Throughout the western hemisphere, the Atlantic hurricane season lays its affects to more than 35 million businesses and homes. Due to this, millions of people are left to live in fear as a result of torrential rains and devastating winds. Even more worse is the fact that these conditions lead to the destruction of power lines thereby leaving these people without electricity and communications that make them unable to make calls in search for help.
The strong storm surges renders people unproductive throughout the region in the gulf cost of the United States which in turn leads to the shutting down of companies operations. The communication systems go down and companies are left in isolation from their customers, clients and the entire world at large. Land based cellular and radio telecom services become unreliable due to floods and winds and the only means of communication that people can turn to is satellite equipment. This is simply because satellite networks like Inmarsat, iridium and Lightsquared are the only ones capable of delivering communication.
During these difficult times, you really need a satellite phone. Phones such as the iSatPhone Pro is powered by the Inmarsat network as well as the Iridium 9555 satellite phones are highly recommended. This is simply because these phones offer high quality network service as well as a superior network coverage footprint. These phones are therefore in a position to help you or your company to stay connected throughout the hurricane season especially in the aftermath of Ike and hurricanes Gustav.
During the hurricane disaster recovery periods, wireless communication equipment which includes iridium satellite phones can be used to facilitate public safety to both individuals and companies seeking dependable communication systems.
These phones are capable of facilitating communication when cities are faced by power outages and when cellular networks are down. This is very essential in that it ensures that there is connectivity between employees and hence continuous productivity and competitiveness.
In the bid for disaster preparedness, it is recommended that one acquires his or her satellite phone in advance. This is simply because during the hurricane season the demand for these phones goes high and on the other hand their delivery by the suppliers gets delayed depending on the projection path of the hurricane. It is therefore necessary to purchase these phones as soon as possible before the storms are upon us.
Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) satellite terminals provide an effective means of communication to remote locations where terrestrial connectivity may prove inefficient or inaccessible for use in such locales. Although BGAN devices are promoted for use in areas with underdeveloped or nonexistent telecommunications, these devices are also invaluable in situations that require prompt establishment of contact between those within the field and the base of operations. The following offers ten excellent reasons why BGAN satellite terminals are suitable for industries and organizations that rely on remote site monitoring and management of networks and equipment.
-BGAN satellite terminals offer reliable voice and data communication links between remote locations at a lower cost than other forms of terrestrial communication.
-BGAN devices can be configured to collect and transmit data for remote monitoring applications, as well as transmit command and control instructions to offsite equipment. Remote access can be facilitated without expending personnel or other valuable resources.
-Service coverage for a BGAN device extends globally, with exception to the poles. Maritime communication is also available via BGAN, with some limitations.
-BGAN terminals are built to operate under a wide variety of adverse weather conditions, providing reliable connectivity even in the most extreme weather.
-External battery devices allow the BGAN satellite terminal to continue operation after it loses its main power source in the field.
-BGAN terminals feature a compact form factor that allow for a greater degree of versatility regarding the placement of these devices. This compact form also allows for greater ease of deployment, as installers no longer have to deal with bulky equipment during the deployment process.
-Setup of a BGAN terminal only takes a matter of minutes to complete, making these devices valuable for disaster response, military operations and other applications where prompt deployment is critical. Many BGAN devices can connect to a nearby satellite signal and attain full connectivity with just the push of a button.
-BGAN terminals offer the fastest speeds of any satellite-based global data link, with a lower latency than most other systems.
-Users can connect to their BGAN satellite terminal using a wide array of devices, including Bluetooth, USB and Ethernet cables. Some terminals are also equipped to handle ISDN telephone calls, faxes and SMS text messages.
-The cost of purchasing and owning a BGAN terminal makes it worthwhile for organizations with strict fiscal budgets. BGAN Satellite terminals do not require a heavy initial investment, nor do they require expensive upkeep.
BGAN satellite terminals are a cost effective and flexible method of monitoring and communicating with remote work sites where ordinary terrestrial communications are simply not an option. Those within the oil, utility, mining and defense industries, as well as disaster response, telemedicine and world travelers have experienced the benefits of utilizing BGAN Satellite Communication Technology for effective and reliable communications in remote places around the world.
Industrial control systems generate huge amounts of data, traditionally monitored by information technology personnel. The introduction of BGAN M2M communication has made possible increased automation of monitoring and settings changes in supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA
) systems used in factories, large office buildings, water and electrical utility systems and oil and gas pipelines and installations.
