Iridium Communications Inc. and ZOLEO Inc., a global messaging solutions company, have partnered to introduce a new global messaging and personal safety device known as ZOLEO which enables users to send/receive messages anywhere on Earth via the Iridium satellite network, even when users travel beyond mobile coverage.
Aimed at smartphone users, the compact ZOLEO device connects via Bluetooth® to a free app on the user’s Android® or Apple® smartphone or tablet to provide a unique messaging experience that automatically transitions in and out of mobile coverage between satellite, cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity. This makes it ideal for those who live, work or travel on the fringe of terrestrial coverage with personal safety features like check-in, hyper-local weather forecasts, and 24/7 worldwide SOS alerting offer extra peace-of-mind when venturing off-the-grid. The flagship product from a joint venture between Beam Communications Pty Ltd. and Roadpost Inc., ZOLEO is the first consumer-focused messaging solution of its kind based on Iridium® Short Burst Data® (SBD®), cellular and Wi-Fi® standards.
Morris Shawn, President of ZOLEO Inc. and Roadpost Inc. said that until now, no company in the mobile satellite sector has conquered what is arguably the ‘killer app’ of the smartphone age — messaging. ZOLEO’s messaging capability reflects a deep integration of capabilities between the user’s smartphone, the ZOLEO mobile app, the ZOLEO device and a sophisticated back-end messaging infrastructure.
When users travel beyond mobile coverage, the ZOLEO device connects with the free app on their phone/tablet, allowing the user to send/receive messages anywhere on Earth via the Iridium satellite network, which provides complete coverage of the globe through 66 cross-linked Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. Uniquely, when users are within mobile coverage the ZOLEO app seamlessly delivers messages over cellular or Wi-Fi.
Michael Capocchi, Vice President of ZOLEO Inc. and Managing Director of Beam added that these messaging features, along with SOS and GPS location reporting, make the ZOLEO messaging experience far more seamless and familiar than anything on the market today.
Launched in late January 2020, ZOLEO uses Iridium’s truly global satellite network, keeping users connected beyond the reach of terrestrial coverage. The device’s ability to transition between satellite, cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity can help users save time and money by routing messages over the lowest cost network available. And, by using a free app on an Android® or Apple® smartphone/tablet, ZOLEO ensures that messages are delivered even if the user isn’t actively connected to the ZOLEO device.
Lightweight and compact, the ZOLEO satellite communicator provides over 200 hours of battery life and is rated IP68 for water resistance, making it an ideal companion for traveling off-the-grid. The device also enables SOS alerting either through the mobile app or directly from the device, which transmits the alert through the Iridium® network. The SOS alert is delivered to the GEOS 24/7 emergency monitoring and dispatch service. To access the Iridium satellite network, the ZOLEO device requires a monthly airtime subscription.
ZOLEO gives rise to new two-way messaging capabilities not currently offered by other satellite communicators that include:
- A dedicated SMS number and email address that makes it easy for contacts to reach you, as opposed to having to wait for a message from you to which they can reply.
- A familiar, non-technical messaging experience for smartphone users.
- An app that seamlessly transitions between Wi-Fi, cellular and SBD over the Iridium satellite network, so messages are delivered even if the user isn’t currently connected to the ZOLEO device.
- Long messages of 950 characters or more, as opposed the 160-character text/SMS message limit associated with other satellite messaging devices.
The ZOLEO satellite communicator is compact, lightweight and provides over 200 hours of battery life. It is designed to operate in temperatures ranging from -20 degrees C to 55 degrees C and is shock-resistant, dust-resistant, and features superior (IP68) water resistance. Compatible accessories enable it to be worn on a belt, tethered to a backpack or mounted in a vehicle, vessel or cabin. These features make ZOLEO a reliable global messaging and personal safety companion for users under virtually any conditions.
Bryan Hartin, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Iridium added that satellite mobile messaging solutions are an increasingly popular means of staying connected when off the grid. The ZOLEO device is a great example of two Iridium partners coming together, taking Iridium core technology, and building a unique solution that will automatically transition from local cellular connectivity to satellite connectivity when needed.