[23 June 2016] PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications (Smart), in partnership with leading mobile satellite communications company Thuraya, recently announced the availability of new satellite devices and accessories to facilitate more efficient coordination during emergencies and disasters.
Smart Senior Manager Jonathan Huertas explains how Thuraya IP+, the lightest satellite broadband
terminal available, works. Compact and durable, IP+ can be easily deployed anywhere.
“With these new satellite device offers, we hope to help companies prepare for disaster and ensure business continuity,” said First Vice President for Global Access and International Services, Tina Mariano.
To facilitate communication even when cellular signal is compromised, Smart makes available the SmartSAT XT Lite, a handheld lightweight satellite phone which is handy during emergencies and disasters. SmartSAT XT Lite handset may be used indoors through the use of SmartSAT Fixed Docking Unit.
Smart also offers SatSleeve Hotspot which turns an Android or iOS smartphone to a satellite phone.
Connectivity via satellite
Smart also released connectivity devices via satellite, like broadband solutions Atlas IP and Orion IP especially designed for the maritime industry. Ideal for disaster situations, compact and durable Thuraya IP+ was also showcased during the event. The lightest satellite broadband terminal available, IP+ can be easily deployed anywhere.
In the recent #Pagyanig and #MMShake drill led by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Smart provided satellite phones and IP+ devices to emergency operations clusters and other agencies participating in the nationwide drill.
Satellite services during disasters
The importance of satellite phones was highlighted during Yolanda. Mariano remembered, “During Yolanda, the people in Tacloban had no way to call for help. Smart provided the government and the military—from the Office of the President to the Cabinet and agencies - satellite phones.”
PMFTC Inc. Security Manager Jonathan Torento, who arrived in Tacloban two days after Yolanda to check on their personnel, offices and warehouses, shared that the initial challenge was to communicate the situation on the ground to Manila. “We had a satellite dish but there was no power. We relied on generators for electricity but we had to compete with other power users. After collecting all the data and pictures of affected offices and warehouses, I had to fly to Cebu to send them to Manila so the bosses can provide the appropriate support.”
Realizing that reliable and robust communication is vital to any business, Torento contacted Smart immediately to purchase SatSleeve devices. “We are now upgrading our business continuity program and we will be setting up plans for different disaster-prone areas around the country. Smart satellite phones will definitely be an important part of our plan.” Torento added.
Smart has been consistent in providing immediate libreng tawag services in affected areas when there are disasters. But apart from providing communications as relief during disasters, Smart has also taken an active role in strengthening the capacity of high-risk communities to prepare for, manage, and recover from the impact of disasters.
It has developed the Batingaw mobile app for OCD-NDRRMC to serve as a tool for nationwide disaster management. Furthermore, Smart offers a web-based disaster communications solution called Smart Infocast to government agencies, local government units, and other disaster-prone communities to aid in dissemination of warnings and safety information.
All these efforts, services, and innovations to help improve communications for humanitarian emergencies are part of Smart’s #SafePH campaign and commitment to the GSMA Humanitarian Connectivity Charter.
#SafePH is part of Smart’s corporate social responsibility program—Smart Communities. To know more about Smart Communities and #SafePH, visit smart.com.ph/safeph or facebook.com/smartcommunities.