In cooperation with Taiwan’s Executive Yuan, the National Fire Agency of the Ministry of the Interior, and national communications carrier Chunghwa Telecom, Garmin has launched a handheld communications device utilizing low-orbit satellites that can assist people in emergencies when out of mobile phone communications range.
Taiwan is one of the most mountainous countries in the world, with around 70% of its landmass consisting of mountains, of which 268 are more than 3,000 meters high. According to statistics, in the past two years the number of people taking part in outdoor mountain activities such as hiking has increased by 108%.
The inReach Mini 2 satellite communication device is built according to US military standard MIL-STD-810 and has a maximum battery life of 14 days. It provides two-way text messaging, 24-hour shared positioning and position tracking, and an interactive SOS global emergency help service. Another feature is “TRACBACK,” which can help someone who is lost find their way back to their starting point.
Deputy General Manager of Garmin Asia marketing and business Lin Mengyuan said that the company had launched the product in the European and American markets in 2019 and had since received more than 9,000 SOS rescue incident signals. Introducing the service to Taiwan has been complicated and slowed by legal restrictions, Lin said.
However, an increasing amount of emergency incidents, including the high profile case of former vice president of technology corporation Pegatron who went missing and was found dead in March this year, has raised awareness among the public and government officials of the importance of satellite communications services.
In a press release issued October 3, Chunghwa Telecom stated that it has been actively improving the coverage of mobile communications throughout Taiwan and has invested a large amount of money and manpower to extend mobile communications in remote mountain areas.
Chunghwa said that it has launched the Garmin inReach satellite communications service in partnership with Garmin using the low-orbit Iridium satellite network so that people out of mobile coverage range can call for assistance in case of emergency. Chunghwa Telecom will continue to work closely with the Forest Management Office, the National Park Management Office, and municipal governments to optimize and improve communication quality of each trail.
Chunghwa said that people who purchase the device can apply for the basic level of Garmin inReach satellite communication service, and after obtaining the registration code, go to the GarminExplore website to subscribe to the value-added service, and all applications can be completed within about 5 minutes.
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