FLW Outdoors and Remote Knowledge rolled out a new digital monitoring technology July 16 during the final round of the bass fishing competition at the $1.5 million Forrest L. Wood Championship on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, AR. The technology allowed visitors to FLWOutdoors.com to view, in real-time, the location and estimated catches of all 12 finalists as they cast for a top award of $500,000 cash. In addition, the leaderboard data provided by Remote Knowledge also appeared on computer monitors and TV screens throughout the Hot Springs Convention Center for fans visiting the championship's outdoor show.
The technology behind the service is a marine system called LEO, which has been the subject of an FLW Outdoors pilot program with Remote Knowledge for several months. It relies upon a combination of Sprint, Iridium and GPS technologies to provide instant tracking and reporting functions no matter where a boat is located. In previous Wal-Mart FLW Tour events this year, LEO provided tournament support data and communications functions for FLW Outdoors officials and FOX Sports Net (FSN) production crews.
During the tournament, the weight of each finalist's bass was entered into a handheld keypad linked to a shoebox-sized transmitter. This data then was uploaded by cell or low-earth orbit satellite automatically (whichever works best at a given location) to FLWOutdoors.com, where fishing fans could log in to see the exact location and track of their favorite angler. The number of fish and estimated weights also were posted in real time.
At future tournaments, Remote Knowledge plans to distribute updated information to fans' cell phones and wireless-enabled PDAs via Sprint text messaging.