GPS tracking and safety for thousands of adventure travellers
Globalstar Europe Satellite Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Globalstar, has announced that IoT track and trace specialist GeoDynamics is deploying SPOT Gen4 satellite GPS messengers to support its customers with GPS tracking in adventure travel.
The company has procured 600 rugged and economical SPOT Gen4 devices, the newest member of the SPOT family, credited with over 7,500 rescues worldwide to date. GeoDynamics’ first deployment in this field is for Travelbase, a Belgian travel company which organises trips for over 50,000 people each year, including adventure holidays to any of 25 European destinations.
In 2017, Travelbase Managing Director Mathieu Botta approached GeoDynamics asking for a satellite tracking device to give to his customers while on their adventure holidays, GeoDynamics procured GSM trackers which it provided to Travelbase, and also made the devices available to other holiday providers through rental.
However, as Travelbase launched several new, extremely isolated holiday locations, it was soon realised that they required a device that offered much wider coverage and longer battery life. In light of these factors, GeoDynamics turned to Globalstar and SPOT.
Stijn Stragier, GeoDynamics’ Managing Partner, explained that the aim with the SPOT purchase is to meet high consumer demand: “In the summer months, all our devices have been rented out and in full-time use, via holiday companies based around Europe: Adventure travel is definitely a rapidly expanding business area for us, and we wanted to be ready to support our customers.”
Satellite-enabled communications and SOS for off-grid adventure travellers
Travelbase helps its customers get away from it all through travels in remote and exotic locations. These span the gamut from spending a week lake canoeing in Sweden, kayaking in Norway, to trail-walking in Iceland and even donkey-trekking in the Balkans. “These are all places where mobile networks simply can’t be relied on,” said Botta.
“Every year, we help thousands of people live their travel adventure dreams, and this sees them going to more and more remote locations. We knew we really needed an easy-to-use, ultra-reliable tracking device that could help them get emergency help if they get lost or injured,” explained Botta. Given the extreme nature of the activities they do, often solo, and in some of the most far-flung locations on the planet, it’s no surprise that annually a small handful of travellers run into trouble of some kind. “It’s absolutely essential that we equip our customers with a device that delivers reliable and ubiquitous tracking, plus the ability to summon help in an emergency,” he added.
GeoDynamics trialled alternative satellite-enabled trackers available in the market, but these were deemed too complex: “We wanted something that’s really simple to use; for us, SPOT was the best solution, and it’s at the heart of our offering to travel companies,” explained Stragier.
SPOT’s configurable buttons and message options
In an organisational deployment, SPOT Gen4 can be configured to meet specific customer requirements. SPOT’s Check-in and OK buttons can be pre-set to send different types of messages and data, typically to convey to the recipient that all is well.
For Travelbase, if the user presses the ‘Help’ button, such as in cases where the user is lost or has suffered only a minor accident or injury, GeoDynamics is alerted as is Travelbase, in order to execute their customer communications processes and protocols.
With a push of the SOS button, SPOT's 24/7 global search and rescue service is instantly contacted and transmits an alert along with the user’s GPS location coordinates to local first responders for the quickest emergency response.
GeoDynamics has created a custom interface and dashboard which enables holiday providers like Travelbase to have a complete view of where all its deployed SPOT devices are located. Options for extra mapping layers for the user interface are also part of the GeoDynamics platform.
“The idea that someone on one of our trips could possibly go off-course while off-grid, and with no communications due to poor or no mobile coverage, well, it’s utterly unthinkable,” added Botta. “The reliable satellite communications and safety that SPOT and GeoDynamics provide are absolutely business-essential.”
“We are excited to help GeoDynamics support its growing customer base of adventure travel providers,” said Mark O’Connell, Globalstar’s EMEA General Manager. “We’re proud to be building on our established heritage of providing affordable, reliable and user-centric satellite communications to help people stay connected as they pursue adventure - this is where SPOT came from and companies like GeoDynamics are helping ensure that wanderlust, safety and peace-of-mind can go hand-in-hand for today’s travellers.”
Globalstar’s economical SPOT satellite devices also provide security and emergency support to employees for a growing number of businesses, governmental and non-governmental entities across the world. Meanwhile, these organisations can benefit from SPOT’s ability to help manage and optimise resources and monitor valuable assets.