big time off pister
We think resort webcams are one of the best innovations of the Internet age and Annecy based company Trinum have taken the technology to the next level. Even ski tourers can benefit with a check on snow and weather conditions. Gone are grainy low resolution images, instead you get detailed panoramic views. No more domestic webcams pointing out of a grubby tourist office window.
We spoke to Yann Cloarec at the Grenoble SAM Expo and were surprised by the technology that goes into resort webcams these days. Strictly speaking you need mains power and a phone line for high speed ADSL access. This restricts you to the area around ski lifts or buildings. The mains power is required to heat the camera installations, otherwise the panoramic motors will freeze up in the artic conditions and lenses will become obscured by condensation or even snow. Each webcam is stand alone and can connect directly to a LAN or the Internet via a router.
Trinum has been experimenting with some low powered fixed cameras. These can be powered by solar panels and using WiFi it is possible to locate them in some quite remote spots. At la Plagne they have a WiFi link operating over 7km while keeping within standards for power transmission. The panoramic cameras are capable of taking a 360 degree view, each image having a 704x576 pixel resolution. These images can then be stitched together by software. The cameras are equipped with 26x optical zooms and can also generate streamed films which can be uploaded to a server for public viewing. Their fixed camera has a real resolution of 1.3 megapixels and can operate in extremes of luminosity found in mountain areas.
As well as equipping ski resorts with webcams and weather stations Trinum is also targeting the growing video surveillance market. Maybe they can help track down who is stealing all the ski gear in French resorts?
big time off pister