More Americans are heading to the great outdoors in response to the COVID pandemic - and staying in touch via satellite when they do, according to a new study by satellite communications provider Iridium.
This is consistent with anecdotal reports from Pivotel customers who report using their satellite phones for outdoor adventures and have increased satellite phone rental activity in recent months.
In a new study, Iridium analyzed anonymized Iridium user location data with national parks, and found that after an immediate drop in traffic in March as the pandemic began, Iridium users visited national parks at a year-over-year increase of 23% in July and 26% in August.
"As the leading provider of personal satellite communication devices for consumers, it's good to see people escaping their work-from-home confinement and getting truly socially distanced into the wild," said Iridium CEO Matt Desch. "So many of us really have not been able to go to restaurants, concerts, the gym, movie theaters and so many other places. It makes sense that people are taking up activities that let them safely enjoy the summer and our nation's natural beauty."
The analysis used GPS boundary information for each national park and satellite geolocation to determine levels of Iridium subscriber visits on a per-month basis. Iridium operates the world's only completely global satellite constellation and supports nearly 1.4 million customers around the world. The combination of Iridium's unique coverage, small-form-factor devices and network of over 450 partners around the world, gives the company unique insight to off-the-grid trends and the positive role played by satellite communications.
Recently, Iridium introduced two new editions of their most popular satellite phone specifically for outdoor and offshore enthusiasts, with the new Iridium Extreme Sporting Camo and Iridium Extreme Safety Yellow.