This automation can alleviate the necessity for often expensive and arduous travel to remote locations. BGAN M2M
applications can link smart meters to a utility grid, collect oil well data, monitor the condition of oil and natural gas pipelines or communicate the equipment state of a wind farm to a central location. The increased flow of data allows a pre-emptive
and pro-active approach to equipment maintenance which can only favor increased safety and security.
The BGAN network extends the reach of M2M communication to the entire globe, even to very remote locations where the communications infrastructure has failed or never existed. The BGAN satellite network offers simultaneous voice and data connections and covers the whole
planet, except for its polar regions. This extensive coverage makes BGAN M2M devices ideal for disaster response and telemedicine
programs, as well as for news coverage and business continuity after natural disasters and during periods of political unrest, when communications outages are likely.
Unlike previously bulky satellite terminals, BGAN's highly portable receivers are rarely larger or heavier than a laptop and are extremely simple to install, point and activate. A Sky News correspondent used the BGAN Satellite
network to cover the fall of Tripoli in August 2011, for example, much of it while in motion and from the back of a truck. Shipboard installations are also possible, and specialized BGAN M2M receivers exist as well for use in aircraft, overcoming the problems that doppler shifts pose for traditional receivers.BGAN M2M
models offer features specifically geared to SCADA
installations, for instance automatic restart in the event of a power outage, keep-alive link supervision to maintain data connections even for periods of inactivity as long as 12 hours, and auto context activation allowing static orDHCP
connections over either TCP or UDP
networks. An optional battery provides power backup if needed.
BGAN M2M receivers do require a line of sight to one of the three I-4 geostationary satellites, most likely from out of doors. Assuming the user already knows the general direction of the satellite, a connection typically only requires about two minutes, one for experienced users. In addition, BGAN M2M receivers are ruggedly built and designed to withstand extreme weather conditions.
BGAN M2M devices can minimize travel needs for data collection and management, allowing information technology personnel to focus on the broader picture and implement planned maintenance strategies. Onsite personnel can transmit and receive data after only minimal training, improving communications with off-grid and other remote location. Field personnel like mining engineers and rescue workers can get information to base in a more timely manner, improving operational efficiency and the likelihood of desired outcomes.
Certainly the BGAN M2M along with the Inmarsat network deserves a look from any organization that operates in backcountry and remote locations, both from the point of view of safety and improved operational efficiencies.
As we try to build the national Smart Grid in the most productive ways possible, one must think about all of the different types of technology without favoring one communications or networking technology above another. Taking into account its growing importance, satellite networking technology must play a decisive part in Smart Grid initiatives for the utility industry.
Satellite SCADA solutions deliver:
The mobile satellite communications market is totally devoted to delivering an innovative category of Internet Protocol (IP)-based communications such as Satellite SCADA. A powerful smart grid depends on a strong network and remote communications infrastructure. This is significant for businesses to take into account whenever implementing their very own smart grid endeavors. It is not realistic to expect any one-size-fits-all communications solution to suit smart grid execution. By far the most practical strategy to satisfy this demand will be to take advantage of the wide array of transport technologies out there while counting on common open standards, like the aforementioned Internet Protocol (IP) standard, to incorporate into a individual overall network architecture. Although numerous types of broadband platforms might be employed, it is the businesses perception that the IP standard should be used for the end-to-end network layer should be used for the end-to-end network layer.
Satellite SCADA based services are an essential part of the multi-technology strategy demanded by the utility industry to obtain an end-to-end, smart grid communications infrastructure -- one that will be reliable, fast, secure, and cost-efficient. Accordingly, the DOE must establish guidelines that are technology-neutral, never favoring an individual communications or networking technology more than another.
Established satellite networks can be leveraged straight away to satisfy communications demands for utilities and Smart Grid. Satellite posseses an essential function for Smart Grid applications in the following crucial areas
Distribution Automation - A single, higher availability connection with an entry way which is fed by distribution devices, supports the traffic profile, high availability, and ubiquity.
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) - Satellite provides a high-quality, affordable alternative to the conventional technologies, which have suffered with congestion, loss in coverage during disaster, and limited range. Satellite operates on safe networks, are not susceptible to public usage and its utilization of innovative antenna designs provide for much easier set up.
