The Inmarsat IsatHub Satellite Wi-Fi Hotspot Has Arrived

Imagine a new service from Inmarsat that will enable your smart phone or tablet to work seamlessly, anywhere on the planet*, completely independent of cellular or fixed networks.IsatHub, available now, enables you to talk, text, and access the Internet on your smart device, anywhere inside – or outside – the coverage of cellular or terrestrial comms, with one global tariff.We all know how much we depend on our smart devices for work, pleasure, and keeping in touch with friends and family. Empowering you to stay in touch wherever you go, this new service represents a significant step-change in your own personal connectivity, worldwide.IsatHub will enable yoIsatHub2u to continue to use your Apple or Android smartphone or tablet beyond the reach of cellular or terrestrial networks. The service is accessed via an app on your device, which connects to a new, low-cost terminal, smaller than an ipad.

You will feel empowered knowing you can talk, text and access the internet with your personal or work smart devices wherever you go. In some sectors this will prove to be part of everyday life, such as, journalists who rely on social media and other digital channels to update their readers on news as it happens.

And of IsatHubcourse, using data speeds of up to 384kbps and an unrivalled network availability of 99.9 per cent, no other mobile satellite operator can offer this level of performance and reliability for smart device connectivity.

* Coverage is over the global Inmarsat-4 satellite network, which excludes extreme polar regions

The IsatHub is available to buy now for just £795.00 ex VAT

 

WiFi Winston brings internet access to remote Africa

BGAN is helping remote African communities to experience the internet for the first time via a vehicle named WiFi Winston.WiFi-Winston

The four-by-four is showcasing the power of connectivity using an Explorer 325 BGAN vehicular terminal, helping underserved communities to see how their lives and work opportunities can be enhanced with internet access.

Winston is three months through a planned nine-month long journey across the country and East Africa, providing free WiFi within a 50 metre radius at each stop.

WiFi for education

The initiative is part of Project Isizwe, a non-profit organization, which aims to bring the internet to communities through free WiFi for public spaces, with a core focus on connectedness for education.

It also aims to encourage local governments to introduce WiFi, helping it to plan, roll-out and maintain free networks.

“Inmarsat’s connectivity is absolutely instrumental to the project. Without connectivity we’re selling the dream without showing them what the dream is,” said Gerrit Scholtz, Winston’s ‘pilot’.

Increase opportunities

“The feedback we’ve been getting back has given us a snapshot of how connectivity can improve people’s life chances in terms of education as well as health and job opportunities. Most commonly people have said they would use WiFi to read more and learn.

“Amazingly the kids wanted to see photos of Nelson Mandela’s funeral. I was almost taken aback when they asked and their enthusiasm to know more about the event was incredibly heartwarming.”

He added: “A few communities have indicated that they would like to take our initial conversations around free WiFi further. Both national and provincial government have placed broadband strategies in place and we’re there to help fulfil their obligations.”

Social media

Inmarsat’s BGAN also enables Project Isizwe to update social media and increase awareness about WiFi Winston through Twitter and Instagram.

James Cemmell, Inmarsat’s Head of Government Affairs, said: “Project Isizwe seeks to eliminate the market failure for connectivity by showcasing the possibilities to excluded communities and creating groundswell demand. The attributes of Inmarsat connectivity – easy to use, very reliable, high availability network – are each advantaged by this project.”

Project Isizwe was founded by e-entrepreneur Alan Knott-Craig, founder of Ever Africa which sells eCommerce, games, education, eBooks and telecoms in Africa.

Inmarsat BGAN helps deliver healthcare to remote areas in two innovative cases

BGAN satellite broadband is being used to improve high mortality rates and maternity care in the Amazon and West Africa.

TSF deploys BGAN in the Amazon

TSF deploys BGAN in the Amazon

In the Amazon where one in ten mothers and their babies die before their 1st birthday, Inmarsat-sponsored aid agency Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) is using BGAN in the region’s first ever eHealth network.  The network allows health professionals to provide pre-natal, birth and post-natal care at four isolated health centres – improving the diagnosis and care of around 40,000 mothers and their babies.

