SPOT Connect Turns an iPhone into a Satellite Communications Hub
Using SPOT’s SPOT Connect, users can turn their smartphone into a satellite powered communications center and skip the search for cellphone reception in remote areas.
SPOT Connect, a small hockey puck-shaped device that will set potential buyers back $169, employs a $99 a year service that allows users to send status updates to Twitter and Facebook as well as send and receive emails and text messages without having to first worry about whether they’re in a place covered by a working cell tower. This device also has an emergency beacon mode that can be used in the case of life-threatening emergencies where ever you are, though it does not support voice calls of any kind. The Spot Connect device itself is available at BestBuy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bass Pro and Sports Authority.
The entire experience is powered by Bluetooth connectivity and a Spot Connect companion app that’s installed on an iPhone 4S, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, iPad, or second, third, fourth and fifth generation iPod Touch. Together the system will link up with the Globalstar’s satellite communications system to keep its user in contact with the outside world. In addition to communications, SPOT Connect will also act as a sort of homing signal for a user’s physical whereabouts. Using the application’s built-in options, users could have the software and device package send out email, or text, with their exact geolocation and the time and date of which the location was logged.
Those using the communications solution can also track each other’s whereabouts via a social network built especially for users of SPOT Connect dubbed Spot Adventures. The online social network features the trips all sorts of adventurers including backpackers, boaters, campers, fisherman, road warriors, pilots and lone workers have shared their entire experience for all to see. A few of the more ambitious trips we found chronicled their included a user who flew from Torrance, California to Panama by a helicopter and a snowmobiler who cataloged his 1,368 mile journey through Quebec.
As smartphones and the constant internet access they provide become more essential, challenges in building out network connectivity wherever a user might be have grown. Because of the data-intensive nature of today’s smartphones, mobile carriers need new more cellphone towers to allow users to quickly and easily share essential information. However, since smartphones go relatively unused in rural areas and the wilderness, wireless device carriers have little interest building out cellphone network infrastructure that will see light daily traffic. It is simply considered a technological impossibility to build out networks in some areas, particularly remote regions frequented by outdoorsmen.
SPOT Connect plugs into that gap and offers a solution.