Mobile Work Force - New satellite technology may cost-effectively deliver rewards such as on-the-move vehicle connectivity and higher bandwidth
Disaster Recovery - Satellite technology is integral to disaster-recovery programs of utilities. Actually, the National Broadband Plan recommended the "use of broadband fixed and mobile satellite service for emergency preparedness and response activities, as well as for national security, homeland security, continuity and crisis management."
Clearly, broadband IP Satellite SCADA services are fundamental to our nations foreseeable future, and needs to be looked at as the most effective solutions to permit the Smart Grid to function at optimum efficiency.
The next stage in unmanned IP data connectivity will be available soon with the release in February, 2012 of the Inmarsat BGAN M2M. A cost-effective alternative to saturated terrestrial cellular networks, this technology has been ideally made for the Utilities, Oil and Gas. Along with its ubiquitous coverage, the BGAN Satellite SCADA M2M allows for the following applications, among others:
· IP and non-IP SCADA
· Secure ATM/POS solutions
· Fixed Asset Monitoring
Inmarsat's proprietary satellite communications technology will provide a global, IP-based low-data rate service for individuals and companies needing to accommodate permanently unmanned environments with high levels of data availability.
Custom suited for fixed assets such as pipelines and oil well heads, or backhauling electricity consumption data within a utility, BGAN M2M enables high frequency, low latency data reporting.
Considering BGAN Satellite SCADA M2M is a fixed Standard IP service, those who use the device can take advantage of data speeds in excess of 100kbps in both directions, while also allowing for the capability to transmit larger data grabs or interacting with remote devices on an IP session.
Along with the speed, you also have the ability to monitor your fixed operations wherever they are located due to Inmarsat’s award-winning I-4 satellite network, which is a collection of three satellites that cover all surfaces of the earth. Even with the cutting-edge technology, this product still comes with a simple plug-and-play terminal that allows for easy access.
Since the BGAN M2M is satellite based, with the availability of coverage being 99.9%, the connectivity will almost never be an issue for business-critical applications. While terrestrial or cellular tech can experience outages in severe weather or other extenuating circumstances, Inmarsat’s satellites are in a "geostationary" position, insulating them from the common communication issues felt by land based technology.
As for investing in this technology, hardware costs will be highly competitive, with transparent pricing packages normally based on monthly data usage, between 2 and 8mb, allowing for managers to have full visibility of costs.
The BGAN M2M offers ubiquitous machine-to-machine communications for increased operational efficiency, along with real-time visibility of operations and simple integration into your operations. For a more tangible look at the technology, be sure to go over the Land Service Comparison and the Land Applications and Services Information.
Until recently, maritime communications have been quite basic. As technology has progressed, boat owners have finally been given the tools they need to feel confident and safe out on open water. Had it not been for cutting edge communication systems, specifically the Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro, an American family of seven whose boat was taking on water 50 miles from shore may have been in a really bad situation. Luckily for them, the disastrous implications of a capsizing vessel was not enough to put their lives at risk due to their choice in satellite communications.
Beginning like any other day, James Dutton gathered everyone on his 29-foot boat and shoved off in search of bountiful fishing. The only difference with this particular voyage was the inclusion of an IsatPhone Pro handheld device that his wife Misty purchased for the vessel just five days earlier at GMPS.
It was smooth sailing until the crew noticed the boat was taking on water as they began the journey back to shore. Being an experienced sailor, James Dutton made sure to release a SART search and rescue radar device, while grabbing a GPS device and his IsatPhone Pro.
Using the IsatPhone Pro, Inmarsat’s proprietary global satellite handheld phone, James was able to quickly call for help.
Having to jump overboard, the family was taking another risk by entering shark patrolled waters. In any other situation, James and his crew would be helpless, waiting to see if anyone would respond to his mayday, but with the IsatPhone Pro, Mr. Dutton got in immediate contact with his wife Misty, who was still on shore, and was able to talk to her on a clear quality line while she alerted help.
"I was panicked, of course," Misty later said. "But I managed to get his co-ordinates from him and contacted the coast guard."
In the end, James and the six others were brought to safety, knowing that it could have been very different if not for the IsatPhone Pro
Having the phone gave both parties piece of mind considering they were able to speak with each other for 30 minutes while they waited for rescue. Being able to convey that he was in fact able to see their eventual rescuers was surely a wonderful feeling for both Misty and James.
In what can be looked at as the ultimate vote of confidence for a particular product, the elite Australian search and rescue teams are now including the IsatPhone Pro handset in all of the survival packs that they issue to vessels in danger.
