Advanced satellite technology enables first live feed from Pole of Inaccessibility

Queensland adventurer Dr Geoff Wilson has become the first Australian to reach The Pole of Inaccessibility on the Antarctic Plateau. It is his first record-breaking milestone on “The Longest Journey” mission in Antarctica.

After reaching the Pole of Inaccessibility on the 1st of December, Dr Geoff Wilson broadcast the first ever live video from the Antarctic Plateau, offering a rare glimpse into one of the harshest terrains on the planet.

The video was streamed as part of Dr Wilson’s attempt to complete the longest solo journey ever made by a human in a polar region, traversing alone and unassisted across 5,800km.

The video broadcast was made possible using the cutting-edge portable satellite technology provided by leading remote communication specialists Pivotel and the new Iridium Certus® service. Iridium Certus® is a mobile broadband service using compact terminals powered by the Iridium satellite constellation, which features 66 interconnected satellites that provide a web of coverage around the earth.

No stranger to the challenges of extreme environments, Dr Wilson said the technology is allowing him to stay connected to his operations team and loved ones throughout the three-month journey.

"More than half of this journey is through completely unexplored ice, so there’s security in knowing you’ve got the best of the best in terms of satellite technology available," he said.

"The ground-breaking thing is having access to more bandwidth, this allows me to send high quality video and images back, meaning for the first time ever people are able connect with the journey as it happens and understand what it’s like down here and experience it with me."

"Perhaps of most importance for me, being able to debrief with someone on the outside world that understands you, but also knows that you’ve got more reserve, and helps you to see that without the haze of fatigue that’s accompanying your decision-making process – it’s absolutely vital."

If the situation does become critical at any point, satellite connectivity will allow Dr Wilson’s operations team to send him satellite images and information which could guide him to safety.

Pivotel has provided Dr Wilson with a Thales MissionLINK™ (Iridium Certus® Data Terminal) and two Iridium Extreme® Satellite Phone Handsets in support of the expedition.

The Thales MissionLINK™ terminal provides the Iridium Certus® broadband service through the Iridium satellite constellation and delivers critical connectivity, even in adverse weather conditions, through a lightweight, portable antenna and terminal.

CEO of Pivotel Group Peter Bolger said the evolution of satellite technology has diminished the risks associated with explorations to a far more tolerable level than even just a decade ago.

"The introduction of the Iridium Certus® service marks a new era of satellite communications, empowering explorers like Dr Wilson with compact voice and data solutions that allow them to stay connected and operate in some of the harshest and most remote environments on the planet," he said.

Pivotel is the first and only mobile carrier in Australia approved to provide the Iridium Certus® service.

"Geoff will be one of the first Australian’s to use the new Iridium Certus® service, staying connected via a small form factor antenna attached to his sled that has been specifically designed for portability."

"Ten years ago, updating your Facebook status or making a video call from Antarctica was unimaginable, and even now, there’s nothing else currently available on the market that enables this level of connectivity using small portable terminals. We’re looking forward to seeing Geoff’s journey demonstrate the extensive capabilities of the technology."

Apart from the record-breaking distance and being the first Australian to make it to the Pole of Inaccessibility, Dr Wilson also strives to be the first person to climb Dome Argus (the coldest naturally occurring place on earth). Depending on weather conditions, he hopes to reach Dome Argus via the South Pole early January and finish his mission later that month.

Dr Wilson holds the current record for the fastest Coast to Coast crossing via the South Pole of the Antarctic continent (53 days), the fastest crossing of Greenland south to north (18 days), the first and only wind assisted crossings of the Sahara Desert (42 days) and the infamous Torres Strait (3 days).

Connect to @pivotel_satellite and @drgeoffwilson on Instagram for updates as the journey progresses.

About Dr Geoff Wilson

Dr Geoff Wilson is a veterinary surgeon, founder of 5th Element Expeditions and World Record Holding Adventurer. He is most at home in desert environments, both hot and cold, as well as being well-versed in endurance and using kite-based technology. Geoff is passionate about delivering purpose-driven adventure and seldom sets out to complete anything without it being attached to a worthy cause – in this case, the McGrath Foundation. He is recognized in the Australian Museum’s “50 Trailblazers” of all time. He is married to Sarah, has three children and lives on the Gold Coast, Queensland in Australia.

About Pivotel – Creating better connections, everywhere

Pivotel is Australian owned and operated with unrivalled expertise in remote communications providing 105,000 satellite based services to people who live, travel or have business operations outside of mobile coverage. Pivotel’s headquarters are located in Southport, Queensland with offices spread around Australia, New Zealand, United States of America, Latin America and Indonesia. All of Pivotel’s customer touchpoints are local, supported by an experienced network of engineers, application developers, customer care agents and over 250 dealers.

Pivotel maintains a mobile carrier licence and operates ground infrastructure in Australia and is licenced to provide retail telecommunications services in the USA, Latin America and New Zealand. It is the only Australian carrier with direct connection to the world’s four major mobile satellite networks: Iridium, Inmarsat, Thuraya and Globalstar. The company’s suite of satellite and mobile technologies enable remote connectivity via satellite phones, satellite broadband, personnel and asset trackers, IOT, Machine to Machine connections and specialist maritime communications. Pivotel Group’s 4G mobile network, ecoSphere®, extends its carrier network to deliver complementary terrestrial wireless services to rural and remote Australians operating outside the coverage footprint of the major mobile networks.