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We currently offer the buoy “engine” packaged in a waterproof case that can be serviced in the field. The case is designed to be attached to a floating object above the waterline — not to float in the water itself.
Our real-world experience is being closely monitored. The oldest OTR-300 buoys we have in the field have been talking seven times per day since January of 2011 and are still going strong. The batteries are also providing power to an external temp sensor. If one went only by the power charts, the figures would look much better. Our experience is that power charts are generally inaccurate and they don’t take into consideration the shelf life of batteries.
Since that time, we have purchased the new Iridium modems and have started the process of testing and of becoming a VAR for Iridium. We wanted to provide service to the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas (arctic Alaska) and the Iridium network has great coverage at high latitudes. However, that market did not sufficiently develop so we have stayed with Inmarsat as a well-proven system for our current market.
We would seriously pursue Iridium (or OrbComm) if a customer required it. Messaging costs will vary slightly. Each satellite network has its own strengths and weaknesses.