After an extensive trial run of various handset communication devices, where the Canberra based Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) employed exhaustive testing, they chose to go with Inmarsat's IsatPhone Pro.
As the primary source of communications for vessels in danger, the IsatPhone Pro will be used in each of AMSA’s tier one AeroRescue Dornier aircraft.
Up to this point, AMSA has already supplied seven of the handsets in emergency packs for incidents involving stranded yachts. In these cases, the handset is dropped inside a metal capsule, along with a standard radio kit, food, water, and first aid supplies. The handsets have also been used in multiple instances involving motorists whose cars have broken down in the Australian outback.
One of the IsatPhone’s biggest supporters, Gary Stevens, the AMSA search and rescue training and resources officer, has been quick to acknowledge some to the handsets great features.
“The phones are loaded with 100 minutes of pre-paid talk time. The IsatPhone Pro is programmed with several RCC numbers and is the preferred means of communicating with us if there is an extended rescue time expected.”
"The phone is not locked, so survivors may call friends and family as well as the RCC.” Stevens also mentioned.
Along with these important factors, simple instructions are supplied with the phone, including how to employ the antenna and receive incoming calls, along with how to display the user’s GPS position. This user-friendly approach allows those in emergency situations to focus on getting rescued, rather than figuring out the intricacies of their communications device.
Seeing the efficiency of the device first hand, Mr. Stevens went on the say, “We feel this will become a permanent addition to our survival kits.”
Considering that Australia contains some of the most treacherous geography in the world, both on land and at sea, getting a vote of confidence from the leader of one of Australia’s best search and rescue teams is a sure sign that the IsatPhone Pro is unsurpassed in quality and demonstrated effectiveness.
As one of the most exciting and dangerous competitions in the world, the Volvo Ocean Race has become a must-see for anyone who has a passion for sailing. Leg One of the 2011-12 race has commenced with six of the best sailing crews on the globe leaving Alicante, Spain with their eye aimed directly at Cape Town, South Africa. The nine month long race, made up of an equal number of legs, is figured to garner a viewership of 2 billion people, making this a high-stakes event for the crew, its sponsors, and the companies who provide the equipment that enable these boats to reach the limits of their potential. One of the most vital aspects of a teams success is taking advantage of leading communication technology. This has been an issue for sailors since the beginning, but now, with the help of Inmarsat's FleetBroadband Marine Satellite Communications, these difficulties are becoming a thing of the past.
You could say that sailing is somewhat of a beautiful contradiction these days. Although its primary function: "propulsion of a boat using sails" is still the most integral part of the sport, the introduction of new methods, material and ideas to help increase speed, safety and efficiency of the crew has kept the sport at the cutting edge of technology. Not only are boats turning into F1 race-cars with regard to the advanced make-up and build, but also with analytics and communication. Top yachts can track their progress and make adjustments real-time using on-board systems that analyze every aspect.
The Volvo Ocean Race in particular demands the best from the crews competing and requires a boat that is outfitted with the most advanced technology to date, not the least of which is satellite communications. Luckily for the crews, FleetBroadband Marine Satellite Communications is giving them all the tools necessary to complete the race faster and safer than ever. Launched in 2007, FleetBroadband provides telephone and internet simultaneously through a highly compact antennae anywhere in the world. It is the first marine satellite services system to simultaneously provide voice and high speed data service to any body of water around the globe.
Delivered via the most advanced commercial communications satellites ever launched, Inmarsat's FleetBroadband allows you to send and receive email with large file attachments, comfortably run complex data applications and make voice calls at the same time, more affordably than ever before. Regardless of the type of size of the vessel, FleetBroadband offers a compact solution that can easily be accommodated, providing the boat with optimal connectivity, no matter what the conditions, or where you are.The system is easy to install, allows immediate network integration, enables total flexibility, is cost-effective, and offers complete security.
Not only are your communications instantly upgraded, but fans can feel more connected to the race itself by being able to receive live videos, photos, and blogs in real-time. This interactive process will surely help the sport gain new audiences wherever internet access is available. Allowing those who would not have previously been able to view the race to watch the grand spectacle is a positive for everyone involved.
As the competitors round the Cape of Good Hope and continue pushing the limits of their sport, all while traversing the globe, they have a certain confidence in the factors that used to be unpredictable and inefficient. With proper maritime communication systems, our Volvo Ocean Race crews can feel safe and confident that they have the resources to do great things.
