Sharing the thrill of the race

Not all of us can ski a grueling 90km cross-country race. Not all of us can get to the rock concert on the other side of the planet. But now we can all share in the thrill of the race, or the show, wherever we are.

Vasaloppet

Vasaloppet is one of the most famous ski races in the world, attracting the largest participation of any Nordic ski competition: 90km through rugged Swedish forest terrain, retracing a fabled skiing trek from 1521. This year's was the 12th for Niklas van der Schoot, the culmination of months of training. He was hoping to improve his position from last year.

But a new mobile portal, with payment and connections services enabled by Ericsson IPX and eStore, made the 2010 race a much more interactive affair, and not just for Niklas and other challengers. Competitors, their families and friends were able to make use of services such as breaking news, real-time position updates, video, weather conditions and forecasts.

Because it was built on the Ericsson eStore platform, it could be put together in just a few weeks. The platform can also be used for concerts, music festivals and international sporting competitions.

eStore - Hultsfred Music Festival

Sweden's annual Hultsfred Music Festival also trialed eStore last year. Users aged 19-28 said they liked the clean design of the mobile portal, which enabled them to find out who was playing when and where, and would be keen to use similar services in future.

For website operators, eStore removes some of the biggest hassles with going mobile. Once the format for the mobile portal is agreed and built, the platform creates a shadow mobile site that mirrors the fixed site. Updates to the fixed site are automatically reproduced on the mobile one.

And with eStore, mobile sites are much easier for visitors to use. The platform identifies the device accessing the site, and customizes the view to the correct screen size and browser settings. This means a site that gets the most out of a handset, and ensures visitors don’t need to zoom in and out and constantly resize windows.

The ultimate effect is a mobile site that updates itself, and enables a richer user experience, generating more network traffic and more satisfied subscribers.

Niklas completed the race in an impressive five hours and 48 minutes, and finished in 1882nd place. While he may not have beaten his time for last year, he, his family and other followers valued the portal.

There were about 15,000 competitors in this year's Vasaloppet. More than 25,000 took part using the mobile portal at m.vasaloppet.se.