Exploring Emergency SOS Satellite Services in Australia and New Zealand

With the recent news that Apple has launched its Emergency SOS via satellite safety service to users across Australia and New Zealand, we thought it presented a timely opportunity to explore the company’s latest innovation and the communication challenge it’s aiming to address.

If you haven’t already heard, earlier this week Apple announced that the new Emergency SOS via satellite safety feature has been enabled in the region. This means all iPhone 14 models can now provide users with the ability to message emergency services when located outside of mobile phone and Wi-Fi coverage.

At Pivotel, we are only too familiar with the boundaries that exist when it comes to mobile phone coverage. Whether you’re an individual that’s travelling, an adventurer, business, corporation or government department with people out in the field, you’re probably familiar with the challenges of staying safe and connected when in areas with patchy or no mobile phone coverage.

Let’s face it, communication is important, critical even, and sometimes things just happen, they don’t wait for you to be safely back inside of mobile phone coverage. The news probably gets you thinking about how such a service could benefit you and be potentially lifesaving, but you’re also probably wondering about situations where you’re outside of mobile phone coverage, some thing has cropped up, it is not life-threatening but still important. Perhaps you need to call a family member, friend or colleague, or you’ve suffered a less critical but equally disruptive encounter and need to request some help or assistance.

The added complexity of an unexpected situation, no matter how big or small multiplies when you have no line of communication. As a result, it is a great reflection on the mobile satellite industry that a company like Apple has recognised the problem and wants to be part of the solution by dedicating time and resources into embedding a service that can assist its users that are experiencing a life-threatening emergency in rural, remote and regional areas.

In moments, where you may need to have a conversation for your own mental health, relay information, hatch plans, or even if the worst should happen, communicate in the event of an unexpected or unforeseen event, Apple’s service may not always be the right service for you. You may consider a satellite phone for robust and reliable available-anywhere voice and SMS connectivity or a personal satellite communicator which provides lifesaving SOS alerts but with the addition of mapping, location tracking, as well as two-way messaging for communicating with friends, family, or colleagues.

If you’re a business or organisation the risks can be even greater. Staff expect to be kept safe at work, particularly if you’re operating in a remote or isolated location and then there are your legal work health and safety (WHS) obligations to consider.

With the advancement of technology, people don’t accept not being kept safe and connected everywhere they go. Solutions such as Pivotel’s Tracertrak platform can keep your people visible and connected at all times. The service is designed to make it easy for you and monitors your workforce, so you know exactly what’s happening as it happens. The Tracertrak platform will monitor your people for scheduled check-ins and alert you of any missed check-ins, while at the same time allowing people in the field to send and receive messages and providing real-time location information. In the event of an emergency, the system will send SOS alerts with location information and offers you the option of utilising a global 24/7 emergency response service.

In summary, it’s great to see that Apple has gone down this path, it can only be a good thing for users to have more options to raise an alert and obtain help in the event of an emergency. The new Apple feature should be welcomed by many, particularly those that are only occasionally outside of mobile coverage areas and just need something in case of an emergency. For businesses it will depend on the individual requirements of your organisation, how you operate, where you’re operating, and the obligations you have to meet, which is not to say the Apple service cannot also be used as a complimentary or additional backup service. Sometimes when the stuff hits the fan, you’ll be grateful for having more than one option to rely on to get yourself out of the situation you find yourself in.

For more on Pivotel, visit www.pivotel.com.au (AU) or www.pivotel.co.nz (NZ).