Iridium Go device - Global messages, phone calls & SOS

KTMphil

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There are numerous "satellite communicating devices" available that offer position report messaging & emergency SOS messaging (SPOT messenger/ Garmin InReach / Inmarsat etc...). Later will talk about all of them.


3 things that made the Iridium Go stand out:

1. With valid airtime, free standby SOS messaging to search & rescue can be sent from anywhere in the world. (SPOT messenger connects to Globalstar's satellite network which isnt truly global)
2. Acts as a router hotspot for up to 5x smart phones at one time for global data (email & SMS) and global voice calls. IE anywhere in the world it works.
3. Small, not much bigger than a cigarette packet


image by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr
 

KTMphil

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Most people who see it are confused about what it is and how it works.

Iridium is one of the very few satellite communication providers that offers 100% global coverage. Iridium ran into financial problems in the 90's & were basically bankrupt. The U.S DOD, needed global satellite communications to fight the war in Iraq and pump USD$ 50 million into Iridium to keep the satellite communications network working.

In the past the most popular Iridium communications hardware was their USD$ 1,400 satellite phones that could also receive & transmit data & SMS's, they are still very popular now. You can now get a wifi router that connects to the bottom of the phone and acts as a global data hotspot, maybe only 1 device can send and transmit, i havnt checked.


Iridium has airtime partners that are resellers of satellite communications airtime and data. As an iridium user, you contract with one of these resellers to buy airtime and data, many different plans are offered depending on the extent of your usage. The reseller gives you a SIM card, just like a phone SIM card and you buy airtime for it. The SOS emergency button will ONLY transmit a help message if you have valid airtime, it basically sends an SMS over the Iridium satellite communications network so needs to be able to do so.


You can see below the Iridium satellite network all over the world


satellite by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr
 

KTMphil

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Iridium offers you 3 different apps (software) for your smart phone 2 are a free service just pay for airtime. Your smart phone will become the display console for the Iridium Go device.

1. Iridium Go App
2. Iridium Mail App
3. Xgate App


Once you've got some airtime, downloaded the Apps onto a smartphone, you can register and account, then send and receive.


image by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr


There are really 2 distinct ways that you can send and receive messages with the Iridium Go & your smartphone. The first with the Iridium Go App, you can send an SMS or an email as if you are on-line real time. This is the easiest and most simple way to communicate.


The message template on your phone looks like this:


image by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr



If you send an email, the email you receive from the Iridium Go looks like the below, with the first digits being your Iridium phone number:


sat 3 by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr
 

KTMphil

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The second way to send and receive is using the Iridium Mail App. You first have to register to use this. It is then possible to config. the software to send and receive Gmail/ Hotmail/ Live etc... email accounts. Also this App enables you to send Facebook & Twitter posts.

You must register first for this App to work:

https://www.iridium.com/iridiummailampwebregistration


Its a lot more tricky to use than the Iridium Go App. When you log on using this App it signs on does a handshake with Iridium's server and sends and receives what's there, to and from the email addresses that are config'd correctly.

Its doesnt feel very user friendly. An email client software programmer I know is looking at the guts of this App and will sort out the best way to use it.

The "Big Mail" is where all the third party emails will show


image by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr



From the Iridium Mail App, you can set up Twitter posting by SMS commands, Facebook posts, weather


image by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr




The twitter config is exactly the same as setting up from a regular SMS phone. You can see below an example of the SMS Twitter setup:

twitter 1 by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr
 
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KTMphil

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Chiang Mai, Thailand
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Iridium have been pretty sneaky. Out of the box, there is no easy way to send and recieve emails via the Iridium Go free on a windows or Apple computer.
They offer XGate software service which is a paid service.

http://www.globalmarinenet.com/product/xgate/


My email programmer chappy has looked at all the IP gateway and says there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to do this free if you can write email client code, all they have done is force you to pay for their service.

So, connecting the PC to the Iridium Go isnt easy for free.
 

KTMphil

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Connectivity


Raise the 7cm antenna (you can get an external antenna) and the Iridium GO automatically turns on. Connecting to the satellites can take a couple of minutes.

