eastern European Countries, and to develop the most appropriate strategic business plan to introduce the SIS-SREM services into this market.
No critical threats have been identified in the technological aspects as the technologies which are needed to improve information quality in mountain resorts are available and mature. Skiers are also equipped with the proper technologies to receive the information.
A sustainable business model and a stable income platform to cover the development and roll-out costs turned out to be the key issue of the proposed services. In fact to demonstrate the functionalities and to attract clients, a relatively high investment and sufficient resource are needed.
A combination between traditional media and digital media appears to be the best approach on how to develop sustainable services. Both businesses, traditional and digital outdoor media use the same sales channels, address the same or similar clients and the targeted groups are complementary.
The Feasibility Study concluded in March 2015. Currently the project team is engaging with additional partners in the Eastern European countries to set-up a consortium for the follow-on demonstration project. Also discussions with venture capital partners are underway.