Healthcare professionals use the Cobham Explorer 700 to feed back medical conditions and obtain advice

Healthcare professionals use the Cobham Explorer 700 to feed back medical conditions and obtain advice

TSF installed the Cobham SATCOM Explorer 700 terminals after training technicians and health professionals at the health centres spread over the Rio Negro region in the north-west of the rainforest.

Using the terminals, midwives will be able to consult with other healthcare specialists at the main clinic in the town of São Gabriel da Cachoeira to remotely monitor and diagnose conditions.

An eHealth project using Inmarsat’s BGAN in Gabon, West Africa has shown how people living in a remote rainforest can benefit greatly from telemedicine.  The project used a BGAN terminal to transmit ultrasound images to doctors at a local hospital and to Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA, where they could consult with patients in real-time.

Eye exam: images are remotely reviewed by doctors

Eye exam: images are remotely reviewed by doctors

Mathieu Forgues, a Harvard medical student, used a battery-powered VSee Telemedicine Field Kit alongside the BGAN terminal which comprises of an iPad, diagnostic tools and medical devices such as ultrasound equipment. It provides high-quality video across four camera feeds, allowing doctors to see the patient and real-time medical images and readings when connected to the internet via BGAN.

Mathieu travelled 50 minutes by boat from the local hospital, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, to two remote villages where he carried out ultrasound chest and ear check-ups on children.  The images were then relayed to Dr Jean-Daniels at Albert Schweitzer Hospital, which serves a large catchment of up to 60 villages.  Mathieu said: “For many villagers, especially children, this is the only chance they will have to see a doctor because there may be only one paediatrician in the area.”

Becky Wai, VSee’s Director of Medical Services, said: “Inmarsat plays an essential role in extending medical services, remote health consultations or online health education and training to rural and remote areas that are otherwise without the internet.

“The BGAN terminal is small enough to put it in a backpack and it’s ready to use in less than a minute when in the field. There’s no complicated set-up and configuration – just pressing a few buttons.

“During the two trial visits to the village, Inmarsat was 100 per cent reliable, offering all needed services to link remote medical teams to city-based doctors.”

Thuraya Launches Vehicular IP Broadband Terminal

Thuraya Telecommunications has launched its first dedicated vehicular IP broadband terminal.

Designed and manufactured by Hughes Network Systems, LLC (Hughes), the global leader in broadband satellite solutions, Thuraya IP Voyager is a cost-effective, high-quality satellite terminal designed for end-users in the government, oil and gas, media, and relief sectors. It is the only terminal available in the market capable of achieving streaming IP rates of up to 384 kbps as well as user-definable asymmetric streaming.

Thuraya-IP-Voyager

Randy Roberts, Vice President of Innovation at Thuraya said: “Reliable connectivity and mobility are essential for users who need to communicate with their field teams and to file reports while on-the-move. The Thuraya IP Voyager broadens our Land IP portfolio and is part of our strategy to give end-users the power of choice when it comes to having high-quality, reliable connections at competitive prices, no matter where they are.”

Thuraya IP Voyager enables remote users to collaborate reliably and efficiently using video, data and VoIP services to achieve mission-critical tasks in areas that are not served by terrestrial communication networks. It is designed to connect at IP broadband speeds of up to 444 kbps while on-the-move and includes a built-in Wi-Fi access point as well as four Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) ports to connect multiple wired devices.

Asher Faredi, Product Manager of Land Data at Thuraya said: “Many parts of the world remain unconnected by terrestrial networks. In developing the Thuraya IP Voyager, we listened closely to our customers to understand their needs and we were able to design a robust “comms-on-the-move” terminal that it is easy to install and facilitates real productivity in the field. There is an opportunity in the land vehicular terminal market, which is now being addressed with the Thuraya IP Voyager.”

GTC will have pricing available shortly for the Thuraya IP Voyager.

 

 

Iridium Introduce the Iridium GO!

Iridium have announced a brand new product that can turn your smartphone or tablet into a global communications device capable of making reliable voice calls and data connections – anywhere in the world – even when outside of the range of terrestrial networks!

Iridium GO!

