North East developed marine tracking solution used during major French rescue drills

A North East-based asset tracking and satellite specialist have taken part in a major search and rescue exercise involving French coastguard and military personnel.

MConnected, which specialise in a range of high–tech asset protection products, applications & services, tested a marine tracker prototype during the drill, which was jointly organised by the SNSM (Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer), French Coast Guard & French Navy.

The Man Over Board (MOB) exercise took place four miles off the coast of Cannes last month, with MConnected MD Pete Johnson acting as MOB for the exercise, which involved two French Coast Guard Life Boats, a helicopter from the French Navy, a super yacht and two support boats.

The exercise provided an opportunity to live test the marine trackers, which are designed to locate people missing at sea and have been 18 months in development.

The trackers can be linked to either GPRS signals up to 10 miles offshore or any satellite system, with tacking software accessed by tablets, giving search and rescue teams greater visibility and location accuracy when looking for missing people.

During the exercise Pete was fitted with one of the activated tracking units, with members of the ship’s crew able to monitor his location and quickly direct the boat towards his location, resulting in a faster and more efficient recovery time.

The MConnected marine tracking prototype is currently being trialled on six SNSM lifeboats as the company aims to develop the most accurate marine tracking solution on the market.

MConnected MD Pete said: “As part of the exercise MConnected had the privilege of working alongside the crew who work in the Super yacht industry and professionals who support  mariners when emergencies occur at sea.

“We have now worked with the French emergency services especially the SNSM to understand the issues relating to wearable technologies in MOB situations and the knowledge needed to negate an event at sea in the shortest possible time.

“This valuable knowledge will now be applied to new versions of technologies for the maritime vertical and to enhance the businesses strategy, Safety at Sea through Innovation.”

The company is currently looking at developing auto-activation for the trackers, which would improve safety for crew members carrying out risky on-board tasks and activities at night before bringing the solution to market.

Captain Thierry Rossignol, Regional Manager of SNSM Lifeboats said: “MConnected’s trial MOB system worked very well and the mobile tracking units would greatly speed up casualty location within SNSM’s lifeboats’ operational range.”

MConnected have been supported by Sunderland Software City, the organisation enabling the growth of the technology sector in the North East of England.

Sunderland Software City CEO David Dunn said: “MConnected’s marine tracking units are a great example of how North East technology-driven innovation is having a ground-breaking impact on different sectors and services globally.

“Not only are the organisation’s solutions a prime example of the region’s expertise in Internet of Things technologies, the potential application of the satellite tracking solution is enormous, with vast private, commercial and public service potential.

“MConnected have developed a game-changing solution which will have a resoundingly positive impact on the marine community and the organisation is a great ambassador for the strength and expertise of the North East’s technology sector.”

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About Sunderland Software City

Sunderland Software City is enabling the growth of the technology sector in the North East of England; providing support and creating opportunities for aspiring and established software businesses. We aim to strengthen the region’s economy by helping individual companies to grow, create jobs and attract investment and through collaboration with partners across the UK, we champion North East tech. www.sunderlandsoftwarecity.com

Sunderland Software City is funded from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, European Regional Development Fund funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding

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