Digicore and Iridium Satellite Fallback Has Snowy Hydro Covered
Partnering with Snowy Hydro, Digicore, a Melbourne-based telematics company specializing in IVMS solutions in the mining, transport, and government sectors, required an incredibly versatile and scalable vehicle tracking solution to enhance asset and driver safety in extremely rugged terrain – The Australian Alps. Operating in areas with patchy cellular coverage meant that the solution needed to offer satellite communication fallback.
Managing IVMS in vehicles on worksites with spotty cellular coverage becomes increasingly challenging, particularly in remote and regional Australia, where tracking the current location of vehicles on-screen 24/7 is a national requirement, as standardized by Safer Together, a national not-for-profit committed to building a strong and consistent safety culture in oil and gas exploration and production industries.
“We chose Digital Matter’s G120 because it’s incredibly dynamic,” says Dan Bayley, General Manager of Digicore. “IVMS isn’t just about vehicle tracking… It’s an overall safety spec being applied nationally – from capturing location data to driver ID, seat belt usage, harsh driving, speeding, panic buttons, and more. The G120’s versatility allows us to connect a wide range of sensors to capture the data we need, even when vehicles roam out of cellular coverage.”
The G120 – Cellular / Hybrid GPS Tracking Device
The G120 is a Cellular 2G or LTE-M / NB-IoT / Optional Iridium Satellite Hybrid GPS tracking device with inputs/outputs, RS-232 Interface, Bluetooth®, and remote immobilization for fleet management, driver ID, driver safety and behavior monitoring, remote worker safety, theft recovery, and more.
When a vehicle is within cellular coverage, data transfer is handled via the G120’s cellular modem for real-time location and safety monitoring.
When the device leaves cellular coverage and is connected to an Iridium Edge Module, it connects to the Iridium Satellite Network instead of cellular to transmit critical IVMS data.
The Iridium Satellite constellation covers the entire earth, so voice and data can be transmitted from anywhere worldwide. This makes an Iridium device capable of lone or remote worker tracking, tracking of vehicles in out-of-coverage areas, and enables duress or rollover alerts in these locations.
Digicore and Snowy Hydro
Having lost “more than half the homes at its operational town as well as sustained damage to heavy machinery and communications equipment,” after bushfires hit Snowy Hydro in late 2019-2020, out-of-coverage tracking with Iridium became a necessity.
“Many of the cell towers in the Snowy Hydro region burnt down during the fires,” says Bayley. “The G120 started as the Cellular/Iridium hybrid, and now it’s basically just Iridium until new cellular towers are built.”
The Snowy Mountains Scheme is an integrated water and hydro-electric power utility located in Australia’s Southern Alps, providing around 32% of all renewable energy available to the eastern mainland grid of Australia.
The physical terrain of the Snowy Mountain Scheme also continues to evolve as a result of both the bushfires and seasonal changes, reinforcing the need for reliable devices to meet vital safety requirements.
“It’s treacherous terrain out there to begin with,” says Bayley. “With the trees gone, there is no ground cover, which can cause landslides. And as it gets colder, the chances of avalanches increase. It’s imperative vehicles and personnel have the ability to get the message out in case something happens.”
When configured, accident, rollover, and panic alerts from the G120 are sent immediately via the Iridium Edge module enabling vital, time-sensitive remote worker safety alerts.
- Setting custom speed limits on private property, such as a mine site, and triggering a buzzer when the driver exceeds the limit.
- Disabling cellular communication (and GPS fixes for a period) in a sensitive area, such as at an airport, or on an oil rig.
- Using alternate logging parameters depending on the area a device is in, to optimize battery life.
- Turning on a vehicle’s emergency lights in a specific area.
Portable IVMS for Short-Term Hires
As mining, oil and gas sites continue to mandate IVMS for all worksite vehicles, even short-term contractors and hired vehicles must comply. As a zero-install solution, Digicore has also transformed the G120 into a portable IVMS unit for a fast, affordable, wire-free solution.
“Given that so much of what is required to be compliant on site with IVMS, the portable unit does an excellent job covering almost all of the mandatory requirements,” says Bayley. “It really does make staying IVMS compliant on site an easy decision – no matter how long your contract is, or whether you own the vehicle or not.”