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Iridium Partners Introduce Hurricane Equipment And Service Packages

Voice and data communications for outdoors/indoors use available to first responders and commanders.
by Staff Writers
Bethesda MD (SPX) Jun 14, 2006
With the U.S. hurricane season officially underway, Iridium Satellite announces that many of its partners have introduced special emergency communications equipment and service offerings. Iridium is ideal for backup communications to replace land-based, cellular and radio telecom services often inoperable due to winds and flooding.

In addition, unlike most other systems, Iridium is interoperable with all other emergency communications systems, including UHF and VHF radios, as well as others.

"Iridium partner packages address the very real and immediate challenge faced by first-responders in disaster situations - the simple tasks of talking to each other, and of tracking their supplies and personnel - in and out of buildings," said Greg Ewert, executive vice president, Iridium Satellite.

"Mobile satellite services play an important role, especially within the first 72 hours of a crisis. Our partners are geared up to be able to immediately ship equipment into the hurricane hot zones or other disaster scenes."

The following emergency response and business continuity solutions from Iridium partners are available to first responders and commanders, businesses, governments and citizens:

Blue Sky Network (BSN) offers solutions for responding organizations that allow them to maintain real-time knowledge of responders and assets. BSN is the leading provider of global satellite logistics solutions for two-way linking and managing remote transportation assets.

Using its interactive Web portal, "SkyRouter," with detailed mapping, BSN links enterprises to personnel and assets anywhere on Earth over the Iridium satellite network. Its Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-certified data and voice products enable users to customize features including safety and event reporting.

Eagle Broadband Inc. is offering new flexibility to the traditional satellite phone with its SatMAX indoor/outdoor, Iridium-based, advanced satellite communications system. Historically limited by the requirement of satellite phones for line-of-sight access to orbiting satellites, emergency responders now have the ability to access dependable and uninterrupted communication from any location via the SatMAX system during disaster recovery.

Available as both fixed and mobile units, SatMAX creates a satellite communications "hotspot," allowing more flexibility by enabling multiple callers to use Iridium-based satellite phones in both outdoor and indoor settings without losing a signal.

General Dynamics offers satellite communication services enabled by the Iridium network providing a wide array of emergency response equipment from satellite phones, pagers and solar chargers to more sophisticated units such as the Reachback inverse multiplexing device.

The General Dynamics Reachback unit features four channels offering increased bandwidth for remote or mobile transmission of data and voice. It also enables users to compress, send and exchange video, text, voice and images via the Iridium system using the General Dynamics SelectFocus image/video compression and exploitation suite of software products.

Global Satellite USA provides marine, land and military electronics for navigation and communication, providing Iridium hardware, accessories and air time for organizations requiring infrastructure to keep their operations running and their employees safe in an emergency.

Global Satellite provides Iridium 9505A satellite phones, which are rugged, weather resistant and encryption-capable, and offer data communications and two-way Short Messaging Service (SMS) capability. Through the company's SatDirect service, customers can even assign local numbers to their Iridium phones.

The company offers an extensive rental program with same day shipping of satellite phones in the event of an emergency. In addition, the company's PlaneSight video transmission system for aircraft provides cost efficient, live video surveillance capabilities, and can manage everything from video to Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking to text messaging.

GMPCS Personal Communications offers a guaranteed rental availability program whereby, for a small fee, a responder organization or company can ensure they have satellite phones available for rent as a storm approaches. GMPCS has increased its stock of Iridium phones and has hundreds packaged in pelican cases for emergency shipment (or to be held in reserve for guaranteed rental customers).

This guaranteed rental availability program provides emergency organizations, businesses and citizens with an affordable alternative assuring access to vital communications during emergencies.

IDL has created the MXU 2000, a multi-channel satellite communications system that connects PBXs, public switched telephone networks and telephones to the Iridium global satellite system. Available in two- or four-channel models, the MXU is a solid solution for organizations that require emergency communications services, communications with remote locations, or their own private communications network.

The MXU is the backbone of the BECoN System (backup emergency communication network), which provides government agencies, public safety organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with a turnkey, field deployable, emergency communications network that completely bypasses traditional communications methods.

Organizations can use the MXU for standard communications with remote locations or to backup voice and data networks. Using the MXU as a hub for a private communications network, organizations can often reduce international long distance costs.

Infosat provides service to first responders, utilities, governments and resource companies to ensure satellite communications services are available and in place when the need arises.

Infosat packages Iridium phones in water- proof cases and assigns toll-free calling numbers to each phone for easy access (especially important for making it easy to reach the Iridium user). One-way Iridium pagers are also available and widely used by police, fire and other emergency organizations, as they can be used indoors and they operate off regular AA batteries. Infosat keeps a large inventory of satellite phones at its offices in Texas and in Canada.

Roadpost has created the Iridium GRAB & GO Kit which includes a fully charged Iridium handset, additional spare battery, foldable solar charger and easy-to-understand user guide, all protected inside a lightweight, durable, waterproof carry case that is able to withstand almost any condition.

The kit is coupled with Roadpost's Iridium Emergency Plan, featuring a low annual service fee and no monthly charges. Roadpost also offers a number of fixed satellite solutions that can be easily integrated into corporate telephone systems allowing companies to leverage their existing telecommunications infrastructure with the reliability of Iridium's satellite network. Simple to install and easy to use, Roadpost fixed satellite solutions are a vital part of any business that cannot afford to be without an emergency back-up plan.

World Communication Center (WCC) offers a custom-manufactured "Hot Shot Kit" (HSK), based on Iridium's comprehensive global satellite technology, allowing emergency management teams to communicate even in the absence of landlines and cell towers.

The portable kit provides all the telephone, e-mail and Internet accessibility needed for a team of up to 32 to communicate between each other and back to base.

With all equipment safely contained in a sealed, rugged, waterproof case, WCC's HSK meets the needs of emergency responders for such scenarios as disaster and rescue operations, crisis management, emergency preparedness, business continuity, non-profit and volunteer operations and back-up communications for government, tribal officials and remote businesses and residences - especially those prone to extreme weather.

WCC's HSK provides a vital communications connection that implements within seconds and can run for hours without external power.

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