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Workers keep their offices in a briefcase.

Rod Nordland, Newsweek's bureau chief in Italy, knows well the benefits of satellite communications. Assigned the hazardous task of covering the hostilities in Yugoslavia, Nordland was hunkered down in a hotel room on Aug. 22, 1992, amidst the shelling raining down on the city of Banja Luka.

Nordland, a Pulitzer-winning Penn Stater, is part of a new breed of journalist. No longer satisfied with providing an up-close view of historic world developments by accepting life-threatening assignments, these reporters now seek speed in reporting. Being the best means being first at relaying the most significant news of the day.

While other reporters were starting the 12-hour trek to the nearests working phone to file stories, Nordland composed his story in Banja Luka--surrounded by mortar fire--on a personal computer connected to his personal satellite communications terminal. Through satellite technology, Nordland, with the touch of a button, brought the war in the Balkans to millions of readers worldwide.

Executive in all industries seek not only speed, but reliability, efficiency and privacy of satellite communications to stay in constant touch, enabling them to compete more effectively in the expanding, information-driven world market.

Picture this: A businessman on a jungle trek in Thailand closes a multibillion-dollar merger deal in the United States using a telephone setup the size of a suitcase. An American AIDS researcher in Sierra Leone sends data to the home office via a shoebox-sized communication terminal. A Hollywood actor on location in the Brazilian rainforest talks to his family every night by opening a briefcase.

All these real-life people have one thing in common: They use state-of-the-art satellite communications to get their jobs done.

For those like Nordland, whose communication needs involve simply sending and receiving text messages, the self-contained "Inmarsat C" terminal is available in an easy-to-carry package. Taking up no more space than a shoebox and requiring only a laptop PC for typing and reading messages, the Inmarsat-C terminal sends and receives text or digital data in a store-and-forward format.

"In areas of the world where telecommunications systems are unreliable or non-existent, satellite communications enable me to send and receive messages and transmit stories from all over the world in minutes," says Nordland. "Even in foreign countries where telephone systems are in place, I actually save money by using satellite technology to avoid the inflated long-distance prices associated with hotels.

The dramatic explosion of E-mail and facsimile use, an expanding mobile, PC-literate workforce, and the increasingly decentralized international nature of business led Comsat to develop an Inmarsat C service, called C-Link, that offers more than simple telex and messaging features. It adds fax capabilities and access to over 60 E-mail systems worldwide. wide.

The service also offers a gateway feature for more interactive connections, providing even more direct access, from anywhere in the world to data networks so vital to business operations today.

By far, the most widely-used mobile satellite terminal is Inmarsat A. No bigger than a tourist's suitcase, it gives the user access to the panoply of satellite capabilities: voice, highspeed data, facsimile and telex. In underdeveloped areas overseas, where traveling professionals require two-way voice connections, Inmarsat A satellite terminals provide a reliable, confidential means of communication--from hotel rooms, desert construction sites or on the road.

"We depend on portable Inmarsat 'A' terminals to give us two-way voice capabilities in areas of the world where we are trying to expand our business, such as the former Soviet Union," says Dave McConnell, of McDermott International manufacturers and installs off-shore facilities for the oil industry.

Inmarsat-M terminals, which will be available this year, weigh in at about 20 pounds and are easy to carry and set up as a briefcase. Manufacturers expect to sell about 1,800 terminals by the end of 1993, with a jump to 11,000 terminals in 1994.

With new business opportunities opening up in so many countries, the ability to communicate quickly, easily and--most importantly--from anywhere in the world will make a world of difference.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Satellite
Publication:Communications News
Date:Mar 1, 1993
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