Photographer and adventurer Justin Hession gave us his feedback about the A*LIVE at this early stage.
“I have just had a look at your website and the first impression and professionalism is excellent.
I have been using a SPOT GPS Messenger for 6-7 years now and thankfully never had to activate it under duress, however the main purpose of course is that of peace of mind which it certainly gives.
When the SPOT first came out it was great. Prior were Satellite phones which weren't very practical cost wise, weren't always with you and they were heavy.
After only seeing the video and reading from your website, some of my early feedback is as follows:
Firstly, it looks fantastic and you have all covered a lot of what I would be using it for. A great point is the motionless sensor or drifting outside the designated area. Sometimes one is alone and in an emergency I gather sometimes you are saving yourself rather than searching around for the A Live or Spot.
The real time GPS tracking is a great feature for those wanting to follow the progress of an expedition. I know there is a lot of worry on the home front and it was really appreciated when I was in Alaska for 3 months without mobile coverage. No matter how old you are mum still worries. Also the email and text via the smart phone is fantastic.”
Questions & Answers:
Justin: It has the 5 automatic alarms and one of them being unusual increase in speed or high impact. What happens when say its dropped from a height and can't be retrieved and sets off the emergency rescue when all is okay. How does one stop the helicopters arriving?
Answer: When the device starts sending SOS by its own, it starts buzzing, and all LEDs are flashing. You will feel, hear and/or see that it is "working". In that case you press the SOS button 3 times to switch it off, the device will send a "CANCEL SOS" message to the rescue chain and that’s it. (You could also do it by your accompanied smartphone when it’s paired with the A*LIVE)
Justin: I use a Mammut Pulse Barryvox when snowboarding backcountry and really like the search features. Everything helps however it’s usually the people you are with that start the search and have the best chance to rescue. Does it link with ones smartphone to work like a barryvox where one can follow
directions instead of just a GPS coordinate and would it rely on mobile coverage for it to track?
Answer: Yes, we have implemented a bluetooth ping (1 sec interval) during SOS. So whoever is around and has a smartphone (with the appropriate app) should be able to locate you within a range of 10-50m also outside GSM coverage.
Justin: The data plans are always tricky - I like that you can chose the use it by day or month. Most adventures don't last more than a month so having a yearly subscription sometimes doesn't make sense. I think the difference in plans could be explained better. I for example don't really know the difference between A*LIVE Safety & Messaging Global and A*LIVE Safety & Office Global and the prices seem to be the same per year as per month for the A*LIVE Safety & Office Global for example.
Answer: The difference between the latter is the amount of included satellite messages (100 to 1000). The basic fee is Eur 69/year, and then you choose only the months or weeks you are active to pay for (ranges from Eur 9/week or Eur 19/month to Eur 69/month).
Justin: Over all I think its an incredible improvement over the 7 year old SPOT messenger that I currently use. If I was in the market for something new I would definitely be interested in the A Live. You guys have done an amazing job.
Answer: thank you so much Justin!!!
Find more information about Justin, his team and their trips at http://planetvisible.com/present-project/