Globalstar Europe Satellite Services Ltd.’s SPOT Gen4 satellite messengers will be deployed by Thailand Marine Department to provide safety and security for all travelers on and around the island of Phuket.
Phuket and surrounding islands typically welcome 20,000 visitors daily. As part of a major government program to revitalize tourism, it is envisaged that several thousand SPOT Gen4 units will be deployed. A pilot deployment is already underway.
The SPOT Gen4 devices are at the heart of the solution provided by Ship Expert Technology, a leading Globalstar Value Added Reseller partner dedicated to the maritime sector.
The Thailand Marine Department is committed to help accelerate the recovery of the tourism industry which is so crucial to the country’s economy.
Phuket has recently been opened for vaccinated Thai and foreign travelers, with no need for quarantine. This development is expected to give Thai tourism a much-anticipated boost. Tourism has suffered from the impact of Covid-19 but also from high-profile criminal incidents whose victims included foreign tourists.
A further major benefit of the SPOT Gen4s is they will help authorities and first responders improve the speed and effectiveness of emergency rescue operations if a vessel capsizes or sinks, or if a passenger has a medical emergency.
This project is the first milestone in a major new partnership between Globalstar and Thaicom Public Company Limited (SET Thailand: THCOM), Asia’s largest independent satellite operator.
“Globalstar is the ideal partner for Thaicom,” said Patompob (Nile) Suwansiri, Thaicom’s Chief Executive Officer. “Today, government and industry are coming together in Thailand to deliver on our common objective to support the tourism industry, so fundamental to our economy, and our shared commitment to enhance communications capability in our region through advanced satellite communications. Our collaboration with Globalstar will be a major driver on the roadmap to revitalise tourism, and also to develop new communications solutions which will benefit businesses and communities.”
At the end of March, Thaicom and Globalstar inked an agreement which will see the two satellite operators collaborate to develop and operate ground station facilities at Thaicom’s Teleport Center in Pathumthani Province for Globalstar’s LEO satellite constellation. The infrastructure and services of the ground station will support Globalstar services in the region. The partners will commercialize safety and security services and solutions to support tourism as well as the region’s maritime industry.
Local government regulations have been introduced which mandate that all tourists in Phuket must carry a tracking device at all times, onshore or on water. Every tourist is to be registered and provided with a SPOT Gen4 by one of a pool of government-certified official tourist guides. Phuket visitors are required to use their SPOT devices to check in with their guides on completion of any day trips or excursions, with SPOT service fees incorporated into the excursion package price.
SPOT Gen4 was chosen in recognition of the device’s ability to ensure always-on connectivity, regardless of the availability of other communications networks. Only satellite communications can provide reliable, 24/7 ubiquitous coverage. As part of the selection process, a solutions evaluation tender process took place, involving numerous government agencies. Competing propositions involved satellite communications and other network technologies. SPOT’s coverage and economical price were influencing factors, according to Ship Expert Technology CEO, Kirk Viaimal. He said, “We are delighted to work in partnership with Globalstar and Thaicom to help the Thailand Marine Department support the country’s travel sector.”
In an emergency, with the press of SPOT’s one-touch SOS button, an alert is instantly transmitted to Marine Services, the government authority responsible for maritime safety, along with the user’s GPS location coordinates. Depending on the incident, the Thailand Coastguard or local police authority is engaged and rescue operations are initiated.
SPOT Gen4 is the newest member of Globalstar’s award-winning SPOT device family, enabled by Globalstar’s satellite fleet in LEO. SPOT features easy-to-use buttons that can be flexibly configured to send pre-programmed messages, with options for transmission types. To date, SPOT devices are credited with more than 8,500 rescues worldwide.
One of the leading specialist SATCOM providers in the region, Ship Expert Technology offers a dedicated tracking platform with many features and options that meet the needs of marine users. Ship Expert Technology’s customer base extends beyond Thailand into Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
“We’re very proud to support the government of Thailand with its initiative to help keep visitors safe on Phuket and other islands,” said Mark O’Connell, General Manager, EMEA & APAC, Globalstar.