handheld device that is taking the world by storm has been launched
in New Zealand and is set to be available in stores in time for
Globalstar Inc.'s Spot Messenger has been released
in New Zealand after leading Queensland-based telecommunications
company Pivotel Group sealed a distribution deal to sell the personal
The state-of-the-art device has previously been
available in the United States, Canada and Europe. It uses the Globalstar
constellation of 48 low earth orbit satellites to monitor
the location of the device.
Tales of successful rescues thanks to SPOT devices
have made international headlines, including the rescue of Canadian
kayaker Derek Crook who was stranded off the west coast of Tasmania
earlier this year.
Mr Crook, who bought his SPOT in Canada, pressed
the emergency alert button after capsizing his kayak. The alert
was then received by the emergency response centre, which notified
the coast guard.
Pivotel Group managing director Peter Bolger
said he expected the device to be a 'sensation' in New Zealand because
of the nation's outdoors lifestyle.
"The SPOT Messenger is a crucial addition
when doing anything outdoors that is in a remote area or out of
cellular reach," Mr Bolger said.
"New Zealanders are fortunate to have so
much open space to explore for recreational purposes," he said,
"but in an emergency situation it can be a great disadvantage
cannot contact anyone immediately."
"The beauty of SPOT is that it can be used
in an emergency with the signal reaching a global emergency centre
within five minutes where it is immediately relayed to the
appropriate authorities, or you can send a signal to your family
just to let them know where you are."
Mr Bolger said he predicted the device would
also be adopted by commercial operators for the security and monitoring
"Overseas, SPOT has been making inroads
into the commercial market especially for businesses which have
staff operating in isolated and remote areas, such as farms etc,"
"It is also a perfect device for adventure
tourism operators to ensure everyone is safe."
Mr Bolger said the device was a necessity for
anyone with an adventurous streak.
"At the end of the day, a NZ$$377.78 (+
GST) piece of equipment may save your life," he said.
SPOT has four distinct functions that can be
executed through a simple push of a button, a locator, an emergency
function, a help function and a tracking function that can
be followed through Google maps.
The device sends a signal to the satellite constellation,
which is then translated into a user-friendly format that notifies
or more pre-defined contacts of the user's location
via email or SMS.
The email features a link to the exact position
of the particular SPOT on Google Maps.
The locator or "Check-In" function
is designed to keep those close to you informed on your status and
location. Using the Check-In function gives the user the ability
to send a
pre-written message to any pre-programmed contacts.
The Help function allows the user to notify a
family-member or friend that they require assistance.
The device has an annual subscription cost of
$USD115 a year.