Thuraya launches location tracking services

Service will provide emergency assistance, tracking and reporting of staff through Thuraya GPS handsets

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By  Mark Sutton Published  December 29, 2008

Thuraya has launched two new location tracking services for corporate, NGO and government clients, to provide emergency tracking of personnel.

The new services, which build on the ThurayaLocate service, will be offered by UK location-based services and equipment provider Geonix, to allow companies to track the location of staff through their Thuraya handset, provide them with information and relay updates on position through SMS and email.

The service will be available in two models of delivery, ThurayaAssist, a fully managed service, which will give customers access to a global emergency response centre staffed by security specialists from security company red24. In the event that the user faces an emergency, the response centre will be able to locate the handset user to within ten metres, anywhere in the world, and then provide advice and co-ordination with external emergency services, embassies and so on.

The service also includes position reports and emergency messages relayed via SMS and email to employers, family and friends. Users will also be able to receive tailored security information and pre-trip briefings as part of the service, which will cost $250 per handset per year.

The ThurayaRelay service will offer the same location tracking and reporting, but with the response centre managed by the client themselves, for $150 per year.

Dr Sven Rohte, chief commercial officer of Thuraya said: “We are confident that these enhanced Thuraya location services will be a major step forward in aiding all our customers to report where they are and to have emergency services and travel security advice available to them at all times. Moreover, this is achieved without affecting their privacy.

“Thanks to the foresight of Thuraya from its inception, every mobile handset we have ever made contains a GPS positioning system, this is unique not only in the satellite world but in conventional GSM mobiles as well. We are delighted to be working more with Geonix, one of our independent third party developers, and believe today’s announcement further reaffirms the strength of our third party developer programme,” Rohte added.

David Bland, chief executive of Geonix commented: “We have been delightned by the success and user acceptance of the original ThurayaLocate service, which was recently designated in the top five new technologies available to Aid Agencies worldwide. These new services, developed in response to user feedback, enable us to provide a comprehensive answer to the security needs of the Thuraya customer base.”

3662 days ago

The services doesnt allow anyone to be tracked unless he wants to be tracked, the phone users has to accept that inorder for the system to work. I dont think there is anything in law agaisnt that.

3791 days ago

GPS positioing and cell site analysis to track people is nothing new, but making that service available to employers is. So one has to wonder about the legality of tracking employees even after working hours via such a service. Especially in view of the strong protection of individual privacy under Sha'aria law. I wonder what the UAE's legal position is on this new service? Likewise in neighbouring countries liks Saudi, Kuwait, etc.? Can an employer in UAE track an employee in Saudi in violation of Saudi privacy laws? Or do employees have to first consent to the use of such a service? Food for thought...

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