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News

Global asset tracking system now available commercially

Qinetiq : 23 January, 2009  (New Product)
Iridium based system used by QinetiQ South Pole challenge team available for commercial asset tracking purposes
Global asset tracking system now available commercially
Having developed and delivered a secure global asset tracking solution to the British military, QinetiQ can now offer a low-cost yet secure end-to-end Iridium satellite based managed service solution to commercial customers. … And to demonstrate system performance, one of the small tracking devices was fitted to the front of James Cracknell's sled, to successfully track the progress of Team QinetiQ as they raced through the spartan and harsh Antarctic environment during their race to the South Pole.

Delivering secure, worldwide, near real-time information, QinetiQ's easy to use system is based on commercial "off the shelf" technology and has a proven track record operating in the harshest environments around the world. In addition to asset tracking, QinetiQ is able to support this system with a managed service that adds functionality including performance monitoring, equipment redundancy and equipment support / repair. Positional information is derived from a GPS receiver built into the tracking device which can also be set up to relay other data, including video.

The asset tracking service is designed around a lightweight / low power tracking beacon that sends regular updates via the Iridium low earth orbit satellite constellation. Once received at a ground station the data is then transmitted via a secure internet link to wherever the information is required. It can also be uploaded back up to the Iridium satellite system if the data is needed at remote / mobile ground terminals.

During Team QinetiQ's race to the South Pole the system sent data back faultlessly every 30 minutes providing tracking information and communications support. This allowed the support crew, and interested people around the world, keep up with the exact position of the team during the race. The BBC film crew following the team for a documentary series also receive this positional information, enabling them to quickly and easily catch up with Team QinetiQ as they filmed their progress during the race.

"The tracking system proved invaluable as we were able to monitor the progress of Team QinetiQ in real time and know exactly where they were," explained Gethyn Longworth, part of QinetiQ's technical support team for the race. "The other five teams in the South Pole race simply provided a latitude and longitude at agreed times each day, so their current positions were more approximate - particularly when they were pushing hard. Our equipment performed as expected even in temperatures of -40°C or lower but would perform equally as well in hot or humid conditions, so is a truly global asset tracking solution."
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