100 countries, 18 months, one determined man on the Goodwill Journey of a lifetime

Thuraya has been supporting Dubai-based entrepreneur Wissam Al Jayyoussi in his riding expeditions to raise funds for children located in war-torn countries in the Middle East. Al Jayyoussi tells us more about the role of mobile satellite technology in his journeys, and how it will facilitate his upcoming one.

The 2012 expedition saw Al Jayoussi travel through tough terrain as well as long stretches of road without any connectivity

Since 2010, Wissam Al Jayyoussi has covered more than 50 countries across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia on his motorcycle for Goodwill Journey: a charity initiative started by Al Jayyoussi himself to create awareness to the suffering and hardships of children in Middle Eastern war zones.

In March 2015, he will once again embark on an expedition – this time expanding his route to include 6 continents – which will take him through 100 countries around the world in 18 months. His goal? To raise $3 million to support the building of children’s hospitals and medical missions in the Middle East.

Given the precarious nature of his journeys, Al Jayyoussi relies heavily on satellite technology to ensure reliable connectivity even while traversing different continents. The Thuraya XT used in his previous expedition in 2012 served as a vital communication link to his family and the Goodwill Journey team, as well as a lifeline during emergencies regardless of how remotely he is located.

Al Jayyoussi used the Thuraya XT during his 2012 expedition to chart his journey across the Middle East and Asia

“What’s also great about the Thuraya XT is its robustness to withstand extreme riding conditions, such as exposure to dirt, water, and vibrations, and its long battery life to last me days on the road. More importantly, like other Thuraya equipment, it features GPS capabilities that allowed me to track my location, especially in areas where local networks were unstable,” he added.

For the upcoming journey around the world, Al Jayyoussi will be equipped with the Thuraya SatSleeve, which transforms his smartphone into a satellite phone.

“The Thuraya SatSleeve lets me stay connected with my family and colleagues, and ensures that I am a phone call away during emergency situations via my own personal device. It is also more convenient to access social media platforms – enabling me to post regular updates of my journey and ultimately raise greater awareness to its cause,” said Al Jayoussi.

The upcoming expedition, which covers 240,000 km, marks Al Jayyoussi’s biggest journey yet, as it will be his first time riding through North and South America as well as Africa – and will undoubtedly put his endurance to the test. As with previous journeys, Al Jayyoussi acknowledged that the road ahead will not be easy.

“In most parts of this journey, I will be travelling on rough, isolated terrains facing unpredictable weather conditions – mimicking the plight of refugee children,” he explained. ‘Despite potential difficulties, I look forward to riding for the sick and underprivileged children in the Middle East.”

GPS capabilities that allowed me to track my location, especially in areas where local networks were unstable,” he added.

“The Thuraya SatSleeve lets me stay connected with my family and colleagues, and ensures that I am a phone call away during emergency situations via my own personal device. It is also more convenient to access social media platforms – enabling me to post regular updates of my journey and ultimately raise greater awareness to its cause,” said Al Jayoussi.

We wish Al Jayyoussi all the best in his upcoming journey to create awareness and raise funds for the building of children’s hospitals and medical missions in the Middle East.

Cementing a strong maritime partnership

The relationship between Thuraya and Addvalue Technologies Group of companies in Singapore goes back to the launch of the Thuraya-3 satellite in 2008 – and right up to date with the commercial availability of Thuraya’s latest maritime broadband terminal, Atlas IP.

Addvalue’s Chief Technology Officer and Chief Operating Officer Tan Khai Pang recalls his realisation seven years ago that the launch presented an opportunity to develop a low cost maritime terminal targeted at the huge and underserved market in Asia and China in particular.

“We could see this was a market with huge potential but it lacked a cost competitive, high quality product to serve it properly,” he says. Fast forward to 2015 and Addvalue is again helping Thuraya address an underserved market.

Atlas IP is Thuraya’s second dedicated maritime broadband terminal and it marks a move towards added value in more ways than one.

Designed to complement Thuraya’s first broadband terminal, Orion IP, by offering a fully-featured voice and data product with additional functionality built in, Atlas IP delivers superior performance compared to more highly-priced competitor terminals, but with a higher specification and at a lower cost.

“Our strategy has always been to work closely with mobile satellite operators such as Thuraya to identify market needs and build fit-for-purpose terminals that will sit well with the aspirations of the end users,” says Khai Pang. “Atlas IP is another good example of how Addvalue and Thuraya are able to work together to address unfulfilled needs in the maritime market.”

Atlas supports IP-based broadband communications at sea and coupled with Thuraya’s highly competitive airtime packages, is designed to fulfil multiple applications. Capable of standard data transfer at rates up to 444kbps, asymmetric streaming at 16kbps-384kbps and featuring circuit switched voice, Atlas IP brings exceptional quality of service to maritime users.

In addition to its voice and data capabilities, key features include a built-in firewall, Wi-Fi and a fleet tracking feature based on distance or time with accurate geo fencing. The terminal also has the ability to configure and limit data sessions by time or volume through a multi-lingual web interface. Corporate users wanting to take advantage of specific applications can choose a customization option to have their application embedded on its core module.

