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Satnews Daily
December 7th, 2011

Iridium + GEOS... In An Emergency, Press That SOS Button (SATCOM)

[SatNews] Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq:IRDM) has announced the GEOS emergency response service....

....is now available to Iridium Extreme™ satellite phone customers.  At no additional cost to customers, Iridium has integrated the GEOS service into the SOS button on the Iridium Extreme.  Launched in September 2011, the Iridium Extreme is the most advanced, rugged satellite phone in the market and is the first to offer an SOS button.  As part of the Iridium ForceSM vision for future personal mobile communications, this GEOS service is an enhancement to the phone’s location-awareness services available at launch.

This first-ever, integrated satellite phone emergency service sets the standard for providing ultimate peace of mind to lone workers and adventurers alike.  A quick press of the SOS button automatically dials the GEOS emergency response center, providing a connection to a live support representative. Where the market used to settle for just one-way SOS alerting, customers now can maintain contact with the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC) during their emergency for reassurance that help is on the way. The GEOS service adds an important partner into the community supporting the Iridium Force vision.  GEOS also adds a layer of performance to the dependable, reliable Iridium Extreme platform. GEOS receives emergency alerts and notifies Response Search and Rescue (SAR) authorities via a global, 24/7/365 service through its IERCC in Houston, Texas.  The IERCC has translation capabilities for up to 200 languages.  It has coordinated thousands of responses in more than 100 countries since 2007.

Through the service, customers can verbally provide crisis details to SAR professionals, as well as send location data for response coordination with local public authorities.  The Iridium Extreme SOS button functionality meets international standards for satellite emergency notification devices (SENDs). Although the GEOS service is included as an offering for Iridium Extreme customers who register, the programmable SOS button also can be set to instead call or message an alternate number.  For instance, some corporations or organizations may prefer to have emergency calls routed to their internal response center or another SAR provider. There are no additional charges to access the basic GEOS service.  Purchase of an Iridium Extreme phone and a valid subscription is required.  Standard usage charges apply for the emergency phone call, or for SMS or location messages sent.  Customers also can opt for enhanced, paid SAR or medevac subscriptions through GEOS. 

“The GEOS service is one of the many new innovations we are delivering to partners,”  said Joel Thompson, vice presidet, product management, Iridium.  “Iridium worked with a select group of portal providers who developed location tracking and messaging services for the launch of the Iridium Extreme. Since then, the Iridium Extreme has seen much greater demand from customers than we had anticipated and we wanted to provide them an additional level of protection. With the launch of the GEOS Emergency Response service, Iridium Extreme customers now have several options to manage their communications during an emergency situation. Since the SOS button is programmable, customers have the ability to use the GEOS service if their organization does not offer such a service.  We wanted to ensure that anyone using the most rugged satellite phone on the planet had an option to reach a highly trained professional in an emergency situation.”

“The GEOS IERCC has really raised the bar with respect to emergency response centers in terms of professionalism and reach,” said Mark Garver, CEO of the IERCC.  “We staff it with qualified first responders, such as firefighters, paramedics, former military personnel and law enforcement professionals.  These personnel have handled emergencies first hand.  That is why we can truly stand by our motto, ‘So Others May Live To Tell About it’.”