Intentions for new and enhanced products and services
BGAN M2M service
Inmarsat is planning to launch a new BGAN machine to machine (M2M) platform and service consisting of new user terminals that can access the BGAN M2M services and new pricing.
The intent is to address more fully the market opportunity for users that require a low cost terminal specifically designed for data reporting / SCADA applications with unmanned functionality and reliability. BGAN M2M terminals will be based on either Class1 or 2 functionality and will be packet switched only. Service introduction for BGAN M2M with the HNS9502 is intended for February 2012.
IsatPhone Pro - personal alerting feature
Inmarsat is designing a personal alerting feature for IsatPhone Pro. For the consumer market, this functionality is for peace of mind; for the corporate market, demand is driven by duty of care by employers, and in some instances, it is a legal requirement that lone workers in remote areas have a means of contact. The personal alert feature is incorporated into the IsatPhone Pro man machine interface menu structure. As with most alerting features, it is a two step procedure, i.e. on activating the alert, the handset would query and then the user would confirm the action.
This new feature is intended for release by December 2011.
Multi-voice on FleetBroadband
The multi-voice service will be offered by Inmarsat to fulfill the strong market demand for additional voice lines on FleetBroadband, especially for segregation of bridge communication from other operational or crew calling facilities. This enhanced voice service now allows up to 9 voice calls supporting the standard range of supplementary services offered for existing telephony voice service. In particular, each additional call will be allocated a unique number and be fully interoperable with short code dialling and pre-paid platforms.
The Inmarsat multi-voice service will be enabled across existing and new FleetBroadband terminals subject to implementation by the manufacturer (Thrane confirmed that they will do it). Existing terminals will require either a firmware upgrade or an external multi-voice PBX to support the service. On the network ground infrastructure, the BGAN platform is being upgraded with packetized voice infrastructure and new billing subsystem capabilities to offer this service enhancement.
This capability will be offered as two options during SIM activation, a standard multi-voice option providing four voice lines and an enhanced multi-voice option providing 9 voice lines. The enhanced multi-voice option is available for FleetBroadband users with a FleetBroadband 250 or a FleetBroadband 500 terminal.
The multi-voice service is intended to become available from April 2012.
Dynamic telemetry service (DTS) for FleetBroadband
Inmarsat is developing a new dynamic telemetry service (DTS) data reporting service for FleetBroadband in response to maritime requirements. The FleetBroadband DTS service will enable a range of services from position reporting to engine monitoring as well as many other applications. The FleetBroadband DTS service represents a step change in data polling capabilities from Inmarsat C or Isat Data Pro services. The roll-out of FleetBroadband DTS services will require a firmware upgrade for existing FleetBroadband terminals that will be made available by FleetBroadband manufacturers.
Inmarsat intends service availability in early 2012 with selected hardware manufacturers. We are currently evaluating this service and when/if we will be supporting it.
Sending video updates to the expedition website, Impossible2Possible Expedition Bolivia used Inmarsat’s BGAN Service to broadcast live chemistry experiments to schools across North America during a run across the Salar de Uyni salt flats in the Bolivian Andes. The Salar de Uyni salt flats are the largest salt flats in the world. During the 7 day expedition the students ran 200km (124 miles), crossing the massive 4,085 square miles of the salt flats. Expedition Boliviais the fourth adventure run by the Impossible2Possible Experiential Learning Program, known for providing online educational support to schools around the world.
Dubbed “youth Ambassadors’, Ray Zahab, the program founder, invited five students to run across the salt flats at altitudes of up to 4,572 meters (15,000 ft). The students were joined by Dr. George Agnes, a chemistry professor from Simon Fraser University in California and Dr Greg Wells, an expert in human physiology from Toronto. In celebration of the International Year of Chemistry, the scientists conducted live experiments designed to explain the natural elements of Salar de Uyuni - including the properties of salt and the effect of high altitude on the human body. Using BGAN X-Stream to stream live video, the GUARANTEED data rates from 384 up to 450kbps provided the speeds necessary to share the experiments with thousands of students in real time.
"BGAN has provided us with exceptional broadband connectivity in the harsh Siberian wilderness, the Tunisian desert and now the remote Andes," said Zahab. I'm continually impressed by the system's durability and reliability, which has helped us bring our message of education, inspiration and empowerment to millions worldwide."
During the expedition Inmarsat also provided a range of value-added services including its BGAN Dashboard to monitor and control airtime usage, and GPS tracking to follow the expedition and ensure their safety