Mobile satellite technology developer Beam Communications (ASX: BCC) has launched a global messaging and safety device for smartphone users as part of its joint venture with Canadian company Roadpost.
Earlier today, Beam announced that it will debut its Zoleo device in North America and Australia which allows users to maintain messaging capability regardless of whether users can obtain mobile network coverage.
The Zoleo device connects via Bluetooth to Android or Apple smartphones and provides a unique global messaging experience that follows users in and out of mobile coverage.
In a statement to the market, Beam declared that it intends Zoleo to become the “value leader” in its category with a retail purchase price of $345, in addition to monthly satellite messaging plans ranging from $32-$80 for unlimited usage.
Australian customers can purchase Zoleo from the SatPhone Shop, currently Telstra’s largest mobile satellite dealer, while US and Canadian customers will need to visit their nearest authorised dealer.
Beam has confirmed that around 20 retailers based in Australia and New Zealand have registered their interest in Zoleo with future distribution agreements already on the cards.
“Satellite mobile messaging solutions are an increasingly popular means of staying connected when off the grid,” said Bryan Hartin, executive vice president, sales and marketing of Iridium.
“The Zoleo device is a great example of two Iridium partners coming together, taking Iridium’s core technology, and building a unique solution that will automatically transition from local cellular connectivity to satellite connectivity when needed,” said Mr Hartin.
Beaming Zoleo to the market
According to Beam, Zoleo is the first messaging solution of its kind because it is based on iridium short burst data (SBD), cellular and Wi-Fi standards that can effectively expand the scope of functionality offered by smartphones and rival products.
Beam says Zoleo is “perfect for anyone that lives, works or plays on the fringe of cell coverage” including back-country enthusiasts, global travellers and remote lone workers that require connectivity while spending time in remote areas.
Zoleo works by sending and receiving messages via the Iridium global satellite network operated by Iridium Communications when the device is outside of cellular coverage. The constellation provides L-band voice and data coverage to satellite phones, pagers and integrated transceivers over the entire Earth.
In parallel to the device, the Zoleo app passes messages via cellular or Wi-Fi connections and allows users to receive messages even if the Zoleo device is switched off.
Moreover, the Zoleo device sports personal safety features like location sharing, weather forecasts and real-time worldwide SOS alerts for remote trekkers and mountaineers. The device also provides users with a dedicated mobile number to allow connectivity to standard messaging services and emails.
“Until now, no company in the mobile satellite sector has conquered what is arguably the ‘killer app’ of the smartphone age – messaging,” said Morris Shawn, president of Zoleo and Roadpost.
“Zoleo’s messaging capability reflects a deep integration of capabilities between the user’s smartphone, the Zoleo mobile app, the Zoleo device and a sophisticated back end messaging infrastructure,” he said.