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  • Satellite Evolution Group

Globalstar and Owaka safeguard 15,000 participants in record year for extreme sports events

Globalstar Europe Satellite Services announced that Owaka, a specialist Globalstar solutions partner, has had a record-breaking 12 months. Organisers of extreme sporting competitions, amateur cross-country events, and rallies for motoring enthusiasts increasingly chose tracking specialist Owaka to provide its proven all-in monitoring, communication and emergency support systems. In the 12 months to July 2023 Owaka systems have tracked and safeguarded over 15,000 event participants.

“Now post-Covid, the event business is really growing again,” shares Sophie Casters, Co-Founder and CEO at Owaka SARL (France). Owaka offers a full SaaS service for event organisers, acting as a one-stop shop for all the technology and emergency support systems event organisers require.

Owaka fully prepares and configures all participants’ and organizations’ SPOT devices. Furthermore, Owaka transforms event operations with its advanced Live Tracking platform. Designed to enhance logistical efficiency, safety, and overall race management, Owaka provides key support for the entire event organization team. “With real-time tracking capabilities, our platform empowers organizers to seamlessly oversee and coordinate all aspects of the race, ensuring a smooth and successful event,” says Casters.

At the heart of the system, latest generation SPOT Gen4 devices carried by all competitors ensure that organisers know the exact location of each contestant. With SPOT, enabled by Globalstar’s low-Earth Orbit satellite network, event officials and emergency support services can precisely track each participant’s location, via a user-friendly display of GPS positions in real-time via the Owaka Tracking platform. If a competitor gets into trouble, such as sustaining an injury or technical failure, with the single press of SPOT’s Help button, organisers are alerted. At the same time, the user’s GPS coordinates are instantly transmitted to the event’s operations centre, so help is rapidly dispatched to the correct location.

The Owaka system managed over 3,000 alerts from participants who needed help in the last 12 months. “It’s been a record year; we’ve supported over 150 events,” Casters says.

“Participant safety is paramount, so we trust SPOT: “It's important that we are able to monitor the safety and wellbeing of all our participants, whose pursuits take them to rugged and remote areas where GSM mobile systems simply cannot be relied on,” says Casters. Owaka has never missed an alert, thanks to Globalstar’s ubiquitous reach, she reports.

User-friendly platform engages sponsors and spectators Owaka’s highly functional video and data platform helps race officials, as well as friends, family and sponsors, keep track of the athletes' progress.

Supporters can follow the event live, see participants’ locations, daily speed and distance stats, with a host of functionalities that enable fans to enjoy minute by minute excitement. The ability to see live data transforms the spectating experience – virtual or in-person – and maximises potential engagement with the event’s wider community, fans and commercial partners. The superior experience enabled by the Owaka online platform delivers benefits including enhanced sponsorship and subscription opportunities.

Owaka supports a wide range of sporting and adventure events. For example, the Titan Desert race sees the world's toughest cyclists race across the sands of Morocco in temperatures as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius).

Owaka also has numerous customers hosting long-distance Ultra-trail events, and bikepacking competitions such as BikingMan, with several events annually. Meanwhile Panda Raid, one of numerous car rally raids supported by Owaka, sees 350 FIAT Panda cars run in a multi-stage rally. In addition to events across Europe, the company supports many others in Africa, specifically Morocco and Tunisia, and South America.

“All events are different, and each has its individual needs. So we adapt our platform and the way we work to deliver bespoke solutions to our customers,” comments Casters.

“There are many benefits to working with Globalstar and SPOT,” she adds. “SPOT’s satellite tracking capability is of course key, but so is long battery life, which is particularly advantageous for long distance non-stop endurance events.”

“People's desires for travel, adventure and physical competition have led to a massive expansion in extreme sporting and adventure events,” commented Mark O’Connell, General Manager for Globalstar EMEA & APAC. “We are very proud to team up with Owaka to help participants stay connected and safe wherever their journeys take them.”

SPOT devices have initiated over 9,500 rescues worldwide to date, many lifesaving.

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