We currently have laid new fibre across the mountain this summer and have great internal communication but unfortunately our adsl lines connect at a speed just above the old dial up. Our main phone line suffers from bad interference, our satellite broadband is sporadic at best and our back up mobile broadband gets swamped when we get busy. Having an online system when we cannot rely on being able to connect to the outside world would be a disaster. We plan to introduce an online solution but cannot do so until BT upgrade the exchange and we have a robust and reliable internet connection. Unfortunately that does not look like happening any time soon. Until then a new extra cash window is the best we can do.
Through the marketing group Ski Scotland the centres co-operate on a lot already, all area passes, trinum, websites, video, marketing, promoton etc.
I am well aware of the bandwidth problems the centres face, but that is in my view a cop out. Let me explain.
You only need to download that a particular ski pass (aka RFI tag) is valid once on any given day. You then store that information locally on a server. So every few minutes the server at the ski centre needs to contact the central server to get a list of new tags relevant to that centre that are valid today. Once you have got the tag information once on a day the server marks it off as already downloaded and never presents it again.
So now the question is exactly how much bandwidth is required to get this information. Well a industry standard tag has 96 bits or 12 bytes of identification information. Lets also assume that you have 5000 people all registered their passes for Glencoe at in the same minute. That is 480,000 bits of information to be downloaded. My maths tells me that will take 50 seconds on a 2G 9600bps GPRS connection assuming no overhead. Or you could just push it using SMS text messages from the server if you really wanted.
This is all wet string levels of bandwidth, and hence the issues of limited bandwidth at the centres should not be a barrier to the implementation of my proposed scheme.