In a world where smart technologies are an indispensable part of our everyday life, sports should not be an exception, especially when it comes to safety. That’s why Walltopia Group and its daughter company Techtopia are releasing their first commercially available AI climbing alarm system, called Higher Eye. The game-changing device is a combination of IP cameras plus AI software on a local server. After being installed and tested first in the Walltopia headquarters facility, the Higher Eye system can now be ordered at an early bird offer.
“Every climbing facility owner will tell you that safety is their top priority. Yet, no matter how qualified your gym staff is, human errors will always happen. Even more so in the last years when there are more climbers indoors than ever,” says Dian Deskov, CEO of Techtopia, who supervised the development of Higher Eye. And those ‘human errors’ often consist of someone starting to climb without being attached to an auto belay.
Everyone’s welcome, anyone’s protected
The Higher Eye device developed by Techtopia empowers climbing gym staff with 360° surveillance inside the facility, detection of potentially dangerous behavior, and the ability to pinpoint problem spots. It is next-generation smart assistance for any gym, and a digital upgrade from the belay gates most commonly used in facilities equipped with auto belay systems.
“No matter how brightly colored the gates are, or how bold the messages on the triangles are, there are always people who forget to attach themselves to the auto belay. We are happy that nowadays climbing is more accessible and popular than ever, rather than being an exclusive club for only the most experienced and enlightened. But with the opening of climbing gyms to a wider audience we have also become more vulnerable to human errors and miscalculations,” say Walltopia professional gym supervisors. “We need a system that is smarter, easy to install and use, and efficient in giving immediate signals to gym supervisors when there’s unsafe activity on the walls.” All these criteria are met by the Higher Eye AI technology that provides end-to-end video-based, real-time analysis.
You climb. We keep an eye out. All is covered.
Higher Eye cameras could be installed in both indoor and outdoor climbing gyms. They can be hanging from a pole, fixed to the ground or the ceiling, or placed in various places within the climbing area. A neural network detects unsafe behavior, sends the information to the server, and activates a sound and laser signal exactly where the problematic activity is taking place.
“It is an extremely effective alarm system that solves a complex problem in an elegant and timely way,” says Deskov. “Experience taught us that with more and more people from all generations and all walks of life entering the modern state-of-the-art climbing facilities, the potential for risk becomes higher. Someone will overestimate themselves, others will come tired after work…We cannot rely on having only highly experienced and super focused climbers on the walls. We want everyone to be able to climb anytime as safely as possible. We do believe that the perfect combination of skilled gym supervisors plus smart technological assistants can guarantee us that.”
The future is digital
Actually, the present is digital, and the future is digitally enhanced reality. In the world of climbing and gym management, this means that data can help gym managers and staff members optimize their work immensely. How so? Higher Eye AI devices are connected to a server and collect multiple data points. How this data is used is all in the hands of the gym owners.
First and foremost, routesetting could be tracked and implemented more precisely because the Higher Eye AI generates a heat map of the wall with statistics for the routes, so gym owners can see which ones are preferred by climbers. These might be known to longtime gym staffers, but could be extremely useful when onboarding new gym supervisors so they know the walls and the routes quite well from day one.
Higher Eye data also provides detailed information about each route’s average time to climb, where the climbers drop most often, which areas climbers are spending more time at, etc.
All for wall and wall for all
By introducing smart technologies and AI assistance to the climbing community, Walltopia hopes to make the sport not only safer but also more inclusive, with more community-building passion than ever. “We aim for inclusivity through better routesetting, smarter gym management, and elaborate safety systems,” says Vasil Sharlanov, Head of Sales and Architecture of Walltopia.
As with many other sports where technology is already helping people to track their progress, to save routes, activities and achievements, and to be part of growing online communities, Higher Eye data―and similar digital systems―have the potential to become smart analytic extensions to everyone’s climbing.
“Once we start installing Higher Eye in gyms around the world, we’ll proceed with adding more features such as tailored information for each climber, enabling them to see a recording of their climb and optimize their strategy and moves. Other future versions may also include a Head-Up Display (HUD) feature for each climber that will project valuable real-time information that would always be in the sight of the climber,” explains Deskov.
If you want to be among the first climbing gyms in the world to offer AI-assisted safety to your clients, sign up for a Higher Eye early bird offer by sending an inquiry to email@example.com.
Walltopia has designed, engineered, manufactured and installed more than 1800 projects in over 75 countries on 6 continents. With +20 years of experience in manufacturing climbing structures and a team of +600 professionals, Walltopia can take care of any gym project needs, from gym design to assembly, flooring solutions (Climbmat), holds and volumes (Holdtopia), maintenance and inspection.
Walltopia is also the organizer of the World Indoor Climbing Summit (WICS), an event started in 2018 that focuses on the business side of the indoor climbing industry. Seeing a need for a more globally oriented industry gathering, and as a global supplier which communicates with industry leaders worldwide, Walltopia decided to bring the world of climbing into one place, inviting C-level executives from the industry to Sofia, Bulgaria. WICS hosts a conference program featuring topics on the business of indoor climbing that are valuable to gym owners and other industry leaders.