Thursday, November 1st, 2012
A woman who slipped and was knocked unconscious while completing a solo charity walk in Western Australia has been saved thanks to a small tracking device distributed by a Gold Coast company.

Southport based Pivotel has supplied the SPOT satellite GPS messengers, which utilises their Globalstar ground network, since 2009, and which helped save the life of Nivia Pryor who was three days into a 55 day trek on the Bibbulmun Track.

The track is one of the world’s great long distance walk trails, stretching nearly 1,000km from Kalamunda in the Perth Hills to Albany on the south coast.

Ms Pryor, an IT professional based in Brisbane, says she first heard about the SPOT satellite GPS messenger through a hiking blog while preparing for the walk.

“I was very interested when I read about SPOT as it looked like it could come in handy if I got into trouble, particularly on my hike along the Bibbulmun Track,” Ms Pryor says.

“I had no idea how important it would turn out to be, especially after I slipped and hit my head on a rock that knocked me unconscious for two hours.

“I’d recommend it to anyone who is considering bushwalking or even just travelling to remote locations – it’s a vital piece of inexpensive safety equipment that saved my life.”

Pivotel managing director, Peter Bolger, says with no mobile phone reception available it was ideal Ms Pryor was carrying the SPOT device.

“The SPOT device was preprogrammed to send a message to her partner in Brisbane at the press of a button, including the coordinates of where she was for the police to be able to find her,” Mr Bolger says.

“This is a happy ending to what could have been a tragic event, and reinforces how important it is to ensure you have the right equipment when tackling challenging adventure pursuits.”

The inexpensive SPOT GPS messenger, which costs just $199, has sold over 20,000 devices in Australia and New Zealand alone. The device does require a service subscription which is available from USD $115 per year.

So far this year there has been 36 SPOT SOS alerts triggered in Australia, 10 in New Zealand and two each in Fiji and Papua New Guinea, with 1,900 SOS alerts triggered globally.

Mr Bolger says SPOT is the world’s first satellite messenger and uses the GPS satellite system to determine your location before transmitting that information to let your family know you’re OK or ask for help from a friend. The device can be used to send or Text OK messages, continuous tracking messages or emergency SOS alerts.

“Traditional GPS devices tell you where you are, but only SPOT uses communications satellites to tell your contacts where you are and how you’re doing,” Mr Bolger says.

“The device is small, light, water resistant and built for extremes and has a battery life of over three months if no tracking or SOS functions are used, and almost three days when an SOS is activated.

“SPOT has helped initiate rescues around the world, even from some of the most remote places, and this latest rescue demonstrates just how valuable it is.”

SPOT is one of a number of Pivotel products including; Satellite network consumer and enterprise solutions and Tracertrak, an asset tracking solution.

The Pivotel Group employs over 50 staff and is one of four Australian licensed mobile telecommunications companies providing high quality services including voice and data communications right across the country.

In addition Pivotel also provides wholesale carrier services such as bulk messaging and call centre services.