The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate and U.S. Border Patrol have invested in a commercial satellite communications technology that provides portable situational awareness.
“The focus of S&T's investment is threefold. First is to add security controls into the already-available commercial product so that it can be approved for transmitting and receiving official DHS data,” said S&T program manager Shawn McDonald.
DHS said Wednesday it demonstrated the Somewear-made Global Hotspot in June to evaluate the device's operational performance. Global Hotspot facilitates chat and location data transmissions via satcom links.
The technology's operational testing took place in Montana and demonstrated ease of use. A border security agent who participated in the test said he was able to use the device despite being the least technical person in his team.
S&T selected Somewear to develop the device under the Long-Range Broad Area Announcement solicitation. The company underwent a preliminary analysis alongside other satcom technology makers.
“In less than six months this product is showing tremendous potential to fill a communications gap across many of our DHS components, and at a price-point that allows for wide deployment,” added McDonald.