Five years in the GPS repeater business
Where did that time go?
Yes, FalTech GPS is five years old; I think such an anniversary is worthy of a little reflection to consider what has happened and what we have learned in that time.
Look out for individual blog posts in the near future that will illustrate some of our experiences in more detail.
Well, back in mid-2012 we had one product – a GPS repeater system for the L1 frequency band.
The repeaters we use are designed and built in Finland by Roger GPS Ltd. We are proud to be the sole UK distributor of Roger GPS products and since 2012 we have sold nearly 1,000 systems in approximately 10 different countries as well as the UK.
One factor that definitely helped the GPS repeater market overall was the introduction of a “light license regime” by Ofcom in mid-2012; regulators in most other countries adopted a similar approach.
Up until then the repeater industry was basically unregulated; there were some potentially lethal incidents at airports in Germany, USA and Canada caused by repeaters in aircraft hangars emitting far too much signal.
Take a look at para 2.5 in this Ofcom Statement on Authorisation regime for GNSS repeaters – it makes interesting and compelling reading and clearly states why a licensing regime was/is necessary.
By the way, it’s dated 20 June 2012 – such good timing!
So who uses GPS repeater systems?
It became clear fairly early on that the biggest client sector for us was going to be “blue light”.
A repeater system in a fire station ensures that navigation devices such as Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs) always receive live signals from the satellites above, thus avoiding an agonising wait for acquisition of a GPS fix upon exit.
Crucially, MDT equipment provides command and control centres with up to date positional data at all times – even when indoors.
To date we have supplied and installed repeaters in several hundred fire stations all over the UK and are currently working with a number of fire and rescue services to continue this essential work in other counties.
End of part one; more to follow soon ……..