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Youth Search and Rescue to get free satellite tech

20 July 2018

Youth Search and Rescue (YSAR), the training organisation for future Search and Rescue volunteers, is getting a free helping hand from New Zealand internet service provider Wireless Nation.

Under a new partnership, Wireless Nation will provide YSAR with satellite internet for communications, data sharing, and navigation across New Zealand.

“As we’ve seen with the rescue of the boys stuck in the cave in Thailand, the availability and skills of the search and rescue teams are often the difference between life and death,” YSAR General Manager Steve Campbell says.

“An absolutely essential part of our training is to have reliable communications and accurate navigation systems in the most remote parts of New Zealand. There are also significant opportunities for us to be innovative and explore new technologies to improve communications in operational management, planning, and intelligence.

“Wireless Nation’s network will become an absolutely indispensable part of our job and help us ultimately train our people to save more lives.”

Under the agreement, Wireless Nation will provide internet connectivity via satellite or mobile network. The company has the best rural coverage of any New Zealand internet service provider.

YSAR will share relevant data gathered from field exercises with Wireless Nation to help the company develop solutions for Search and Rescue and Emergency Services working in the most challenging environments.

“YSAR will provide us with use cases for different communication technologies,” Wireless Nation technical director Tom Linn says.

“They’ll flag any challenges they have in using them in the field, record the amount of time it takes them to set up communication systems, record the power supply requirements of equipment, and test the overall robustness of our communication systems.”

“All of this data will help us ensure we provide world-class network solutions to the brave New Zealanders who risk their own lives to save others.”

As well as providing YSAR with the connectivity it needs for communications and navigation, Wireless Nation will provide it with a portable base station to connect with sensors in the field, such as GPS trackers, temperature sensors, vibration sensors, and panic alarms.

Wireless Nation says it admires the work of New Zealand Search and Rescue so it was a natural fit for it to support YSAR.

“We pride ourselves on having the most comprehensive coverage across New Zealand, so it makes sense for us to provide our tech to help train tomorrow’ssearch and rescue crews,” Linn says.


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