BGAN and iSatPhone Pro Came to the Rescue in the Outback


Race team uses connectivity to tackle the elements in the Solar Challenge.

National pride was at stake when students from the University Of New South Wales (UNSW) took their solar powered vehicle tom the ultimate test. Equipped with nothing more than a BGAN Satellite and an IsatPhone Pro, they drove 3,000km across the unforgiving Outback.

The drive was all part of the World Solar Challenge in which 37 teams, representing 20 different countries, made the trek from Darwin to Adelaide.

The partnership team with Sunswift IV

Addcom Contact Solutions were on board to support the solar efforts of UNSW’s Sunswift Team. Addcom provides Inmarsat services as solutions for businesses across the country.

The state-of-the-art vehicular terminal was comprised of a pair of IsatPhone Pro satellite phones, generously provided by Addcom, as well as an Addvalue Wideye Safari land vehicular BGAN terminal. Those items added a real touch of technology to the Sunswift IV carbon fibre vehichle.

Those additions were not just for show though, and were put in place to provide internet access and voice calls that were critical to running the race. This is especially true when you consider that 3G networks are virtually nowhere to be found in the Australian Outback.

The equipment was so efficient the team was able to stay connected even at speeds of up to 100km/h.

The Sunswift team used BGAN terminals to access a supercomputer located at the UNSW. From there they were able to access hourly weather data that helped them attain top speeds without killing their battery.

Other BGAN Satellite uses included Keeping race followers updated via social media, and Updating their web-based Sunswift Live map which allowed fans to track the team’s exact location

They were also able to use the IsatPhone Pro to keep in contact with their support team and the race HQ.

All the teams were forced to battle dust storms, bush fires and extreme temperatures. By the time it was all over only 7 of the original 37 teams made it to the end, with Sunswift taking sixth position.

Robert Lewis, national channel manager at Addcom Contact Solutions praised the team and the technology they used. He claimed that it was a credit to both that they were able to finish the races despite cloudy skies and temperature changes, pointing out that the data that the Sunswift team was able to download played a major part in their success.

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