The US ProTECTS Alliance, a consortium of 38 firms to promote standards for satellite personal tracking and messaging devices based on two-way data links, has held its first organisational meeting.

Incepted in late 2009, the ProTECTS (Promotion of Two-Way Emergency Communication and Tracking Systems) Alliance aims to serve as a bridge linking industry, government, the international search-and-rescue (SAR) community and end users.

The members include mobile satellite companies, service providers, product developers, manufacturers, system integrators, network operators, SAR, trade associations and regulatory bodies among others.

ProTECTS’s facilitator Iridium chairman Patrick Shay said the alliance will serve as a framework for its members to work in a collaborative atmosphere with the National Search And Rescue Committee and other organisations to foster broad-based industry standards for this emerging new class of products without stifling competition.

“We believe these devices should be based on two-way (duplex) rather than one-way (simplex) data links, to facilitate SAR operations responding to distress messages,” Shay said.