Canoe Racing New Zealand headed for calm waters when it chose Company-X for a major project.
Canoe Racing New Zealand invited Company-X on board when it needed an idiot proof solution for canoe sprint racing.
Company-X directors David Hallett and Jeremy Hughes visited a regatta at Lake Karapiro to watch the racing environment and see how the product needed to work in a practical sense and assigned software architect Darren Harrison to come up with the solution.
The old, manual, timing system was prone to human error because it required a lot of human power. It used one person and a stop watch for each race lane, with up to nine lanes in a race. As each canoeist crossed the finish a stop button would be manually pressed. As well as the stop watch operators, the canoe sprinting course required a tenth person to oversee it.
The Company-X team developed a more accurate, and automated, system, writing specialized software to capture regatta race events that records the start and finish time for each race lane. It integrates with inexpensive hardware to record a finish line video of each competitor and the video is used to assign finish times. It has a photo finish function to determine finish order
“They spent a lot of time making sure it was easy to use and fairly idiot-proof, which is necessary when using a changing group of volunteers to operate the system,” said Karen Simpson, business manager at Canoe Racing New Zealand.
The organization had limited funding for regatta administration and needed an affordable but effective system that operated within the unique layout of the race finish line and the administration building, 120 meters apart.
SPLASHING FUN: Canoe Racing New Zealand headed for calm waters when it chose Company-X for a major project.
“The finished product is exactly what we needed and is robust enough to function in the ever-changing weather conditions that an outdoor, water-based sport must operate in. I really appreciated the ‘can-do’ attitude they brought to the project and am immensely happy with the new system.”
The new system uses two wirelessly linked or cabled personal computers to provide a finish line operator interface and an administration overview. The software works with affordable digital video cameras opposed to very expensive finish line cameras.
On course with Darren
Company-X developer Darren Harrison was the perfect partner to steer Canoe Racing New Zealand on a steady course.
“I registered my first internet domain back in 1996, two years before Google started, so I have an understanding of how it all fits together from domains through to web applications,” Darren said.
That experience puts him in great stead for developing applications from the ground up, with a strong focus on security.
Darren spent 10 years at a large Hamilton company where he got an insight into how big businesses run and learnt how to see the big picture for the entire business.
“It also gave me experience in writing software for end users,” Darren said.
“Working for Company-X has continued to allow me to work on a wide range of software platforms, varying from improving and maintaining software to developing cutting edge solutions.
“A business intelligence solution utilizing Azure and big data is my current focus, however my systems experience also helps with server configuration and maintenance.”