Iridium Satellite LLC today announced plans to deploy a group call push-to-talk voice and data service. This service will allow for deployment of multi-user communication "nets" from Iridium mobile satphones from anywhere worldwide. It is designed for public and private sector first responders and ideal for crisis applications where rapid deployment, reliability and security are key. Users will require constant and global service from an extremely portable device.
"The Iridium group call push-to-talk communications service will be able to link three, four, a dozen or even hundreds of users together into an effective network," said Greg Ewert, executive vice president, Iridium Satellite. "This Iridium service will offer the virtual equivalent of repeater stations in space. The need to position a repeater station on a mountaintop or a tall and vulnerable structure will no longer exist."
Multiple Users; Multiple Applications
The group call push-to-talk communications service will allow one user to talk (or transmit data) to many users simultaneously. Dispatch centers will be able to set up multi-user communication nets on Iridium satellite channels. The service will be scalable to meet user requirements. It will enable over- the-air group management where dispatch centers can add users to groups as needed. In addition, users will be able to access voice and data communications at the same time when immediate access to critical systems and information from any location is required. That is because this service will work alongside existing Iridium services such as short-burst data (SBD) for real-time alerts for monitoring of important assets such as field equipment. It also will provide instantaneous alerts in times of crisis, feeding critical data to users.
The new Iridium service will incorporate end-to-end encryption for secure communications. Built-in safeguards will ensure that only defined users can receive, participate in or terminate broadcasts or nets. It also will allow for integrating and relaying terrestrial radios and tying into terrestrial trunked radio systems. Multiple call types will be possible, including private mode, one-way broadcast mode and priority interrupt.
Iridium users desiring this service will be able to upgrade their Iridium 9505 and 9505A satphones with new broadcast/group call software and a small push-to-talk ancillary device. When not operating in a group call mode, the handsets will function normally in the traditional phone-to-phone mode.
Public and Private Sector Needs
Iridium expects to achieve initial deployment for U.S. Department of Defense users by the fourth quarter 2005. Iridium will launch to homeland security and commercial customers in 2006, focusing on public safety, border patrol, customs, forestry, oil and gas, fishing and mining applications. Iridium anticipates needs in the area of command and control, logistics, support, position reporting, observation and other critical information relay beyond line-of-sight.