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Iridium

Satellite handset design

Brief

To develop the next generation of Iridium’s iconic satellite handset - enhancing performance, adding new features and reducing cost, whilst maintaining full compatibility with existing global satellite infrastructure.

As ongoing developer of Iridium’s core platform technology including handsets, voice/data modems and maritime products, we were required to create a forward-looking technology platform that would enable new products for Iridium in the future. The timescale was one year to enter volume manufacturing and go on-air, fully verified and approved.

Approach

We were technical authority for the handset design working with Iridium’s manufacturing partner, Celestica, and its satellite operations partner, Boeing. Working across multiple time zones, this tightly integrated team moved from product definition to production release within a year.

The new handset provided performance improvements in a variety of areas and also added new features such as location-based services, an emergency call feature and a new speakerphone that supported hands-free operation in outdoor environments with high background noise.

To avoid development delays and to ensure quality we subjected the handsets to weeks of automated and manual testing - using tools such as our 1.5 TeraFlop radio simulation cluster - to make sure that product quality met the stringent requirements of both Iridium and its users.

Benefit

Iridium’s products represent a lifeline for many. The handsets must provide reliable communication in locations where no other handset in the world can operate. Iridium’s customers require a rugged, dependable design that works effectively, irrespective of whether you’re out at sea, up a mountain or camped at the North Pole. The Cambridge Consultants design met these goals.

Iridium said, “Cambridge Consultants is a valuable, long-term partner and provides Iridium flexible access to one of the largest wireless contract development teams in the world. Cambridge Consultants' expertise minimises our R&D cost, allowing us to quickly bring to market innovative, game-changing products. Our design partnership with Cambridge Consultants is a key component of our successful product innovation.”