Iridium Communications has unveiled its next-generation “Iridium 9602” satellite data transceiver at its annual Partners Conference in Phoenix, Ariz.
The Iridium 9602 is a full-duplex short-burst data (SBD) transceiver designed for embedded applications in the rapidly growing market for remote asset tracking and monitoring solutions. The product, which is the culmination of a two-year R and D program, has completed prototype testing, and Iridium expects to begin commercial deliveries in June.
“The smaller, lower-cost Iridium 9602 will serve as the data communication engine for a wide range of portable tracking and monitoring devices, leveraging Iridium’s global coverage and low-latency, two-way data links,” said Don Thoma, executive vice president for marketing at Iridium.
“Our service partners are already testing prototypes in their Iridium 9602-based solutions for applications such as tracking soldiers and military vehicles in the field, telemetry from unattended sensors, fleet management, enterprise logistics and supply-chain visibility, as well as personal two-way navigation and mapping devices.”
“The matchbox-sized Iridium 9602 is 69 percent smaller, 74 percent lighter and considerably less expensive than the first-generation Iridium 9601 SBD modem, which we designed the Iridium 9602 to replace,” said Thoma. “The very small form factor and low power consumption will offer greater flexibility to value-added manufacturers (VAM) and resellers (VAR) embedding the Iridium 9602 into their products.”
“The Iridium 9602 focuses on highest overall value of price and performance offering global, real-time service combined with new lower pricing,” said Patrick Shay, vice president, data services, Iridium. “The Iridium 9602 is the highest value in the industry.”
A unique feature of the Iridium 9602 is its built-in GPS input/output ports which will permit system integrators to interface with an external GPS receiver, using a single dual-mode L-Band antenna for GPS and Iridium SBD, saving the cost of an antenna in their applications.
The duplex data links provided by the Iridium 9602 will permit two-way communications to and from the remote devices, allowing users to reprogram the unit, adjust its reporting intervals and send on-demand queries for specific data updates. It will also enable first responders and search-and-rescue authorities to respond to emergency distress signals from personal location and tracking devices.
“Prototype evaluations from Iridium’s service partners have been positive,” Thoma said. “More than 90 companies are working on plans to embed the Iridium 9602 in their next-generation products.”
“Our phase-out program for the Iridium 9601 will allow for ample overlap with the Iridium 9602, to ensure that our VAMs and VARs will be able to transition seamlessly to the new technology,” said Thoma.
According to a November 2009 report by TMF Associates, the number of low data rate mobile satellite service (MSS) devices is projected to grow from 1.5 million active terminals at the end of 2009 to more than 3.1 million active terminals by the end of 2013, a compound annual growth rate of 21 percent.
Tim Farrar, a satellite industry analyst and author of the report, said, “Low-cost portable satellite tracking and messaging devices are an important new opportunity, and represent one of the fastest growing parts of the low data rate MSS market. The introduction of two-way connectivity will further stimulate market growth, particularly among professional users who may have been reluctant to rely on one-way satellite devices offering no assurance that a message has been received.”