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Extreme Founder Alistair Gosling Seeks To Connect The Adventure Sports Community Across Borders
DUBAI: Whether it’s trekking the mountain trails of Ras Al-Khaimah, driving a rally in AlUla, cruising the Persian Gulf, or participating in any adventure sport in the world, the world might be about to get smaller for adventure sports athletes.
Alistair Gosling, Founder of Extreme Sports Channel and CEO of Extreme International, has pioneered a new way to connect the growing number of people joining the adventure sports community.
“Previously when you flew somewhere you would go to a little booth at the airport to get a local SIM card, put the SIM card in and get a different number,” he said. “It was a nightmare.”
For Gosling, those days should be made in history. Now, through Extreme Connect, you can download a “virtual” SIM, and users can “switch” between the new e-SIM and their own local operator account at their convenience, on the same smartphone.
“You download the app from anywhere in the world, you decide which local number you want, whether it’s in the UK, Australia or elsewhere, and whatever your local number makes no difference – it works. the same in all countries, ”he said. . “So if you’re in Saudi Arabia and you want to, you download the app and go. It is available worldwide and fully relevant for the Middle East. “
Rates and costs will vary for each country in the region, with different data plans offered. They’ll be especially appealing to those who play extreme sports, Gosling says.
By their very nature, adventure activities tend to take place in remote locations, often with little or little connectivity. It’s a service that almost literally fills a gap in the market.
“From a vision standpoint, we’ve always looked for a telecommunications solution for our community,” said Gosling. “We estimate between 750 and 850 million people regularly active in adventure sports around the world. For example, there is a service in the UK called ‘giffgaff’, which is really geared towards people in tech. For our community we really felt there was a good opportunity to put together a great service focused on people who enjoy mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, motorsports – whatever the adventure. that they can do – and the trips. These two things always go hand in hand, because if you are going to be doing these activities, you are traveling most of the time. “
Gosling started Extreme Sports Channel 21 years ago, and that idea has also been in the works for a long time.
“We’ve been looking at it for about 12 years, so for a long, long time,” he said. “We finally found a few technological partners with whom we were able to piece it together and bring it to life.”
Now, bringing together technology, the cloud-based system and operators in each country has made this vision a reality.
One of the main benefits would be the ability to travel to different regions with different networks without losing connectivity or having to constantly change phone settings.
“Wherever you are in the world, whatever you do, with our network we are sometimes able to move between different carriers,” he said. “So you’re not locked into one carrier. And that can then increase connectivity. One can use 4G and the other can use 3G, and you can connect to whichever has better coverage. “
About 114 countries around the world are already part of this technology, and Gosling can only see the commitment in one direction.
“We have a change in the market going on; this is a fundamental change, ”he said. “In three to five years, the process of getting by with a small SIM card will be gone. We’re running two things at the same time – the change in technology and the virtual SIM card – and then targeting this demographic of adventurer-travelers. No matter where you are in the world, as long as you have an internet connection, you can download the SIM card, and as long as there is a mobile network in any of these 114 countries, the service will work. “
While the service is already in use, the Extreme team deployed it without much fanfare.
“We kept him pretty calm. We haven’t started marketing to consumers, ”Gosling said. “We wanted to launch it, and we’re beta testing it and making sure all user experiences work. There are little issues here and there, and before I throw our real shoulder behind, I want to improve all of those things.
“The adoption was excellent. We’ve issued a press release on business-to-business marketing and nothing else at the moment, but that conversation is starting to shift to the consumer. “
In addition to convenience and price, Gosling is looking to add benefits for new members.
“We have a collection of specific specials that we are working on that will come with the package,” he said. “There are discounted tickets for adventure events with social gatherings. The next thing we’re all working on are tips and tricks from some top athletes, so you can ask them questions, which is interesting. And the next one is for discounts from retailers and brands, like Patagonia, North Face, Quicksilver, Billabong, Rip Curl, and some tech equipment companies. So if you are a member, you get this collection of very targeted benefits. “
Above all, the new technology aligns perfectly with Extreme’s philosophy of climate-friendly initiatives, including participation in Extreme E, the electric SUV rally series.
“Sustainability runs deep in the organization, and that was driven by me, our sustainability manager Amber Nuttall and the team at large,” said Gosling. “The fact that we don’t distribute small pieces of plastic is extremely beneficial.”