Home Business IT Networking Plastiki brings oceanic pollution to prime time - via Inmarsat

Sometime this weekend or early next week, Plastiki the boat built from 12,500 recycled plastic bottles will sail into Sydney Harbour at the end of a 13,000km four month voyage from San Francisco to raise awareness of pollution in the world's oceans. According to expedition leader, David de Rothschild, satellite voice and data communications provided by Inmarsat have contributed enormously towards achieving this objective.



Since its departure, the Plastiki team say they have conducted over 50 media interviews that have resulted in more than 300 print articles, 200 radio and TV broadcasts and 1,000 mentions on websites. Google now has in excess of one million Plastiki hits and 52,200 Plastiki related images. The highlight was an estimated six million viewers to an interview by Oprah Winfrey.

With sponsorship from global communications satellite operator, Inmarsat, Plastiki has had constant voice and video communications with the world via Inmarsat FleetBroadband service and a Sailor FleetBroadband 500 terminal supplied by Satcom and able to support data at up to 432kbps. Inmarsat distributor, and Inmarsat subsidiary, Stratos Global, provided the airtime.

iTWire spoke to de Rothschild first via standard phone to Plastiki's satphone number, and then via Skype over the terminal's Internet connection. Voice quality on both connections was excellent.

He told iTWire that the connectivity had transformed the expedition. "We did this voyage because we wanted to connect with the world and the only way we have been able to do that has been with the help of Inmarsat.

"I am totally indebted to Inmarsat for their vision in supporting this. The instant feedback has enabled the community to be part of the adventure'¦This has changed our expedition. We have been getting letters and emails from al over the world. The feedback has been instantaneous."


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De Rothschild said the ability to tweet, blog, upload videos and photographs and talk to journalists live had "taken this expedition to a global level overnight."

"On previous expeditions we'd have a big spike of interest when w leave and one when we got back and a great black hole in between. This time it has been a continual conversation and I think Inmarsat has enabled it to be one of the most connected expeditions ever.

"If you look at other expeditions around the world that are trying to raise awareness, I doubt that any have had the connectivity we have had."

De Rothschild was even able to watch his favourite soccer team Chelsea beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final - via Slingbox which rerouted the live feed of the match delivered to a friend's Sky TV receiver in the UK over the Internet and the Inmarsat satellite to the FleetBroadband terminal on the boat.

His awareness raising campaign has also had an impact on sponsor, Inmarsat, "They have made a commitment to ban bottled water in their HQ and to use filtered water instead," de Rothschild said.



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Stuart Corner


Tracking the telecoms industry since 1989, Stuart has been awarded Journalist Of The Year by the Australian Telecommunications Users Group (twice) and by the Service Providers Action Network. In 2010 he received the 'Kester' lifetime achievement award in the Consensus IT Writers Awards and was made a Lifetime Member of the Telecommunications Society of Australia. He was born in the UK, came to Australia in 1980 and has been here ever since.






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