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Satellite Tracking Industry Group Concludes First Meeting

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: 05 February, 2010  (Company News)
The ProTECTS Alliance holds inaugural meeting on personal satellite tracking system standards at the Iridium partner conference
The ProTECTS (Promotion of Two-Way Emergency Communication and Tracking Systems) Alliance held its first organizational meeting, in Phoenix, Ariz., immediately following the annual Iridium Communications Partners Conference in late January.

“The 38 member companies and organizations in attendance at the ProTECTS Alliance inaugural meeting demonstrates the global need for dialogue on two-way communication standards,” said Patrick Shay, chairman, the ProTECTS Alliance and vice president of data services, Iridium. “The ProTECTS Alliance is intended to serve as a bridge connecting industry, government, the international search-and-rescue (SAR) community and end users. Our first meeting provided a forum to discuss the many important issues affecting this rapidly growing market.”

Since its inception in late 2009, the ProTECTS Alliance has more than doubled its membership to 38 companies in representation. 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, regulatory bodies and non-governmental organizations (NGO).

The meeting featured presentations from three outside speakers:

* Chris Hoffman of the Radio-Technical Commission for Maritime Services (RTCM) provided an update of the RTCM special committee working on a new standard for Satellite Emergency Notification and locating Devices (SEND).

* US Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Kathy Niles provided an overview of the US Coast Guard’s SAR operations and the National Search and Rescue Committee (NSARC).

* Dean Ross from the US Department of the Interior National Park Service discussed the special concerns and challenges facing the National Park Service rangers in responding to distress alerts from satellite personal location devices.

The meeting also included a review of the ProTECTS Alliance charter and an open discussion of the group’s goals and priorities.

“The ProTECTS Alliance will serve as a framework for its members to work in a collaborative atmosphere with the RTCM, NSARC and other organizations to foster broad-based industry standards for this emerging new class of products without stifling competition. We believe these devices should be based on two-way (duplex) rather than one-way (simplex) data links, to facilitate SAR operations responding to distress messages,” said Shay.

Iridium will serve as a facilitator for the ProTECTS Alliance and will provide assistance in hosting meetings and distributing information through the new Iridium Web site, scheduled to launch later this month.

The next ProTECTS Alliance meeting is scheduled to take place in the spring. Details will be available in early March on the Iridium website.
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