As 2021 comes to a close, we reflect on what has been a year of continued success and areas of growth for us as an organisation. In line with industry trends, we saw sales of satellite IoT trackers increase as more and more organisations recognise the cost-effectiveness and automated processes that IoT integration brings to commercial operations.
Our customer base over the last year consisted of thousands of individuals and companies spread over 150 countries. We are proud to have helped them fulfil their communications and remote tracking needs through the use of our continually successful Amazon storefronts, eBay store, and dedicated websites. We have also opened up operations in new digital marketplaces including Alibaba, Amazon Brazil, and the Polish online selling platform, Allegro, which is hugely popular within the native community. These exciting new ventures will only be compounded in 2022 as we look to open more, allowing us to become exposed to new customers and markets around the world.
Over the last 12 months we saw soaring demand for our range of handheld, portable satellite tracking devices. These devices continue to be used in multiple industries and applications for monitoring fixed and mobile assets, lone workers and recreational users anywhere on the planet. Locator beacons, used primarily for at-sea emergencies, also maintained popularity, the expansion of our range of GPS handhelds was well received, and we saw a significant increase in the sale of satellite phones.
These rises in sales, in line with global events including the Covid-19 pandemic, suggest that an increasing number of consumers are seeking ways to monitor something, whether that’s another person or an item of high or low value. This was particularly evident when a quantity of our solar-powered satellite IoT asset trackers were used to monitor wild horses across the roaming pastures of Kazakhstan, home to one of the highest populations of horses in the world at an estimated 1.7 million (source: FAOSTAT). For owners, the challenge of monitoring the native horses proved so great that GTC were called on to provide a low-cost means of transmitting the animals’ GPS location on a regular basis in order to manage and track their movements.
Added to the needs of livestock monitoring, 2021 saw continued demand for lone-worker trackers such as the SPOT Gen4. Being the latest in the line of reliable and trusted SPOT satellite trackers, it brings with it a selection of advanced features including improved battery life and durability. Overall, the SPOT Gen4 has been incredibly popular and has delivered great results in the forestry, education, security and utilities sectors as well as the armed forces. One of our customers, Scottish Water, commented: “We expect SPOT to come into its own as an important part of our health and safety strategy. With reliable satellite communications, we can get help to our employees whenever it is needed and wherever they might be.” – Kes Juskowiak, Scottish Water
As the pandemic remained ever-present throughout 2021, we saw a sharp spike in Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) sales. Commonly found in the lifejacket of someone onboard a ship – whether that’s a commercial vessel or luxury liner –, and used by recreational users on land, a PLB has a sole purpose: to transmit accurate location data to the nearest emergency services team so that they can carry out a search and rescue mission.
As 2021 dawned and UK travel restrictions began to lift, so too did the demand for our rental service. As a means of achieving satellite communication on short-term trips, businesses and individuals saw our rental service as a cost-effective way of achieving satellite communication from the market’s latest products without committing to a full purchase. By the end of 2021, our rental service was among the top performers in our overall list of product categories.
GTC in 2022
Moving into the New Year we foresee continued growth in the tracking of wildlife in remote regions of the world. Similarly, in the utilities and forestry industries, where organisations send lone workers to places with little to no signal, our satellite communications equipment can provide a critical lifeline to remote operatives in case of an emergency situation. In the throes of the pandemic, our tracking gear also has potential in the security and risk management industry in the name of safeguarding personnel and high-value vehicles and assets.
When it comes to teams or individuals operating in remote areas of the world and in need of, for example, remote office setups, we look forward to further embracing our range of affordable, new satellite internet technologies such as the Certus 100 and 200 services. Whether on land or at sea, it is this type of broadband connectivity solution that we envisage being particularly attractive to customers as it offers reliable, truly global coverage through small, lightweight, low-power equipment.
Growth within the satellite communications industry is predicted to continue next year and, with the introduction of 5G networks, increased Cloud integration, and more LEO satellites being launched, we anticipate that the needs of our consumers will remain consistent, or likely even increase, such is the expectation of digital connectivity to and from anywhere on the planet.