The fully portable Iridium GO! is a pocket sized device, with military-grade ruggedness and an IP rating of IP65, that enables you to use your smartphone or tablet when you have no access to terrestrial networks to:

  • make voice calls
  • share photos
  • access emails
  • SMS two-way
  • use applications
  • use GPS tracking
  • access social network sites
  • send out SOS alerts

Simply flip up the integrated antenna and the battery-powered unit will connect quickly and automatically to the Iridium LEO satellite constellation to create an anywhere Wi-Fi hotspot within a 30.5m radius.

You can then connect and operate up to 5 devices at a time within this area using the ‘Iridium GO! application’. Iridium have said that the Iridium GO! will be “supported by affordable plans that keep voice and data costs reasonable” with low-end service plans expected to start at around $35 a month, with unlimited plans at around $130 a month.

You will be able to purchase the Iridium GO! from our website soon but please click here to receive updates on availability.

FleetBroadband excels in 65 degree South Antarctic conditions

FleetBroadband is tested to the extreme aboard a month-long sailing expedition from Cape Horn to the Antarctic Peninsula.

Panos Tsikopoulos

An extreme sailing expedition from Cape Horn to the Antarctic Peninsula is putting Inmarsat FleetBroadband and the IsatPhone Pro satellite phone to the test in one of the harshest and most remote locations in the world.

The crew of ten experienced sailors on the month-long voyage includes Panos Tsikopoulos from Navarino, a leading satcom provider to the maritime industry and an Inmarsat Partner. He set sail on a specialised stainless steel sailing boat ‘Vailhere’ on 12 January from the port of Ushuaia in Argentina. Inmarsat Maritime has sponsored the voyage with an ‘all you can eat’ (AYCE) package of airtime and data, with equipment provided by Cobham.

Equipment testing

“Our objectives have been to learn to navigate in icy conditions, hike at the Antarctic, observe the landscape and wildlife, visit old military and scientific bases, and for me personally, to test equipment such as FleetBroadband,” said Panos.

“I am currently in the Antarctic at 65 degrees south enjoying Inmarsat’s high-quality connectivity – our FleetBroadband is working very well for voice and data, even though we are at such southern latitudes.

“Furthermore, my IsatPhone works very well too. Voice quality is perfect. This is particularly useful and gives us additional safety when we are exploring on land,” he added.

Inhospitable environment

He also found that the IsatPhone Pro satellite phone worked much better compared to a competitor product, which had an inferior service with intermittent coverage and loss of connection after five minutes.

IsatPhone-Pro

The expedition course is mapped through Cape Horn, Drake Passage and the Southern Ocean, tackling some of the most adverse and rough sea conditions.

The extreme southerly route takes FleetBroadband not only to one of the world’s most inhospitable environments but also tests it right up to the edge of its coverage map.

Staying connected

The crew have all been using FleetBroadband to call family and friends, browse the internet and to send and receive emails, including large picture files.

The AYCE package has proved to be particularly useful as the team are big fans of the cross-platform mobile instant messaging app ‘Whatsapp’ – high demand has led to up to four to six simultaneous users at any one time.

Panos and his team aim to finish their once-in-a-lifetime sailing adventure on 12 February. If you would like further information about the products that they are using please visit our website or call us on 0800 112 3919.

Our pick of the top 5 gadgets for your next expedition

Hike in desertEvery January we get plenty of enquiries from people full of enthusiasm to plan their next adventure. Of course, for those planning trips in remote areas satellite communications are often an essential part of their trip not only for keeping followers back home up-to-date but also for their life-saving SOS functionality.

Here’s our pick of the best gear for your next expedition:

DeLorme inReach Satellite Trackers

DeLorme-inReach-SE-Satellite-Tracker

The DeLorme range of inReach Trackers are award-winning satellite communicators that use the Iridium global satellite network to enable communication anywhere in the world.  The trackers offer 2-way personal and SOS communications and remote Follow-me/Find-me tracking and have been used by numerous GTC customers to track journeys all over the world.

