Friday, March 3, 2017

New Mammut Barryvox and BarryvoxS avalanche beacons for Fall 2017

The proverbial cat is out of the bag on our new avalanche transceivers, so here is some information for people who have questions about the new beacons or about Mammut's continuing warranty & service for their existing Pulse or Element beacons.  This post has background info and details on the new beacons, as well as a timeline for availability, info for warranty during the transition, and some info for operators utilizing our fleet management tools.

First, a little history:  Barry, the fabled Swiss avalanche rescue dog (link), is the namesake of the Mammut Barryvox beacons—Vox means voice, so BARRYVOX means “Barry’s Voice”, or “the sound of rescue on the way”. Because of this we like to say the Barryvox has been at the forefront of avalanche rescue from the rescue dog, to the very first avalanche beacon technology, and now to the new Barryvox S and Barryvox avalanche transceivers, which will be new in October of 2017.  
The new BarryvoxS avalanche beacon, available Fall 2017, utilizes dynamic screen icons such as the rescuer running down the avalanche path shown here during the signal-search, in order to visually cue a rescuer throughout the search.  Extensive usability testing during development allowed us to find the most intuitive-to-follow icons, as well as help to alleviate some common searching errors.

The existing Pulse Barryvox and Element Barryvox beacons will be replaced by these new beacons and, since we are out for this winter will no longer be available.  Mammut will continue to provide warranty and after-sales service for the Pulse and Element as we have in the past.  Any owners or fleet operators with concerns about this, please read the "Fleet Operators & fleet management tools" section at the bottom of this post and then if you want give us a call at North American HQ at (800) 451-5127, or if you're outside the US and Canada at the Barryvox Service Center in your country (link).

OVERVIEW
The basic functions of both the Pulse and Element are intact in the new beacons, but we dramatically improved the simplicity, ease of use and the performance of both.  Both are 3-antenna beacons with a marking function, and the new development was focused on three main priorities:
 POWERFUL SEARCH, EASY HANDLING and FAST RESCUE.  

The Barryvox S beacon will replace the Pulse as the flagship beacon for both recreational and professional users. (S is for SMART)  
POWERFUL SEARCH:  Up to 70m range, 70m search strip width
EASY HANDLING:  Simple, intuitive, easy to use and ergonomic interface opens this model to many recreational users--this was a huge design focus and we're very happy with the ease of use and simpler navigation of this platform.  
FAST RESCUE:  Faster signal pickup, improved signal retention in multiple burials, improved signal separation for reduced overlap, “Auto-guidance” guides the user through signal overlap, "Smart Search" fine search uses sensor technology to shorten the fine search and make it more forgiving of sloppy technique for all users.  

The Barryvox will replace the Element with ultra-simple and reliable performance for all users. 
POWERFUL SEARCH:  Up to 70m range, 70m search strip width
EASY HANDLING:  Simplest user interface with only 1 button to operate 
FAST RESCUE:   Faster signal pickup, improved signal retention in multiple burials, improved signal separation for reduced overlap.

DETAILS
Barryvox S  is capable of easily solving single, multiple or even extremely difficult multiple burials involving signal overlap.  Compared to its predecessor the Pulse, the Barryvox S has higher performance, a much simpler user interface, and with new background programming that makes searching easier and faster for all users.
Only 1 profile to operate the beacon in “Standard Mode”
No “hidden functions”— easy navigation for all functions
Easier user interface uses only a scroll-bar in combination with one button
Longer range (up to 70m range, 70m Search Strip in Standard Mode)
Faster signal pickup, improved signal separation (reduced "stop stand still" overlap prompts)
Better signal retention  and fewer “ghosting” beacons, keep signal overview throughout search
Auto Guidance” offers continued search guidance during signal overlap, something no other beacon can do.  The beacon pre-maps the flux line and the motion sensor is able to tell where along that line the user is, so in the event of signal overlap the beacon is able to continue the search un-interrupted.  This background feature doesn't require the user to "do" anything, and virtually eliminates the "stop stand still" screen prompt indicating signal overlap.  
Smart Fine Search” uses sensor technology to optimize the fine-search for all users.  The evolution of “intelligent fine search” is easier to use and reduces the fine grid-search to an absolute minimum.  This means the searcher simply follows the arrow in the coarse search, right through the shortened fine search, directly to a "probe here" icon.  
This all sounds like a lot, but the above points are mostly behind the scenes and the user is not aware it’s happening and doesn't have to "do" anything.
Pro Search” menu option is a on/off user-configuration that allows access to the “Alternate Search mode" for users who will practice alternate search strategies such as micro-strips, three-circle or micro-box, to solve the most difficult multiple burial searches that involve both close-proximity burials and signal overlap, as well as extended range which can be utilized in specific situations such as tree-well searches.  The Easier interface and “intuitively ergonomic” navigation opens this functionality to many recreational users—this function provides a reliable indication of exactly when to switch to an alternate search strategy versus when you can rely on the signal separation.  Educators will especially appreciate the simplicity of teaching this beacons' advanced functions compared to the Pulse, as all brands of beacons require similar "alternate search" techniques in the event of close-proximity multiple burials, the Pro Search function simply offers an easy way to recognize when the searcher needs to switch to an alternate search strategy due to signal overlap, versus the usual scenario when they can continue to rely on the beacon's signal separation.  

