4/12/2004 - HP is providing the technology to track every registered participant at the 108th running of the Boston Marathon, the world's oldest annual marathon, and plans to make race information instantly available to fans, friends and family worldwide via the Internet.
The official technology sponsor of the Boston Marathon for the 10th consecutive year, HP specially redesigned and optimized the HP Athlete Search System for this year's race, which will be held on April 19.
The HP Athlete Search System is powered by a state-of-the-art wireless network that uses industry-standard HP ProLiant servers, HP iPAQ Pocket PC handheld devices and HP ProCurve networking products on the Verizon Wireless National Access wireless data network to provide participant updates at designated sites along the marathon route and at the finish line. Race participants will attach a tiny computer chip to their shoes or wheelchairs that will transmit their location as they cross stationary sensor mats at regular checkpoints.
"Pioneered by HP, the HP Athlete Search System provides fans up-to-the-minute marathon results and makes the race a truly high-tech experience," said Dan Socci, chairman of the HP New England Initiative, an organization comprised of New England-based HP executives that supports and coordinates HP's role in the annual event. "It's a great example of the ability of HP's highly adaptive solutions, combined with the expertise of partners like Verizon Wireless, to meet the unique needs of marathon race fans."
"The Boston Athletic Association relies on HP technology to accurately track participants along the historic Boston Marathon route," said Dave McGillivray, race director, Boston Marathon. "Fans on the course and around the world will have access to the BAA network, getting real-time information while the race is in progress."
HP technologies also will support the marathon operations center at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, Command Post on Copley Square Park, runners' number pickup area, press-registration areas, press rooms, television broadcast booths and in the medical tents.
Computer users around the world will be able to obtain up-to-date participant locations on the race Web site, http://www.bostonmarathon.org, which will be powered by industry-standard HP ProLiant servers running Microsoft Windows® Server 2003 and SQL Server database. HP ProLiant DL360 servers will enable an estimated 6 million page views within the six-hour time span of the race. Real-time data requests to the press room and the marathon runners' database will be supported by HP ProLiant ML570 and DL580 servers.
The entire Race Day Network of at least 25 HP ProLiant servers is powered by an expansive HP ProCurve network connected via Gigabit copper to an HP ProCurve Networking Switch 5300 at the core of the network and a series of HP ProCurve 2650, 2626 and 2524 switches facilitating the extremely high volume of data transfer.
In addition, this year HP is providing onsite wireless access for media attendees in the press room so they can work online and check race statistics using the marathon's private Intranet servers and the marathon's media Web site. The HP ProCurve 520wl Wireless Access Points and HP ProCurve Wireless Secure Access 700wl series provide appropriate access to resources that are needed for the event, while still protecting the servers from unauthorized wireless access. The HP ProCurve Adaptive Edge Architecture and its security mobility solution add intelligence at the edge of the network to ensure that each user is authenticated at the point of connection so the network security will not be compromised.
"Verizon Wireless is happy to team with HP to provide the wireless network for the 2004 Boston Marathon," said Bob Stott, regional president, Verizon Wireless. "As a participant, I'm thrilled families, friends and colleagues of all the runners can track our progress thanks to HP products and Verizon Wireless' extensive wireless voice and data network."
HP New England employees volunteer to provide instant updates along race
HP employees are key contributors to the marathon as well, with nearly 200 New England-based HP employees taking part in the race, including 125 HP runners from 12 states and 5 countries around the world.
For participant location updates, spectators along the racecourse are encouraged to approach any one of the 75 HP volunteers who will be clearly identified in blue and white top hats with the words "Ask Me About Your Runner." Armed with HP iPAQ Pocket PCs, the volunteers only need a name or bib number in order to provide an instant update of the participant's nearest checkpoint location.
Also, at Athlete's Village in Hopkinton, Mass., HP will hand out 10,000 pairs of runner's gloves to the athletes and present the HP "YOU + HP Experience" tour, an interactive display promoting HP's latest consumer products. Additionally, HP is appearing in ads running on a local TV station throughout the race.
On April 17-18, HP will participate in the Boston Marathon Expo at the World Trade Center in Boston, where runners can be photographed at the HP booth with an HP digital camera and receive a free picture to commemorate the weekend.
More information about HP in New England is available at http://www.hp.com/info/newengland
HP is a technology solutions provider to consumers, businesses and institutions globally. The company's offerings span IT infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, global services and imaging and printing. For the last four fiscal quarters, HP revenue totaled $74.7 billion. More information about HP (NYSE, Nasdaq: HPQ) is available at http://www.hp.com.
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