Berne, 18 June 2009
Swisscom is working on developing a communications solution for Solar Impulse that meets the highest standards: Despite the minimal weight and power consumption requirements, this solution will need to keep the pilot and ground station in touch at all times while also ensuring the exchange of data and live photos. The weight of the equipment cannot exceed 5 kilogrammes and its power requirements must not exceed 50 watts. Further, the exterior cameras and transmitters must be capable of withstanding extreme temperature fluctuations between +80°C and -40°C. "Thanks to Swisscom's technology, satellite communications between the plane and the Solar Impulse control centre can be ensured. This is crucially important when it comes to guiding the plane to its destination, particularly during an around-the-world flight which crosses the major oceans," explains André Borschberg, CEO of Solar Impulse.
Within the scope of this partnership, Swisscom will also put its technological expertise to the test in the area of convergence products and new media. In its role as official telecommunications partner, Swisscom will provide innovative mobile services so that all interested parties can share the excitement and experience the Solar Impulse venture up close from the very beginning. Swisscom will broadcast a live press conference on 26 June 2009 at www.bluewin.ch which will feature the unveiling of the new solar airplane and in 2010, when the plane makes its first fuel-free daytime-night-time flight over Switzerland, Swisscom will also be at hand. "We are proud to have contributed our expertise to ensure the success of Solar Impulse's endeavour. We fully support the vision of Solar Impulse and this partnership symbolises our long-term commitment to the environment," says Carsten Schloter, CEO of Swisscom.
The project is an important symbol for Swisscom: Flying a solar-powered airplane day and night around the globe is a sign of sustainability, innovation and a visionary spirit. Swisscom, too, is committed to new ideas, technologies and sustainability. In line with this philosophy, the company built up a nationwide telecoms infrastructure and is currently investing in fibre-optic expansion, another long-term project. Swisscom just recently received national and international awards for the fresh-air method used to cool its telephone exchanges and data centres which has brought about huge cuts in the company's power consumption.
Environmentally conscious management and the responsible use of resources are issues which are particularly close to Swisscom's heart and part of the company's business policy. Bertrand Piccard, President of Solar Impulse, is convinced that "precisely this attitude toward values, the use of resources and the company's technical expertise make Swisscom an ideal partner for Solar Impulse to transform its vision into reality and make it accessible to the general public."
Even today, Swisscom is already the largest purchaser of solar and wind energy in Switzerland and as a member of the WWF Climate Group has also pledged to cut its CO2 emissions and increase its energy efficiency. Swisscom was ranked No. 2 in a recent evaluation conducted by the independent rating agency Oekom and published in Bilanz of Switzerland's most environmentally conscious companies.
Swisscom is also committed to a sustainable information society and promotes media skills. The "Internet for Schools" initiative provides free Internet access for school children and Help Point courses teach older people, in particular, how to use the Internet and mobile phones.