Inmarsat the key to solving South African farmers' isolation

A new satellite-based emergency call system promises to to help South African farmers protect themselves against rising crime in turbulent rural areas.

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By  Peter Conmy Published  August 23, 2000

Vulnerable rural farmers in South Africa can look forward to a safer future thanks to a new satellite crime-fighting device.

The S@tGuard is a specially designed satellite-based emergency call system developed jointly by Nortel Dasa and Prada Technologies and based on the requirements and recommendations of Agri South Africa, the South African Farmer’s Association, in a bid to combat the wave of farm killings in South Africa in recent years.

Inmarsat-C satellite solution is the key to the system, allowing farmers, their families and employees to raise the alarm in times of crises without relying on often unreliable telephone lines which may have been cut by attackers or damaged by a natural disaster.

When an alarm is set off, a signal is sent via Inmarsat-C to the emergency call centre in South Africa via the broadcast function of Inmarsat (which was originally developed in 1979 to serve the maritime community) to the specified neighbours and, using SMS, even to the cellphone of the farmer himself.

Medical Emergencies

In addition to this ‘one touch’ call for help in the event of an attack, the control panel for the system will also feature individual keys which allow distress calls for medical emergencies and fires, alerting rescue personnel to the type of emergency they are being called to.

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