Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Cisco UK&I’s Flying Scotsman

November 3, 2015

What do you call a person who decides to ride in an Ultra-cycling event to cover 383 miles in under 32 hours ? Crazy ? Mad ? No, I call him James MacDonald, Cisco UK&I’s very own Flying Scotsman.

Last weekend (24/25th October 2015), James took on the challenge of the NCOM 383 Anton Chigurh road event, centred around Alpine in Texas, taking in the wonderful scenery around Big Bend National Park and the hills around the McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis. James was competing in the event to qualify for the Race Across America (RAAM – in 2016, where participants ride from Oceanside in California to Anapolis on the Maryland coast, covering over 3000 miles in 12 days (or less !!).

NCOM blog picJames took with him a crew of three fellow Cisco people – Stevie Thomson (Crew Chief, Mr. Motivator and head-chef) with Chris Litt (photographer) and my good self as co-drivers.

The purpose of the event was not only to qualify for RAAM, which he did, but also top to start and investigate how a rider could benefit from using the IoT/IoE technology that Cisco, and its Partners, develops. When riding, the feedback from the rider to the crew is mainly carried by word of mouth, shouting from the bike to the truck or by some what unreliable walkie-talkies. Wouldn’t it be better to be able to look at, in realtime, the stats for the rider (heart rate. breathing, energy levels etc), the stats for the bike (speed, power etc tyre pressure etc), the weather coming up, precise location (distance covered, distance to go etc), position in the race… some of this one can do today but you would have to carry multiple devices or stop for readings to be taken. What happens if you can upload these stats, again in realtime, to enable the crew to make decisions about when to stop, what food and drink to pass to the rider, what clothes to prepare and which bike is best suited to the terrain coming up.

This is where Cisco’s IoT/IoE technology can help. The intention is that for the RAAM in June 2016, James will be a standalone information broadcast unit, sending out all of the data that is needed to enable his crew to provide the best support and guidance possible. Cisco is working with its Partners to make this a reality and once this technological task is complete, there is no reason why it cannot be used for remote monitoring of other tasks (healthcare, transport etc).

Over the next few months we will be bringing all of the technology together and I’ll continue to write blogs to update you all on our progress. If you want a glimpse of what the NCOM 383 Anton Chigurh was like, have a look at the YouTube video here…

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