With technology moving forward that fast, it was about time that someone came up with an idea to create an alternative to the common avalanche beacon. There are already some applications that are trying to (for example the Snøg Avalanche Buddy app and for iPhone the Snowhere app, but their reviews are both positive and negative and the lack the support of one of the leading names in the market.
This new application has an approval of such a leading name. With the ISIS-app you can both send and search based on you geo location.
Anena and PHGM are in!
Two leading names in France are participating in the project. The Anena (the French version of the Swiss SLF) and the PHGM (maybe the best rescue service in the world) are cooperating in this project.
We didn't have time to test the app yet, so this is just a first impression. The specs:
*Tested by PHGM
*Anena participates in the project
*Reach by bluetooth: 45 meters
*Reach by using the web: 100 meters
Automic alert to friends, rescue service and the resort in case of an avalanche
ISIS claims that it can automatically or manually send out an alert. Let's forget about the manual alert, because everybody who has ever been in an avalanche (and was lucky enough to survive) knows that you just can't manually send out a signal onxe your caught by the rage of moving snow or the tightness of concrete. The automatic alert is more interesting. How does the app know that it's the right time to send out an alert? This is what the developer is saying:
Une fois l'application téléchargée, l'iPhone fonctionne en autonomie. À chaque arrêt du skieur, il analyse le parcours précédant l'arrêt. Si celui-ci correspond à une avalanche ou à une chute, il envoie lui-même un SOS aux secours. Idéal si la victime est inconsciente, quand on sait qu'en cas d'avalanche, les quinze premières minutes sont vitales. Si elle est consciente, elle peut aussi déclencher l'alerte manuellement.
“Avec mon application, même si le skieur ne sait pas où il se trouve, son téléphone, lui, le sait. Et fini la barrière de la langue : le portable transmet directement les coordonnées GPS aux secours”.
If your French just doesn't get better than ‘soixante-neuf', it's something like this. Every time the skier stops, the app is analyzing the line of the skier. When this line indicates a fall or an avalanche an alert is send out. Still pretty vague right? The proof of the pudding must be in the eating.
And what If your smart phone has no reception? It will send out a signal using Bluetooth.
L'iPhone passe en mode Bluetooth et envoie un SOS à tous les iPhones équipés de l'application situés dans un rayon de 100 mètres.
- subscription for a week: Euro 5,99
- subscription for a year: Euro 79,99
Check out the French promo
Questions that immediately come up
-Does it work without internet connection? Or, will it still work using only Bluetooth?
-What are the consequences when there is a lot of mobile traffic?
-Will bad weather or local geography (for example, ridges or canyons) have a bad influence on the reach?
*Only works when your friends you're riding with have a subscription as well
*Will price be a challenge? Just 5,99 for a week is not too bad.
*It's only working on the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5.
*Battery life of a smartphone (mine is always empty after a day in the mountains with cold temperatures)
What are we missing?
This looks like some promissing progress. Of course, it won't replace the reliable avalanche beacons just like that, but it's interesting to see what technology can add to the backcountry. Let's hope they use and market the technology wisely, so it will save and won't cost any lives. We will start testing it with other iPhone users later!