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Satellite communications partnership formed to bolster remote operations

Mobile satellite communications company Inmarsat has entered into an agreement with remote monitoring and communications specialist Harvest Technology Group and satellite and radio communication systems company AST to provide Harvest’s customers in the mining, energy and utilities sectors with the tools to manage assets remotely.

The tools will enable customers to remotely monitor assets, coordinate site surveys and conduct maintenance operations over real-time video and audio, transmitted through ultralow-bandwidth satellite communications.

Inmarsat says the energy, utilities and mining sectors are facing increasing pressure to maintain vital infrastructure and equipment while safeguarding workers, all in the most cost-effective way possible.

With global travel restrictions and sustainability challenges still impacting on many organisations, pressure is also mounting to enable personnel in remote locations to be connected live back to base, the office or home, thereby enabling simultaneous review and decision-making worldwide, the company notes.

The alliance between the three companies will bring greater functionality to Harvest’s data-anywhere solutions, which can transmit high-quality synchronised video and audio across an extremely low bandwidth.

Harvest’s popular Wearwolf wearable headset solution enables remote workers to communicate directly with technicians, engineers and site managers who may be located across different continents simultaneously, in real-time, from the comfort of their offices or homes.

From a connectivity standpoint, the Wearwolf solution enables high data rate streaming of video and audio over satellite by wirelessly connecting to Inmarsat’s robust and portable Explorer 710 broadband global area network terminal.

Inmarsat states that its global connectivity services are underpinned by a reliable satellite communications network, which is the backbone for maritime, aviation and land safety services throughout the world.

"This ensures that any type of survey, inspection or maintenance procedure can be experienced through the eyes and ears of the crews on the ground and directed by technicians and engineers as if they were on site, from anywhere in the world," states Inmarsat.

Inmarsat sector development director Steven Tompkins says the energy, utilities and mining sectors have all harnessed the benefits of global satellite communications to maintain safe and efficient operations for a number of years.

However, he says these challenges have been exacerbated by global restrictions imposed as a result of Covid-19, which means that there has never been a greater need for affordable solutions that help organisations collaborate, work together and improve operations, no matter where they are located.

As such, Tompkins points out that Harvest’s Wearwolf is an example of the company’s ingenuity, which harnesses both Inmarsat and AST’s expertise to provide organisations across these industries with the real-time communications they need to stay connected and support quicker decision-making.

“By developing a wearable solution that supports our high data rate streaming capabilities across a low-bandwidth connection, Harvest is facilitating highly efficient, safe, cost-effective and sustainable site surveys of pipelines and valuable assets across industrial sites in remote areas around the world,” he says.

AST MD Gregory Darling says the partnership supports AST’s vision to continuously empower its customers with dependable solutions that improve their operational efficiency, reduce their health and safety risk and minimise their carbon footprint.

Harvest MD Paul Guilfoyle notes that the alliance will not only enable the implementation of existing technology but will further fuel innovation for future “cutting-edge” communication initiatives.