4WD MODIFICATIONS - COMMUNICATIONS & NAVIGATION
ZOLEO is said to be the world’s first truly seamless global messaging and personal safety solution for smartphone users. We tested one that worked very well, in concert with our Apple iPhone 11 Pro smartphones.
The compact ZOLEO device connects via Bluetooth and a free app to users’ Android or Apple smartphones or tablets. With apps on both the sending smartphone and the receiving one, we found that messages flowed between the smartphones, via mobile phone networks or satellite.
When there was no mobile coverage the messages sent and arrived rapidly and were accompanied by a small satellite icon. Messages of up to 950 characters can be handled.
Usefully, only one ZOLEO unit was required for these transmissions, provided the smartphone that wasn’t in the vehicle with the ZOLEO had internet coverage.
The test unit had small LED status lamps and our only complaint with that was the difficulty of seeing them in strong sunlight.
ZOLEO uses the Iridium satellite network, which provides complete coverage of the globe through 66 interlinked low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites.
ZOLEO provides users with dedicated SMS numbers and email addresses that make it easy for contacts to reach them.
SOS alerts and check-in can be sent via the mobile app or directly through built-in buttons on the device. SOS alerts are sent to GEOS, a professional 24/7 emergency monitoring and dispatch service that is included with the monthly ZOLEO subscription. SOS messages are transmitted via the Iridium network and app users can exchange updates with GEOS throughout an emergency.
The ZOLEO satellite communicator is compact and provides over 200 hours of battery life. It is designed to operate in temperatures ranging from -20°C to 55°C, is shock-resistant and features an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance.
The ZOLEO has an MSRP of A$345 and monthly satellite messaging plans range from A$32 to A$80 for an unlimited usage plan. All ZOLEO plans include the option to suspend service temporarily when not in use.
If remote area travellers are happy to exchange messages, rather than have voice communications, the ZOLEO device is an alternative to a satellite phone.