welcome to the second edition of the SPORTident newsletter for organisers. This month's edition is packed with everything from WOC, to GSM modems, Config+, USB driver, base station firmware and SIAC. So without further ado, let's get started right away.
World Orienteering Championships
We could not send out this newsletter without talking about the World Orienteering Championships: The championships took place July 31 to August 8 in Inverness, Scotland, and were the first WOC to use AIR+ contactless punching exclusively and at all races. This year's WOC and the accompanying Scottish Six Days with over 6000 participants were a very nice success for the orienteering sport. Of course, we are particularly happy about the very positive feedback from athletes, the organisers, and the IOF regarding our AIR+ technology. The WOC clearly demonstrated the improved sport experience that contactless punching offers. We now expect that contactless punching will be introduced rapidly at all international and national orienteering events.
We would like to emphasize again that all existing BSF7 and BSF8 stations are compatible with AIR+. Therefore, as organisers you will most likely be able to introduce AIR+ at your events with your existing equipment. No additional investment is needed. If you are interested in giving it a try in your club or organisation, we would be happy to lend you a set of SIACs. Our colleague Andreas handles everything sales and hiring, so get in contact with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Timing Online Service
Our GSM modems enable you to send punch records in near real time from stations in the field – typically referred to as “online controls” – to a website or speaker's display for live information and results. More specifically, the modem relays direct punches from BSF8 short range radio (SRR) stations as well as contactless punches from the SIAC to our Timing Online Service. This service feeds a simple website with live information. The service also includes a programming interface enabling you to retrieve punch records for processing and display on your own website or in your own program. Finally, we provide a PC program SI-LiveRead to retreive punch records and write them to a CSV file or COM port. Our updated document Timing Online Service has a good overview of the whole ecosystem around the GSM modem. We also have a more detailed description of everything short range radio, including the SRR station, the SRR dongle, the SIAC, and the GSM modem.
We would like to highlight three very nice applications of the GSM modems this summer: the Stefanik Trail ultramarathon in Bratislava, Slovakia, the BB O-Cup orienterring race close to Banská Bystrica, Slovakia, and the Berlin Wall Race ultramarathon in Berlin, Germany. The two Slovakian races used classic direct punching with about a dozen SRR stations and GSM modems each. Our PC program SI-LiveRead was used to retreive and display the live punches both locally in the competition centre and on the web. The Berlin Wall Race collected 27 intermediate time records on its 160km route, with a GSM modem at every second control. No SRR stations were used, instead, the competitors' SIACs sent all their punch records directly to the GSM modems. Around five thousand people used our live site to follow the 600 athletes throughout the race.
If you are interested in using our GSM solution for your own events, please get in touch with us. We will be happy to lend you a set of modems for evaluation and to assist you with setting up the Timing Online Service for your event. Please note that GSM modems are currently for hiring only. If you are a developer interested in implementing the Timing Online Service programming interface for your website or program, again, get in touch and it will be our pleasure to support you.
Config+ 0.8.2 was released in early July. This new version features the capability to configure SI-Card11 and SIAC feedback signals and a battery setting management mode (for station servicing). Additionally, it includes many improvements, mainly based on your valuable feedback. Also, several issues and bugs have been fixed. Config+ is compatible with Windows 10. You can download the application on our download page (detailed release notes are also available there). Users that are already running Config+ can update the application using the update features (Menu Help - Check for updates).
We are confident that Config+ has evolved to a full replacement of our classic Config application. This is the reason why we do not offer the classic application download on our website anymore. If you (for any reason) are still in the need to download and use classic Config, please use the direct download link for SI-Config 2.8.6. Be aware that we do not update this application anymore. New features and support for latest SPORTident equipment will be solely implemented in Config+. Similarly, SI-Boot is no longer available. Please use Config+ to upgrade the firmware in your SPORTident devices.
Three main features are still to be included in upcoming versions of Config+:
- Full support of backup memory reading for all SPORTident devices
- Management of SI-Card personal data
- Full support of SIGSM-DN (SPORTident GSM modem device)
The next version of Config+ should be released before the end of the year.
Our USB driver is compatible with Windows 10 and installs and performs as expected on Microsoft's latest operating system. As always, the USB driver is available for download on our website.
In related news, a fully signed Mac OSX driver for SPORTident USB devices is now available. To download the Mac OSX driver, please visit the website of our hardware vendor, CP210x USB to UART Bridge VCP Drivers. Although we cannot officially provide support for Macintosh, if you run into any issues you will surely find a helping hand in our developer forum. To become a member of this team of SPORTident enthusiasts, write us a a short mail with your full name.
Base station firmware
As some of you might have noticed, we have added the possibility to boot your BS7/8 devices back to firmware 580: Both firmware versions, 580 and 623, are available through the Config+ firmware update feature. Firmware 623 contains the following improvements and new features compared to 580:
- Improved SI-Card6 robustness and fixed the issue of faulty punch recording
- Direct punching with SPORTident ActiveCard (SIAC)
- Beacon operating modes (Air+ capability) for use together with SPORTident ActiveCard (SIAC)
If any of these features is a requirement for you, you will need to use firmware 623 on your devices.
We would also like to make you aware and ask for your support with a new issue that has been reported for firmware 623. After upgrading a BSF8 to firmware 623 it can happen – in extremely rare cases – that the station will drain its battery in a fortnight. The station functions correctly otherwise. We have been hard at work to track this issue down, but – not least because it does happen so rarely – this has proofed to be difficult so far. Here is what we know: Only BSF8 stations with serial numbers in the range 155,000 to 165,000 seem to be affected. It does depend on the history of the station – the same station with a new battery is no longer affected. The very-low-battery issue as reported in our known issues document is an indicator that the station might suffer from fast battery drainage. We would like to ask for your support: If you upgrade your stations to 623 and see the low-battery-voltage issue – that is, the station displays a battery voltage of below 2 volts – please get in touch with us.
We are planning to have the latest revision of the SPORTident active card with an updated firmware available for sale later this year.
Thanks for reading this far, we know it's been a lot this month. As always, we are looking forward to your questions, thoughts and comments, so please send them our way. You will hear from us next time in early December, with the last newsletter for this year.
Thomas and Burkhard
For over six years, Thomas has been developing and supporting PC software at SPORTident. Having his roots in software quality assurance, he enjoys writing modern and easy-to-use applications. He spends his free time with his family and camera.
Software Development Manager
Burkhard has been writing software for longer than he can remember. He has previously worked in computational physics and is now responsible for software development at SPORTident. In his free time he enjoys playing his guitar and doing sports.