Higher Ground SatPaq Offers Low Cost, Go Anywhere Messaging Service
We’ve all been there. A situation where you’re on the road—for work or vacation—and the urge to check in with loved ones or coworkers crops up, but when you take out your phone that promises it’s super smart you notice that the service signal is more or less nonexistent. Or, you might be in an emergency situation where you're in need of assistance, but, again, the dead zone you happen to be in is just the cherry on top of the cake. Looking to solve those very types of problem while offering a less-expensive option than others on the market, Higher Ground, a Silicon Valley tech company, decided to develop and launch the SatPaq.
What makes the SatPaq, a recently-launched product and a 2019 CES Innovation Award Honoree, a different option that other products you might see in this space gets down to the type of connectivity technology actually baked into the device. In a statement, the company explained that their product connects to Geostationary satellites—the first product of its kind to do so—rather than Low Earth Orbit satellites. Two key differences exist between the GEO and LEO satellites. First is that LEO satellites, as their name suggests, orbit the Earth. That means, while they still ensure messages can always be sent, there oftentimes can be a delay in delivery while the signal searches for a passing satellite; whereas GEO satellites are in a “stationary orbit” and will always be in view of the product. And second—and perhaps most importantly to potential users—GEO satellites are significantly less expensive to tap into than their LEO counterparts. According to Higher Ground, their GEO-based product doesn’t require monthly fees.
It’s not just about messaging, though. SatPaq provides users with location-based weather services, on-demand AI-guided first aid advice, roadside assistance (coming January 2019), location tracking, social media access, and 24/7 emergency assistance. Higher Ground said that the SatPaq device had been extensively tested with the help of National Park rangers, county search and rescue operations, Homeland Security agents, the U.S. Army Special Operations Forces, and power hikers over the past year.
Further, the device is the first GEO-enabled device to be designed in a credit-card-sized module. Higher Ground explained that this presented a unique challenge to their team, which resulted in 26 U.S. patents that either have been granted or are in process, and a new spectrum-sharing concept—which has been approved by the FCC specifically for the SatPaq.
The SatPaq is available now for $249 and will be on display at CES 2019 in Las Vegas in January.