Can I see the inReach in action? Check out Jon Beardmore’s DeLorme page, driving on a 25,000 mile round trip to China/South East Asia and back.  https://share.delorme.com/JonBeardmore

DeLorme Satellite Trackers are available from £150 ex VAT

BGAN Satellite Internet TerminalsThrane-Explorer-in-Use

BGAN terminals are ideal for travellers who need an internet connection during their trip. We offer a variety of terminals, all offering speeds of at least 384 kbps.  Although they are not as fast as the speed home broadband connections we are used to these days they are fine for sending and receiving emails, photos, updating blogs and general internet browsing.

Who uses a BGAN terminal? British adventurer Leo Houlding counts a BGAN terminal in his top five expedition gadgets:

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/nov/09/expert-guide-gadgets

BGAN Terminals are available from £1,115 ex VAT

Thuraya SatSleeve

thuraya-satsleeveThe Thuraya SatSleeve is a world first in satellite add-ons, transforming an iPhone 4/4S/5 into a satellite phone, allowing you to send and receive SMS messages and make calls using the Thuraya network, which covers 2/3rds of the planet.  It’s great to know that you can use your normal iPhone in areas of GSM coverage to reduce costs and have the back-up of the SatSleeve in more remote areas.  The iPhone 5 version also allows you to use data services to update your Facebook and Twitter pages.

Coming soon…Thuraya SatSleeve for Android handsets

http://www.globaltelesat.co.uk/blog/thuraya-launches-satsleeve-for-android

Thuraya SatSleeve is available from £415 ex VAT

Globalstar GSP-1700 Satellite PhoneGlobalstar

With inclusive plans offering voice and data calls for as little as €0.15 per minute and the lowest handset prices in the market, Globalstar sat phones are hard to beat. In 2013 Globalstar became the only mobile satellite service provider to deploy a second-generation constellation of low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellites, allowing you connect to one of the most advanced and modern satellite networks currently available. With pre-paid plans being launched at the end of Jan Globalstar is a great value handset.

Who uses a Globalstar sat phone? Team Savoir Faire used a Globalstar phone on their round Britain rowing challenge http://www.gbrow2013.com/

Globalstar GSP-1700 is available for just £250 ex VAT

Iridium Extreme Satellite Phone

6The Iridium 9575 Extreme is the newest satellite phone currently available. Not only does the 9575 Extreme offer Iridium’s global coverage for voice, data and SMS but it is the first satellite phone to offer the fully integrated services of customizable GPS, online tracking and emergency SOS with notification services with the 2 in 1 design allowing you to carry one less piece of kit!

Who uses the Iridium Extreme? Mountain Guide Bruce Goodlad relies on his Extreme, see his review here:

http://www.globaltelesat.co.uk/blog/bruce-goodlad-review-of-iridium-9575-extreme

Iridium Extreme is available from £735 ex VAT

Have questions about any of our expedition kit? Give us a call on 01202 801290.

Update on Inmarsat BGAN HDR testing

BGAN HDR will be available on the new Explorer 710 terminal

BGAN HDR will be available on the new Explorer 710 terminal

Back in April we told you about the new BGAN HDR service which will be used in conjunction with the new Explorer 710 terminal to provide the fastest satellite data speeds on the Inmarsat BGAN service.

Here at GTC we saw the Explorer 710 at the DSEI exhibition in London this week and were impressed with how compact the terminal was.

BGAN HDR is expected to be made available in Europe, Middle East and Asia in October and then globally during November and Inmarsat have this week given some exciting updates on the new service:

Streaming rates achieved

• Streaming rates of over 700kbps at full channel have been successfully achieved on the I-4 network

• Using an ‘external’ bonding solution (‘native’ bonding is not available until November), a streaming rate of 1.5Mbps has been maintained

Testing considerations

• Testing was undertaken in Portugal on the edge of a spot beam, so the indicative streaming rates highlighted above are extremely encouraging

• We are currently still giving guidance however, as per previous communications, that the expected streaming rate will be around 650kbps

• More precise, guaranteed performance figures will be defined following beta testing in late September / early October

Pricing options

BGAN HDR will support a portfolio of four streaming rates, with corresponding decreasing price points as follows:

 • Full channel symmetric – premium service, with significantly increased streaming rate in each direction

• Half channel symmetric – similar streaming rate to the existing BGAN X-Stream service, but offering better value for money

• Full channel asymmetric – in response to customer and market demand – providing a significantly increased streaming rate in the return direction, with a much smaller speed in the forward direction

• Half channel asymmetric – similar price point to the existing 256Kbps service, but likely to deliver a greater throughput (in testing it is currently delivering up to 380Kbps)

Once BGAN HDR is launched, there will be an introductory offer running until 31 December 2013 under which the full channel service will be discounted to match the current BGAN X-Stream per minute pricing.

