Alongside optimum snow conditions, the success of a ski resort depends crucially on environmentally responsible business and commercial skill.
In turn, the prerequisite for commercial success is comprehensive recording and evaluation of the complex workflows, cost structures and current situation of the ski resort with all its slopes and the vehicles it is using. This often leads to enormous saving potentials and makes it easier to optimise processes.
In the last two issues, we presented SNOWsat in general, and gave detailed information on the various vehicle systems. We would now like to focus on the details of “Analysis and Evaluation Software”.
It was extremely important to the SNOWsat software developers to guarantee simple and intuitive operation of the system. At the same time, they wanted to tailor the individual screen views to the information needed by the different groups, ensuring that SNOWsat does not take more of users' time – the most important information should be accessible within a maximum of 5 minutes. Additionally, they wanted to make communication much easier between drivers, slope managers, snow production managers and management. All these goals were developed in advance as the result of intensive collaboration with the ski resorts. This meant development was oriented perfectly to these specific needs from the start.
Three programmes emerged, which fulfil the different requirements: SNOWsat Fleet as a fleet management tool for analysis and coordination of the vehicles in the ski resort, SNOWsat CAN for detailed analysis of vehicle data, and SNOWsat Z for a detailed display of snow depth information, and for comprehensive slope management.
The “basic” level of SNOWsat software is used to optimise usage of the vehicle fleet and its cost structure. This web-based fleet management solution provides access to vehicle data without the installation of special software. One requirement: the web browser of the PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone has access to the SNOWsat server in the ski resort, to which the vehicle data is transmitted and where it is stored. SNOWsat collates the vehicle, position and geographic data and displays it graphically, enabling resorts to create user-specific analyses and statistics very simply. This facilitates time and cost-optimised usage of the snow groomers. The programme shows the status of the ski resort at a glance, such as the area processed in a certain time or the use of winches and tillers. This includes details of where snow has been shifted and slopes have been groomed, as well as important engine data, e.g. fuel consumption. In addition to the graphic display, corresponding table views are also accessible for analysis of the most significant vehicle parameters. Interesting: this data can be exported and used in other programmes.
All of this produces the following advantages for the Fleet or snow manager: optimisation potentials for vehicle usage, plus snow-making and grooming processes, can be identified and implemented, thanks to simple analysis of all recorded data. Thus, fleet and snow management becomes more efficient. Costs fall as the result of optimised usage of machines and resources, e.g. snow guns, snow groomers, power and water. Moreover, it is easier for the whole resort team to swap information and communicate – a significant factor that improves team management and driver support.
This is a display and analysis tool for CAN and other vehicle signals. In contrast to SNOWsat Fleet, which displays vehicle data for the entire fleet within the ski resort, the focus with SNOWsat CAN is on displaying individual vehicle parameters for one vehicle for a defined period. Accordingly, vehicle data is displayed on a chronological axis within freely configurable views. This means, for example, that users can analyse revs vs speed or fuel consumption by vehicle use, as well as engine and consumption data, information on tillers and winches, or all safety-relevant data in the event of damage or loss.
There are a few advantages specifically for workshop foremen: recording and analysing detailed vehicle data creates transparency over the use of the snow groomers. This results in optimised planning of vehicle usage and maintenance intervals, which is reflected, in turn, in fewer machine hours, less wear, and higher vehicle availability. Furthermore, technical problems can be detected promptly and remedied as needed thanks to the detailed vehicle data.
SNOWsat Z is special snow management software with extended analysis functionality, which is used specifically to optimise snow production and snow grooming. SNOWsat Z displays the snow depths measured by the vehicles on a map of the ski resort (with an accuracy of +/- 3 cm). Snow guns and anchoring points are also displayed. This facilitates simple monitoring of snow volumes in the resort, which can then be used to plan snow grooming and snow production throughout the whole season. SNOWsat Z also has the capability to add a data interface to the control software of the snow-making facilities, e.g. ATTAS+® from Technoalpin.
This is hugely beneficial for slope managers and snow production managers: precise knowledge of snow depth can be used to identify the work required for snow production and snow grooming. Snow deposits are detected and used at other locations The position, number and settings of the snow guns can also be analysed precisely and optimised. The resulting efficient management of snow-making facilities during the season not only increases snow quality, but also corresponds to a saving potential of 15 %. This guarantees total snow cover for the whole season for minimal costs.
Moreover, SNOWsat Z makes communication easier between slope managers and their drivers, and between slope managers and snow production managers.
These three different software packages are specifically tailored to the diverse requirements of a ski resort. All information recorded by the vehicles can be evaluated and analysed quickly and easily as a result. Analysis of the daily and seasonal use of the SNOWsat components means that resorts can identify optimisation potentials, and plan and implement corresponding measures promptly.