You can see the real time position of the Iridium Satellites here:

http://www.satflare.com/track.asp?q=iridium


We've been watching the Thailand region's Iridium satellite's orbit and we are on the northern edge of the groups of satellites. This means signal is dropped quite easily when 1 satellite leaves range and the next one comes in range. This can be very irritating if conducting phone calls, not so bad with data as it auto-reconnects.


The Iridium Go give the GPS position, green light when connected


image by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr
 

KTMphil

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Once connected open the easy to use Iridium Go App & you have several menu choices. Another reason to use the Iridium Go App rather than the Iridium Mail App, is that the Go App will show all the emails and messages in the pooled message account. The Mail App will only show what was downloaded from Iridiums server on the one device that downloaded it. IE if you have 5 smart phones connected at 1 time everyone can get the messages, you will see just the topic line until message is opened.


Message button you can send email or SMS. Track shows your position. Inside that menu you have "Quick GPS". Here you pre-config several contacts to send position reports to. Press "Quick GPS" & they will be sent your position. There is a second setting for periodic position reporting available to 2 contacts. You can config this to send every 1 hour/ 6 hour/ 12 hour etc... automatically when the unit is switched on.


image by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr



For someone to send or call the Iridium number, depending on their country, before the 8816 of the number, they either add 00/011/+ depending on their carrier to dial out.
 

KTMphil

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SOS message can be activated from the Iridium Go App or from a button on the side of the Iridium Go. You config personal contacts who they will call to verify its you with an emergency, once they receive the SOS message.

This message goes to a private company who then contacts search and rescue in your region and gives position and reason for emergency. They will first try contact you to confirm there is an emergency. I think they make their money from offering insurance to cover emergency rescue.


I called them and asked when I press the button who do they call here. They said it would be RCC Bangkok first then they have several other numbers as backup.


This is the SOS emergency private company that co-ordinates the rescue:


GEOS

TELEPHONE CONTACTS - Partners, Enterprise Products, Services and Support


Toll Free: +1.855.238.1908 (US only)
Tel: +1.832.539.2498 (Houston, TX)
Fax: +1.936.582.7249


www.geossafetysolutions.com


Your phone activation code is 44532.


In Case of Emergency contact the IERCC directly at:


EMERGENCY CALLS ONLY OR CALLS RELATED TO AN SOS ACTIVATION


Direct: +1.936.582.3190
Toll Free: +1.855.444.2937


email: iercc@geos911.com


International Emergency Response Coordination Center


GEOS Response, LLC
IERCC
550 Club Drive
Suite 470
Montgomery, TX 77316


_____________________________________________


GEOS Worldwide Limited
Mill Mall Tower, 2nd Floor
Wickhams Cay 1
P.O. Box 4406
Road Town, Tortola
British Virgin Islands


Tel: +1.284.494.3034 (BVI)
Fax: +1.284.494.4457
Toll Free: +1.888.460.4554 (US only)
International: +44 203 397 2448 (London, UK)





Below is search and Rescue Bangkok, Thailand's contact numbers might be useful:


Tel: 66-2-286-0506
bkkrcc@aviation.go.th; bkkrcc@yahoo.com
 

KTMphil

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Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
Problems with the Iridium Go


1. Very slow data speed. We did manage to send small photo's.
2. Dropped signal as the unit connects to the next satellite in range
3. Complex config of 3rd party email settings
4. When you connect to the Iridium mail App, once connected it will try and refresh all of your Apps that require data and create a log jam. You need to disable most of your Apps prior to connecting.



The 3 main reasons i bought one:

1. 5x smartphones can send and receive messages at the same time and all see the message heading of each message.

2. The global SOS emergency message function always on standby and ready.

3. Position reporting
 

KTMphil

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Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Location
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bikes
2007 KTM 990 Adventure Suzuki DRZ 400
If you have a Garmin Monterra GPS, which also runs Android software, you can use the Iridium Go app on the Garmin Monterra to send and recieve messages via the Iridium Go device once linked by wifi.


image by Triangle Golden 007, on Flickr
 
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