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Iridium launches Burst broadcast service

Iridium Communications has launched a global data broadcast service enabling enterprises to send data to an unlimited number of devices.

Iridium Burst’s transmissions can penetrate vehicles, buildings, partial obstructions and weather phenomenon, says the satellite operator, adding that they are four times more powerful than traditional satellite data services and can reach any place on the planet in less than 20 seconds.

The service could be used by shipping and maritime companies for over-the-air updates and other M2M applications, but also by maritime agencies notifying rescue ships using Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) of ships in distress. Rather than having to contact each ship separately, all ships within the relevant area can be contacted simultaneously with one Iridium Burst transmission, says the satellite operator.

Iridium Burst is available as a pay-per-use service compatible with the Iridium 9602GDB receiver, and in future devices from Iridium and Iridium partners.

“With the launch of this new broadcast service, Iridium Burst, we are filling a void in the satellite industry,” said Bryan Hartin, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Iridium. “Until now, there was no practical, cost-effective option for transmitting data to a large number of remote devices across a country or continent. Iridium Burst provides new opportunities for our partners and their customers alike, by enabling data messaging to tens, hundreds, thousands or millions of devices anywhere on Earth with one transmission. No other network can provide truly global reach and Iridium Burst leverages this unique capability to broadcast data to an unlimited number of devices and will enable new applications for satellite communications that were never before possible.”

Also, Iridium has announced that it will launch a portable satellite hotspot in the first half of this year.

Iridium GO! creates a satellite-backed Wi-Fi zone anywhere on the planet, enabling up to five smartphones to make calls, get their e-mail, text and use some apps.

“Iridium GO! enables people to use their own trusted devices – their smartphone or tablet – even when they are off the cellular grid, all while maintaining access to their contacts and applications, as well as reliable voice and data services,” said Matt Desch, Iridium’s CEO. “It is also the lowest cost device and service offering that Iridium has ever made, making truly global coverage more affordable than ever.”

Raising the antenna turns on the device, which then connects to the Iridium network and establishes a Wi-Fi connection. By using a special app, individuals can use their phone or tablet to make voice calls, text, and report an emergency through an SOS service.

Designed to withstand rain, sand, dust and rough use, Iridium GO! provides a Wi-Fi network with a coverage radius of 100 feet. Users can connect devices wirelessly.

The device will also work with the new Iridium NEXT satellites that will begin launching in 2015.

“Iridium GO! is truly a new way of making mobile satellite connections and will expand the market for MSS,” said Eric Verheylewegen, vice president & general manager for GMPCS. “It’s small and very portable and doesn’t add any weight to the user’s smartphone. It also has the flexibility to connect a variety of different devices, and numerous devices at a time, which is unprecedented. It really enables maximum flexibility for our customers – it’s like carrying a small, personal cell tower with you wherever you go.”

Iridium is licensing the capability to allow app developers to utilize its satellite network through Iridium GO! to tailor their products to meet the needs of organizations or individuals. It says that developers in the transportation industry, for example, can link sensors and monitors from their apps in the vehicle through Iridium GO!

The product will be available during the first half of 2014 through select Iridium distribution partners. 

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Digital Ship magazine provides the latest information about maritime satellite communications technology, software systems, navigation technology, computer networks, data management and TMSA. It is published ten times a year.


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