The tragic outbreak of Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia and other nations has raised a number of questions about health standards, poverty, and other problems facing African countries. However, in light of the American, European and Australian patients who have been diagnosed and returned to their home countries, many businesses are asking additional questions: for example, if their company conducts business in an isolated location, like many areas in Western Africa, how can they ensure that their employees are safe despite threats, illnesses and more?
This last question is nothing new: mining companies and other businesses who operate in exotic, isolated places have created substantial resources to prevent the spread of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. These resources often focus on everything from nutrition and sanitation to education, and even work alongside local and community-based initiatives. In light of the Ebola outbreak, many companies have also increased their efforts to limit the spread of disease, typically by increasing community access to sanitation equipment or testing workers for fever with infrared heat monitors. But what happens when serious accident or illness strikes? In locations where most mobile communication devices are spotty at best, are there wireless communication systems or other forms of mobile communication technology that can allow remote teams and sites to summon help?
Many companies have found a solution to this problem in the form of mobile satellite services, which use satellite telecommunications technology to transmit information from mobile communication devices. While satellite telecommunications have a long and illustrious history, including their use in intercontinental long distance telephony, most Americans will likely associate this technology with satellite radio. However, mobile satellite communications are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S., with the industry growing 3.4% annually from 2008 to 2013.
Mobile satellite systems use artificial communications satellites, or comsats, to relay telecommunications signals from space. Because of this, satellite communication can be achieved in a number of ways: for example, one common large scale solution links a local telephone system in a mainland area. Whatever location a company finds themselves in, and whatever problems they may be subjected to, one thing is certain: satellite-based mobile communication devices can help businesses give their employees the emergency help they may need.