The ProTECTS (Promotion of Two-way Emergency Communication and Tracking Systems) Alliance will hold its first organizational meeting January 22, 2010, in Phoenix, Ariz., coinciding with the annual Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) Partners Conference. Iridium joined with other mobile satellite industry companies in September 2009 to create the ProTECTS Alliance in a move to foster the rapid and orderly adoption of portable two-way satellite location, tracking and messaging technologies.
The organization is providing a forum for solutions development addressing the serious issues affecting the suppliers and users of two-way personal location, messaging and emergency communication devices. It is also seeking to create and sustain awareness of the need for the highest possible standards for satellite-based public-safety communication tools.
“There is a rapidly emerging market for satellite personal tracking and distress alerting devices,” said Patrick Shay, vice president and general manager of Iridium’s data division. “A major goal of the ProTECTS Alliance is to work in a collaborative atmosphere to develop broad-based industry standards that will ensure interoperability with global search-and-rescue (SAR) organizations, with systems and response procedures. We believe there is strong need for a standard based on two-way (duplex) data as opposed to one-way (simplex) data links.”
Shay noted that there have been numerous reports from the National Park Service and other wilderness areas this past summer of cases in which distress alerts from simplex data devices have triggered unnecessary and potentially dangerous rescue missions in response to what turned out to be accidental activations or user errors.
“If there is an interactive, two-way data link, first responders can send a return message to the transmitting beacon to ascertain whether it is a bona-fide distress situation and determine the nature of the emergency before deploying resources in response,” said Shay. “It also gives the mobile user a reassurance that the distress message has been received and that help is on the way.”
There are currently more than 20 members of the ProTECTS Alliance. Membership is open to mobile satellite companies, service providers, product developers, manufacturers, system integrators, network operators, resellers, distributors, retailers, users, consultants, SAR organizations, first responders, trade associations, national and international regulatory bodies and non-governmental organizations (NGO).
About Iridium Communications Inc.
Iridium Communications Inc. is the only mobile satellite service (MSS) company offering coverage over the entire globe. The Iridium constellation of low-earth orbiting (LEO) cross-linked satellites provides critical voice and data services for areas not served by terrestrial communication networks. Iridium serves commercial markets through a worldwide network of distributors, and provides services to the U.S. Department of Defense and other U.S. and international government agencies. The Company’s customers represent a broad spectrum of industry, including maritime, aeronautical, government/defense, public safety, utilities, oil/gas, mining, forestry, heavy equipment and transportation. Iridium has launched a major development program for its next-generation satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT. The company is headquartered in Bethesda, Md., U.S.A. and trades on the NASDAQ Global Market under the ticker symbols IRDM (common stock), IRDMW ($7.00 warrants), IRDMZ ($11.50 warrants) and IRDMU (units).
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