The terminal is also designed to support operational efficiency on-board ship through its Port Forwarding feature. This automatically forwards data from shipboard equipment and devices to support M2M reporting routines. In addition, land-based users can connect to the ship’s sensors remotely and receive data without the intervention of the crew.

“The tracking function gives shipmanagers and operators real time access to critical vessel information through a web-based interface, while the geo-fencing function provides a means to demarcate a zone and report any exceptions,” explains Khai Pang. “Circuit switched voice provides a complimentary service in case the data connection is lost and if the vessel is entering risky waters the terminal can automatically engage radio silence and resume transmission when leaving them.”

This combination of features makes Atlas IP the logical choice for maritime users who want to combine a high quality service with functionality that answers current needs and anticipates coming trends.

Atlas can be configured to provide a very cost-effective crew calling service, enabling seafarers to make affordable voice calls or use the internet-based data services that are becoming a core aspect of crew welfare at sea.

With the inexorable advance of the internet-of-things, users can leverage its M2M functionality to support a range of telemetric functions that can help increase the efficiency of vessel operations. Atlas IP is also an ideal terminal to act as a VSAT backup and provide a reliable link when the primary service is unavailable, providing the ship with a means of continuous communications at predictable speed over a reliable L-band connection.

For Khai Pang and Addvalue, Atlas IP is the latest step of an enduring partnership, in which a single-minded approach has paid dividends for maritime users in Asia and beyond.

Addvalue has, he says, always taken a holistic approach in defining its terminal functionalities and features. By understanding the strength of the Thuraya network, Addvalue has been able to build useful applications and user-friendly interface; something that would not be possible without Thuraya’s support.  

“In 2008, we went to Thuraya and presented to the management our vision of a product that could help them achieve their goals, leading to the strong partnership that we have today. Through the commercialisation of our visionary voice and narrowband data products, Thuraya has been able to capture a sizeable regional maritime market in East and South East Asia.

“Atlas IP continues that tradition; aligning the strengths of Thuraya and Addvalue in a voice and broadband data product which addresses the varying needs of the maritime market in Asia, where both companies are positioned to serve a market that is even bigger than it was seven years ago!”

Mission to conquer Nanga Parbat

February is a special month for Italy’s Daniel Nardi, who is currently on a mission to conquer the world’s ninth highest peak, Nanga Parbat in the Himalayas.

One of the leading mountaineers in the country, Daniel’s satellite communications equipment is sponsored by our service partner, Intermatica. Daniel spoke to us about the goals for this trip and about reaching the peak through one of the most dangerous passes, Mummery Ridge.

Tell us more about your expedition and how long will it be?
Our expedition started from December 27th, 2014. It is hard to determine how long the journey will take, especially in winter. It usually takes between two to three months or even less than 50 days, depending on the weather and how difficult is the way up is and on your personal training.

Could you share with us your goals for this expedition?
My ultimate goal is to reach the top of Nanga Parbat at 8,125m in winter. What makes it special is that no one has done it before. My personal goal is made up of two parts. First is to conquer Mummery Ridge, which was identified as one of the hardest peaks by Albert Frederick Mummery. Since 1953, it has yet to be conquered by any mountaineer, regardless of weather conditions. I would like to get to the peak of Nanga Prabat directly through Mummery Ridge. It will be a tough climb but if that is not achievable because of the elements, I would go through Kinshofer’s route instead. That is my second goal.

What are the 10 most important things that you need on your journey?
1. Good communication by radio and satellite that is managed by my team in Italy
2. Good food to replenish our energies at base camp
3. Strong tents to protect us from the wind
4. Efficient down suits to protect us from the cold and the wind
5. Ice axes and durable performance crampons for the very hard ice of the mountain wall – Nanga Prabat is nothing like on the Alps
6. High quality glasses and masks to protect our eyes from the cold, the wind and the ultra violet rays
7. Music is essential to motivate myself and to feel as if I have a close friend with me
8. Great climbing partners to spur each other on
9. Good trip planning and organization to support all our efforts during the expedition
10. Family, for they have to support us, without them nothing is possible.

What role does satellite communications play on this journey?
A satellite modem and phone are essential for good communication with base camp and with our team in Italy. The equipment helps us obtain weather forecasts so that we can plan the best routes for climbing safely, the weather changes rapidly during the day and we need to be ready for anything. It becomes crucial to communicate where we are at all times of the expedition to allow our team to monitor our progress and to enable our fans to follow our journey online. A direct benefit of keeping in touch with our fans is that thousands of kids have signed my High Human Rights Flag in respect of the international Youth for Human Rights campaign – this has further motivated my climb. The support that we’ve gathered is fantastic, I can feel this energy on my skin! Without Intermatica and Thuraya’s satellite technology, this challenge would not be possible.

What is your communications set-up like?
This year I have the best set up ever, both at base camp and in high altitude. I am using an antenna scan and the Thuraya IP satellite broadband terminal as well as two computers that are used for communication and editing of our videos. I also have two Thuraya satellite handsets to communicate from the high altitude camp and during situations where it will be hard to set up the terminal and computers. The Thuraya IP has been working well and is perfect for communications by Skype with our family and our fans. It is great! I would like to thank Thuraya and Intermatica for the safe and reliable equipment they have provided me on this journey.