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Technology raises the bar again!!

by Rob Kothe & the Sail-World Team on 9 Oct 2006
Next G cards in nav.station lap tops soon . .
In the early Sydney to Hobart race racing pigeons with position data notes tied to their legs were released from south bound yachts, now 3.5G phones will bring racing news to the sailing community.

At the 2005 Rolex Trophy series, yachting photographer Andrea Francolini was sending images to Sail-World from a camera boat off Sydney Heads, using wireless technology.

During the 2006 Sydney to Mooloolaba race Sail-World posted images of a sunrise sent from a racing yacht off Byron Bay while it was still pre-dawn at the Sail-World base in the mountains above Lake Macquarie - 3G wireless in its early form.

All last week Sail-World’s on water team at the San Francisco Star Worlds were reporting live from the Berkley Circle course direct back to New Zealand, up to an hour ahead of the event media. During the Melbourne to Vanuatu and Vanuatu to Mackay races, a steady flow of boat emails provided fascinating coverage over the 3,000 nautical miles.

Now Sol Trujillo, the American CEO of Australia’s largest communications company Telstra, has put more than his credit card on the bar for the sailing community. Telstra's Next G broadband network will mean navigation station computers with 3G with high speed broadband cards. 3.5G, as some pundits call it, will become common place.

Expect to see speeds this year of 500k to 1.5 Meg and next year those speeds could reach 10 Megabits/second. Perfect for downloading grib files, for weather reports, tracking, and of course for providing boat news. As a result, there will be many more racing boats fitted with mast top phone antennas and the flow of words and images is likely to expand to audio reports and soon to video.

Sail-World is now delivering full screen pictures, and faster speeds will expand this process. The latest digital cameras costing between $300 - $600 are in the five-seven megapixel range and produce good stills and short bursts of video.

High speed broadband will deliver full screen vision on computer screens in years to come but don't be surprised if you see vision clips from the back of a supermaxi surfing south, on Sail-World from the 2006 Hobart race.

High speed broadband and the resultant expansion of instant news has been a body blow for the print media, with veteran sailor Rupert Murdoch smart enough to sail his News Limited vessel onto the Internet ocean ahead of the fleet.

Sailors are grabbing news online, have a look at www.sail-world.com/newstext from your mobile phone today.

It’s been much tougher of course for the sports magazines, who are a couple of months behind the 'now news'. Magazine circulation figures around the world are recording the ongoing damage in that media. As one American media commentator says; ‘losing 2.5% per month does not sound much, but 30% in a year is not a lot of fun'.

The changes in the market are coming faster than any of us expected. With Internet news five and six hours ahead of television, the under 35 audience is losing interest in TV nightly news and the 35-60’s are following suit.

It's no wonder at all that online advertising is expected to overtake the television market by the end of the decade, according to the chief executive of the Internet Advertising UK Bureau. Roy Morgan Polls in Australia show the online advertising could double this year alone.

Both agencies and publishers regard 'high accountability' as the greatest strength of the Internet and mentioned 'targeting capabilities' as another key strength. While Broadband is chewing into the mainstream audience, for sports that rarely gain mainstream media attention this process is much further advanced.

Sailors have moved online in their thousands and as that process continues to accelerate with broadband, many marine industry companies are allocating between 40% and 100% of their advertising expenditure to online media.

Sail-World Australian advertising rates can be found at www.sail-world.com/australia/adrates.cfm

Lots of interesting news today, start with 'Gone in Sixty seconds' that certainly provides something for us all to think about.
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