Kymeta to Support First Responders During Total Solar Eclipse

Ky2, a Toyota RAV4 equipped with a Kymeta KyWay terminal.

Kymeta’s Ky2, a Toyota RAV4 equipped with a Kymeta KyWay terminal. Photo: Kymeta.

Projected to welcome between 100,000 and 500,000 visitors during the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse, the Greenville, South Carolina’s police department is keeping its force connected with help from Redmond, Washington-based Kymeta. The company is taking its satellite-connected Toyota RAV4 on the road to provide field-trial mobile communications to the Greenville Police Department as cellular data networks become bogged down.

“We chose to provide this testbed service to Greenville because we recognized the significance of the need here,” said Tom Freeman, senior vice president of land mobile for Kymeta. “Cellular data coverage is a concern for cities along the path of totality nationwide, but of all the cities on the list, Greenville is expected to have one of the largest number of visitors.”

With a population of 68,000, Greenville has been recognized as one of the best places to view the 2017 total solar eclipse, gaining the attention of news media, eclipse chasers and NASA, which has an official viewing location at the Roper Mountain Science Center. This popularity, and the surge in visitors that could increase the city’s day-of population by up to seven times the norm, will impact communications systems.

“The significant increase in visitors will have an impact on cellular networks, which are likely to face decreased capacity, and that’s a problem,” said Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller. He anticipates the impact will be due to the increase in people uploading photos and video of the eclipse to social media networks. “Communication is critical to ensuring timely response to incidents and in keeping the public safe,” said Miller. “Having the extra testbed support Kymeta is offering will provide us with an additional means of communication.”

The Kymeta vehicle is equipped with a Kymeta KyWay terminal, the company’s mobile satellite terminal featuring mTenna technology, according to Freeman. The company’s road team is set to provide emergency mobile communication services to the Greenville Police Department before, during and after the eclipse event on Aug. 21.

“The eclipse will allow Kymeta to test our technology in a real-world situation where terrestrial communication networks are likely to be stretched beyond capacity,” said David Kervin, general manager and vice president of Kymeta Government Solutions. “Over the last several months, the Kymeta Government Solutions team has been performing extensive trials with military and law enforcement organizations, validating Kymeta technology as a force enabler. We appreciate that the City of Greenville IT team and police department have authorized Kymeta to use the eclipse as an opportunity to again put our technology to the test. Kymeta will use what we learn to make further improvements for our federal, state and local government customers.”

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