Satellite communication could have a page all to itself, but for our purposes here we'll try to summarize the different options.
Satellite phones and internet hotspots are cool, but very expensive, both in terms of hardware and for monthly access plans (other than single-use beacons, you're not going to find anything that DOESN'T require a recurring plan), so we'll leave that out for now.
Personal Locator Beacons are single-use devices with no subscription fee; you buy one, register it, and then just hit the SOS button if you're ever in trouble. Not a bad idea to carry one in the bush, but not the most flexible option.
Many people now choose to carry satellite messaging devices. The most well-known names in this field are InReach and Spot, along with other relative newcomers such as ZOLEO and BivvyStick.
InReach is probably the most popular overall, with models that include a GPS navigation display and the ability to type in random messages directly from the device. They can also link to an app on your phone or tablet to allow sending and receiving messages and locations through that device. InReach uses the Iridium satellite network, which has excellent coverage and reliability.
Spot is also very popular, with devices that range from dedicated tracking units to full-on text messengers (complete with built-in QWERTY keyboard on the Spot X). Spot uses the Globalstar network, which in recent years has had some heavily-publicized issues with coverage and communication - something to look into if a Spot device is in your plans.
Both InReach and Spot can update your position on a regular basis on a map for anyone to view your position
ZOLEO fits another gap between these devices: it's simpler, with no built-in display or keyboard, at a substantially lower price point than InReach or Spot. The device itself has an SOS button that will call for help and inform two emergency contacts, as well as a "check-in" button that will send a pre-defined "I'm okay" message to up to five contacts, along with your current location if you choose. ZOLEO also uses an app on your phone to send and receive messages, with a couple of significant differences from the other options:
1. The ZOLEO app uses cellular and WiFi by default to send and receive messages, falling back to the satellite device if the others aren't available. This allows seamless text and email messaging with anyone in your phone's contact list.
2. ZOLEO gives you a dedicated phone number for as long as your account is active: you can pass this number out to friends, family, or anyone you want to be able to get in touch (even put it on a business card), and they can message you at any time. InReach also gives you a messaging number, but people can't text you blindly on it; you have to message them first so they can reply, and if you don't use it for a period of time, the number goes back into a pool and you'll have a different number next time.
People like to praise ham radio for backcountry "emergency" use because of the ability to use repeaters to extend your range, but there are lots of areas of BC that are out of range of those repeaters, and even if you can hit one, it still relies on someone listening at the other end. Satellite messengers are the ultimate in backcountry safety, allowing you to send a message or summon help at the push of a button from almost anywhere in the world.