Just seen the release of a new app that offers the functions of a transceiver, plus automatically alerts friends and mountain rescue…
Although not the first app to try this, it seems maybe the first to be successful. At first glance it looks like a really nice system, easy to use, great range and cheap too.
It does raise a few questions though. Obvious compatibility issues, since it’s only available on Iphone, and then only the 4s and 5 models, plus only in a certain number of resorts.
Battery life would be a big concern, my transceiver can go a whole season on one set of batteries. Using power hunger features like GPS and Bluetooth in a cold mountainous environment, I’d be lucky to get a whole day out of my iPhone!
The possible range of 1000m with is great, considering the distance an avalanche can go a range of Ca. 50m with a modern transceiver seems quite low. But you need to have 3G signal to get that range, which can be a little unpredictable half way up a mountain. I also can’t find any info on if the app can handle multiple burials?
On the plus side, the time saving capabilities do look like a genuinely useable feature. For example automatically alerting mountain rescue and providing an estimated location via GPS could cut vital minutes, but then what classes as a fall or avalanche and how many false alerts could this create?
On the whole i’d say it has potential to become a useful additional tool to, but not a replacement for, a transceiver. But that raises the issue of potential interference.
In fact the biggest application for it I could see is using the manual alert and profile features, where users input health/medical data (insurance info would be a good feature here too), to assist mountain rescue with on piste casualties. They are far more common and for nervous punters who don’t know what to do or who to call, pushing a button on their phone and cutting out the language barrier is something i’m sure a lot of people would pay for.
For now, I’m sticking with what I’ve got. I am intrigued as to how this app is taken up though…
dan having the worst day