Portable STORM satellite terminal used during medical evacuation in Gobi Desert

London 06 August 2001The STORM portable satellite data terminal, developed by the United Kingdom satellite communications specialist Ottercom Ltd. and configured for worldwide operation at ISDN speeds via Inmarsat's Global Area Network (GAN) satellite service, has played a key role in Raleigh International's recent expedition to Mongolia. The Ottercom STORM has provided Raleigh International with "anywhere anytime" data and voice communications, for the youth development charity's projects in the challenging environment of the Gobi Desert, and also proved its worth during an emergency evacuation.


Raleigh International runs expeditions for young people around the world. The projects depend on reliable communications systems, which have to meet the rigorous demands and harsh environmental conditions of the earth's most remote locations. Raleigh's expedition to the Gobi Desert has provided Ottercom with the opportunity for extended field trials of the STORM portable data terminal, prior to the system's market launch during August 2001.

Dominic O'Neill, Raleigh's Country Director for the expedition, explained: "The STORM has proved to be an important tool, a valuable and versatile addition to our communications set-up, particularly during the recent medical evacuation. Following an emergency radio call one morning, reporting that an already sick volunteer's condition had deteriorated further, we mobilised a helicopter evacuation. The STORM helped to ensure our pre-planned evacuation response was implemented as effectively and efficiently as possible."

"We were working in a very remote area, and I used the terminal to keep in constant e-mail and telephone contact with our Field Base. This enabled me to relay and receive messages, in order to keep up-to-date with the international evacuation plans being co-ordinated with London. Accompanied by an expedition medic, I flew to the Gobi desert in a chartered army helicopter to evacuate the volunteer, who was transported to Dalanzadgad, the main town in the Gobi. The STORM terminal continued to provide vital back-up for the team during the following 24 hours."

Following the successful evacuation, the volunteer was transported to Hong Kong for treatment. Fully recovered, he was then able to rejoin Raleigh's Mongolian expedition a week later. During the expedition, the volunteers were working on environmental projects tracking small mammals and birds, assisted with community projects constructing straw-bale clinics, and took part in an adventure project, involving a 200 km trek across the Gobi desert.

Ottercom's STORM portable satellite data terminal is designed as a tough self contained package, comprising an integral telephone handset, keypad and LCD screen, and incorporates a quick-folding single-piece antenna, and multiple interfaces. It can be swiftly deployed via a simple set-up routine, and enables high-speed data and voice communication from the most remote locations, and under the harshest climatic conditions.

The terminal transforms the concept of the global office into a practical reality, and is manufactured using an extremely strong but lightweight alloy, for maximum resilience and reliability in the field. STORM allows access to corporate networks and the Internet from anywhere in the world, either at the standard ISDN speed of 64 kbits/s, or at speeds of up to 128 kbits/s, by using Ottercom's unique twin-terminal ISDN Bonding Interface.

STORM is aimed particularly at those situations in which an alternative telecommunications infrastructure is unavailable, and is ideally suited to applications ranging from corporate data interchange, disaster relief, peacekeeping and defence, to geological surveying, news gathering, broadcasting, and telemedicine.

Compatible with the Inmarsat Mobile Packet Data Service (MPDS), the STORM terminal supports Internet browsing, e-mail, store and forward video, still picture transmission, broadcast quality voice, and videoconferencing. A comprehensive selection of interfaces, including ISDN, X21, RS449, USB, and RS232, provides complete connectivity, and the Ottercom STORM also integrates a versatile interface for customer-specific applications.

Part of the Richtec PLC group of companies, Ottercom Ltd.'s technology and strategic partnership developments provide the essential ingredients for the converging global communications environment. Ottercom's capabilities encompass the development of individual products through to complete systems, building on a unique expertise in satellite and terrestrial RadioFrequency technologies. Strategic partnerships represent a key component of Ottercom's strategy. For example, as a long-term Inmarsat Partner, Ottercom has developed solutions for the full range of Inmarsat global mobile communications networks.

Leslie Versweyveld

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