Thrane & Thrane Critical Firmware Update for FB SAILOR and BGAN EXPLORER

Inmarsat-Satellite-Network-LogoIt has been announced that the latest firmware update from Inmarsat (Version 1.16) must be downloaded by the 1st June 2013 in order for certain terminals to continue working correctly.

The Thrane & Thrane FB SAILOR 150, 250, 500 and the BGAN EXPLORER 325 and 727 unit are the terminals that will be affected and it is critical that they are updated as without this firmware update they will be unable to receive calls on the IP handset.

Only the terminals listed above using the Thrane & Thrane/Cobham IP handset will be affected and terminals with a standard two wire handset will continue to work as normal.

Inmarsat FleetBroadband Sailor 150To download the firmware please follow this link for BGAN and this link for FleetBroadband.

Other features in the update include support for Fax and 3.1Hz Audio on SAILOR 150 and the restoration of an open PDP context on a UT power cycle. In addition to this there is support for ThraneLINK which is a sophisticated communication protocol that connects the SAILOR products in a network.

Spotlight on Gerry Hughes: The First Deaf Man to Solo Circumnavigate the World

GTC customer Gerry Hughes this week completed a hugely impressive feat and achieved his lifelong ambition to become the world’s first deaf person to solo circumnavigate the world via the five southernmost capes. Gerry Hughes is 55 years old and his challenge began over eight months ago when he set sail from Troon Marina in South Ayrshire on the 1st September 2012. He spent 210 days alone at sea on his 42ft yacht ‘Quest III’ and sailed over 32,000 miles before returning to Troon yesterday to a crowd of hundreds of well-wishers and an audience of over 20,000 people who were watching the moment he landed via a live internet link.

gerry hughes photo 2Unfortunately the journey was not all plain sailing and Gerry had to deal with terrible weather conditions and high winds that led to colossal waves and one of the most dramatic episodes in his journey where he capsized and feared for his life; thankfully he was able recover the situation and completed his challenge despite this close call.

Gerry hopes to become an inspiration for young deaf people by proving that the obstacles they may face can be overcome. Considering that this was not the first of his sailing achievements, as he became the first deaf skipper to sail around the British Isles in 1981, there is no doubt that he has achieved this goal and is in fact an inspiration to us all.

According to his Facebook page Gerry spent last night enjoying his heroes welcome in The Harbour Bar, sipping pints of Guinness which he had sorely missed throughout the voyage and sharing countless stories of his adventure. He was also presented with a special award from the Ocean Cruising Club to commemorate his achievement.

Mr Hughes said: “The last eight months have been among the toughest of my life but despite all the challenges of the expedition, it has been a period I have thoroughly enjoyed. I hope that following and completing my dream can encourage young people who face similar difficulties to see that their hopes and aspirations can still be fulfilled through belief and hard work. The support I have received has also played a huge part in completing this voyage and it is wonderful to be reunited with my wife and daughters who have undoubtedly endured as many highs and lows as I have during the period of my challenge.”

Gerry used our ‘Thrane & Thrane Sailor 150 Satellite Terminal’ to fulfil reporting requirements, diagnose faults and to connect to the internet; making it possible for him to communicate with the 3,500 supporters following his progress on his Facebook page whilst at sea. The Sailor 150 Terminal uses Inmarsat’s global network
to provide voice and data services to sailors all over the world. We are proud to have been able to help him to achieve this historic accomplishment and look forward to being involved in any of his future endeavours.

gerry hughes photo

Gerry and his proud wife Kay