The Barryvox is super-simple and is capable of extremely easy single-burial searches as well as complex multiple burial searches using the enhanced signal separation.
Easiest user interface uses only one button
Long range (up to 70m range, 70m Search Strip)
Faster signal pickup, improved signal-separation (reduced "stop stand still" overlap prompts)
Better signal retention  and fewer “ghosting” beacons, keep signal overview throughout search
The Barryvox S and Barryvox both use the new Barrymount carrying system.  This harness is one-hand accessible and prevents the beacon from accidentally switching to Search while in the harness.
Other improvements
Both beacons feature a new switch that has no mid-positions so the switch doesn't get hung-up in-between the OFF/SEND/SEARCH positions--this means it cant be "on" but then because the switch hasn't locked in place accidentally move to off or search--the positive switch-lock prevents this.  They are also much less likely to accidentally turn on in storage or transport.  Both beacons feature very large screens (2.2” BarryvoxS, 2.0” Barryvox) that are backlit for easy visibility in bright sunlight or darkness and function with polarized lenses.  The battery compartment features an easily replaceable door with enhanced durability, all replaceable battery contacts, and a slightly larger space for a more forgiving fit with various battery brands.  The Barrymount carrying system features easier adjustment and one-handed operation and prevents stowing the beacon while in SEARCH and prevents the beacon from being switched to either SEARCH or OFF while stowed.

WHO ARE THEY FOR?
The Barryvox is the simplest beacon and will appeal to those who place the highest priority on simplicity.  The Barryvox has by far the longest range in it's class, and new background programming that provides very fast signal pickup and reduces the incidence of signal-overlap during multiple burial searches makes this beacon even easier to use and more effective than its predecessor the Element.  

The BarryvoxS  provides the same benefits as the Barryvox, along with some built-in refinements and enhanced functionality.  Users will choose to buy up to the S for two reasons:
1) “Auto Guidance” and “Smart Search” background programming provides both new and seasoned users with improved functionality and faster, uninterrupted searches.  These features operate in the background in the beacons standard operating mode, so the user doesn't have to "do" anything, simply follow the arrow all the way through the search, which culminates in a "probe here" icon.
2) Access to the “Pro Search” function in order to definitively tell the user when to switch to an alternate search strategy (micro strips, etc) to quickly identify and solve close-proximity multiple burials involving signal overlap.  Whereas the Pulse had a reputation of being more involved to use in its advanced settings, the far easier user interface and intuitive navigation opens this function up to many recreational users.

Timing
The BarryvoxS has already been in use by Canadian Mountain Holidays at one of their remote fly-in lodges this winter.  A few additional beacons have been used by journalists, educators and others, and the final, final feedbacks are being incorporated into the finished units this Winter and Spring.  The new Barryvox and Barryvox S beacons will become available for sale in North America around October 1, 2017.  In the interim, it's possible that you will start seeing a few sneak-peaks and product reviews, such as this one from Wildsnow (link).    

Fleet Operators & fleet management tools
For operators where having a homogeneous fleet is important, we'll do our best to accommodate your needs.  We are no longer able to supply new Pulse or Element beacons, but we have a limited supply of dedicated warranty-replacement beacons should we need to replace one of your beacons under our 5-year warranty.  At some point over the next couple years we will run out of these.  After that time, any replacement under warranty will need to be with the new BarryvoxS and Barryvox beacons.  We know this isn't a perfect solution so if you have concerns please give us a call and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.

For operators utilizing Mammut's fleet management tools (link) the new beacons will work with the W-link Adaptor and Tester similarly to the Pulse and Element.  A new Service Software version will be necessary to work with the new beacons, which should be available Fall of 2018.  We'll have more details on this as we get closer.

If you have questions about the new beacons please don't hesitate to contact us.


2 comments:

  1. Looking forward to seeing these in the wild.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're getting word they'll be shipping to retailers in the US and Canada right around October 1st, shouldn't be long now!

      Delete