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Innovation… On the Edge

By admin - Last updated: Wednesday, September 14, 2011

As an innovative product development company we get involved – not surprisingly – with all sorts of new product development; from coffee machines through to cardiac monitors. But once in a while, we have to develop products that can work truly on the edge…. in some of the most inhospitable places in the world, and when a small error can be the difference between life and death.

Client confidentiality is paramount to a firm like us, but one new development we have been given permission to talk about is the development of Iridium’s latest satellite phone; the Iridium Extreme™.

Naturally the phone is extremely rugged (it’s the first satellite phone with US DoD Standard 810F durability) and it can communicate from anywhere on the planet. And as well as being Iridium’s lightest handset yet, it also includes some really cool new features.

Imagine for a minute that you are a lone worker out in the Arctic tundra, someone checking a pipeline, for example. It’s -15c outside your truck and the weather is set to get worse, with a blizzard blowing in;   Forget your cell phone; there’s no way that will get a signal (after all GSM only covers about 1% of the worlds surface).  The Iridium Extreme could just become your new best friend.  For a start, the phone offers real-time tracking so you, and often more importantly your backup team, know where you are the whole time, and it also offers ‘geo-fencing’ capability.  A geo-fence is a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area letting others know  as you stray out of a predefined area.

The other feature that really caught my attention was a new SOS function, so that rather than having to try and dial a number, you simply have to flip the cover and press the SOS button, and someone is immediately alerted that you’re in trouble and in need of help.  I’m not sure if you watched the film about the mountain climber Aron Ralston who became trapped by a boulder in Robbers Roost, Utah.  I won’t spoil the – somewhat gruesome – story for those that haven’t seen it, but I can’t help wonder how different Aron’s experience would have been, had he been carrying one of these phones with him.

To see a video of this latest development,   click here


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