The AST Group of companies is a global supplier of the Inmarsat IsatHub / iSavi satellite Wi-Fi hotspot. This lightweight, highly portable terminal is quick and easy to set up, enabling users to access broadband services via a satellite connection, within minutes.
Access to reliable communications is crucial when disaster strikes and the Wideye iSavi terminal, on the Inmarsat IsatHub service, provides a dependable, global connection for any smart device or laptop.
Natural disasters, particularly floods, are frequent in South East Africa and Wings Like Eagles (WLE) have helped deliver emergency relief since the charity was founded in 2007.
When disaster hits it can take weeks for supplies to arrive in rural villages by road or air drop. By using a locally-based helicopter, WLE can provide a very early response to emergencies, therefore saving lives.
In previous deployments, incident location information could only be collected by paper and pen. This involved the pilot or observer reading locations from dash mounted GPS displays or referring to local passengers for names and china-marking air maps with geo information. This was then manually transcribed to note books and paper maps on the ground for use by the emergency planning authorities, other aid workers and rescue pilots.
In order to make this process more efficient, WLE worked with Helyx, a provider of end-to-end Geographic Information Systems, to create a solution. A map-based recording system called COLLECTOR was used, which allowed data collection without cell phone data coverage or Wi-Fi signal.
As the WLE helicopter pilots fly across areas where relief is needed, they can tap their locations into the COLLECTOR App on an iPad.
The iSavi Wi-Fi hotspot, supplied by Applied Satellite Technology Systems Ltd, has enabled the WLE crew to upload the information collected to a central database once they return to the ground. The Inmarsat IsatHub service is low-cost, and the easy-to-use terminal allows the charity to send data relating to medical and food aid necessities, emergency rescue requirements, potential landing sites and potential aid distribution points.
The development of the COLLECTOR application, combined with the new iSavi terminal and Inmarsat IsatHub service has made the process of transporting relief to disaster-struck areas faster and more reliable.
The IsatHub/iSavi/COLLECTOR solution has recently been deployed to assist the relief effort following the earthquake in Nepal.