Connected trekking means learning, naming your surroundings, asking questions, providing the answers and sharing. It is not question of spoiling the pleasure and the peace and quiet of the mountains but more about finding new opportunities to share your discoveries, to learn but also to improve safety. We met Bertrand CZAICKI, electronic device product manager at Quechua who shared his vision of connected trekking.
Bertrand Czaicki, electronic device product manager at Quechua
What does connected trekking mean to you?
A few years ago, the mountains and trekking meant a small Gallic village which was resistant to the influence of technology and modernity. A compass, a guide book, a paper map. We ran away from "connectivity" and took refuge in the traditional values of the mountains.
Today being connected is part of our way of life: sharing your emotions with friends, finding answers immediately on the internet, knowing your location at any time, the weather ... Connected trekking is also allowing everyone to live in the mountains in the way they want to: trekking to see landscapes, to beat climb times, to find mushrooms or to go on a treasure hunt. It multiplies the possibilities of experience!
How did the Quechua phone come about?
Actually, the project came about through the idea for a service. We found by observing users that there was a real need for knowledge, games, discoveries and safety. The only problem is that a lot of people were reluctant to get their smartphones out of their bags in the mountains for fear of damaging them. In addition they were afraid that their batteries would run out quickly if they needed to use the GPS to find their bearings.
We therefore decided to create the first mountain proof smartphone in the world: the Quechua Phone 5"
Mountain proof? What does that mean?
Mountain proof means it's been tested in the mountains. It withstands shocks, rain, snow and mud. The screen is readable even in bright sunlight and the smartphone benefits from a long battery life. Finally it has a barometric altimeter for fans of precise altitude measurements.
After the smartphone, will there be a Quechua application soon?
Indeed. In fact, the smartphone project came about while we were working on a trekking application.
Today we have a platform specifically adapted to the mountains. We can offer an Android application based on safety and sharing experiences: Quechua Tracking. Hikers will be able to constantly find themselves on a mountain map and send their position in case of emergency. They will also be able to create an original and attractive trekking journal, with their photos, recounting their experience that they can then share with friends.
And what are we moving towards tomorrow?
Of course we cannot reveal everything, but it seems obvious, in view of the rapid evolution of connected objects in the world that a fair share of hiking equipment in the future will be connected to the internet, so as better to capture data regarding exertion, position, moods or to adapt itself intelligently to external conditions.
All that naturally makes people safer, and releases the mind of the hiker from any constraints so that he can devote himself solely to his passion and the pleasure of exploring the mountains.