People are so obsessed with being connected all the time that Mississauga-based SPOT LLC has launched a new satellite phone for the general public capable of making calls in the middle of nowhere.
The SPOT Global Phone is the newest product from the satellite messaging and emergency notification technology company whose Canadian office is located on Matheson Blvd in northeastern Mississauga.
“This allows the recreational user, whether they’re in poor cell coverage or no cell coverage, to communicate back home or dial 9-1-1 in case of emergency,” Globalstar Canada Satellite Co. vice president and General Manager Jim Mandala told YourMississaugaBiz.com.
Globalstar wholly owns the SPOT LLC subsidiary.
The company has sold over 200,000 satellite or GPS-enabled units and said there have been more than 2,000 life-saving events due to the use of SPOT products, Mandala said.
Mandala said that feedback from existing SPOT customers revealed that users wanted to be safe and be able to communicate as well.
“Even when you’re off the grid, people are looking to be connected,” he said, citing the Global Phone’s additional ability to allow laptops to check email via data cable.
The company plans on making the $499 Global Phone available in outdoor adventure stores like Mountain Equipment Co-Op, SAIL, Bass Pro Shops and boating retailer West Marine.
In addition to existing SPOT customers, the company also plans on marketing the device to outdoor regional groups involved in things like cottaging, backpacking, canoeing or boating. “They’ve always been looking for an option for a small number of phones for safety or communication purposes,” Mandala said.
The company has also received positive feedback on the Global Phone’s $499 CDN price point. “Customers are used to spending a fair bit of money to get the type of products that suit them for their outdoor adventures,” Mandala said, noting that up until recently, satellite phones and satellite technology were in the $1,000 to $2,000 range.
Ultimately, the company’s newest product is addressing the growing desire for connectivity and the ability to make calls or utilize data, even in remote areas.
“They’re wanting connectivity to any of their devices and they don’t ever want to let go of that smartphone,” Mandala said. “Even our remote workers who hardly used the phone as a backup safety device use it much more than they did five years ago.”
The Globalstar executive also predicted an increase in general usage and more new SPOT products in the future as a result of more people getting involved in outdoor activities. “I think what’s happening is they want to feel like they’re away, but they don’t want to feel like they’re not connected,” Mandala said.
Globalstar’s Canadian office employs 32 people. Working with the company’s U.S. quarters, the Canadian division was responsible for marketing, as well as the production and printing of the Global Phone’s packaging.