Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Tracking systems for the modern business

For anyone working in a modern working environment, there can be no doubt that work-related technology has been advancing in leaps and bounds at a phenomenal rate over the last few years. Think back to when Windows software was new in 1990, and contrast that image with your current workspace and home technology that you use on a daily basis. It is now perfectly possible, and indeed, normal to access the internet on the move either via a laptop, PDA or mobile phone. The kind of tasks that can be carried out via web servers, GPS, GPRS and SMS technologies make a reality of what was previously limited to ‘futuristic’ films and TV programs.
In the last few weeks, we have been testing mobile phone tracking at my workplace and are considering vehicle tracking for two reasons. Firstly, it is undeniable that this technology will aid the bosses to clamp down on shirking and possible fraudulent overtime claims. Secondly, there are the issues of efficiency where a worker may be able to be easily re-routed if his route and progress can be tracked. Coming a very poor third, but nonetheless valid, are the health and safety concerns of lone working. We often work on unmanned sites sometimes in precarious situations, a static signal over a number of hours might be enough to raise concerns about a lone workers safety and enable someone to mobilise possibly vital assistance.

The technology we looked into is simple enough, but today I came across a system which blows the system we’ve been looking at, totally out of the water… The company offering this service across the USA is GP Insight, and their GPS tracking system is seriously impressive. The tracking device fits directly into the vehicle diagnostics system and reports all the data you could possibly require. The package reminds me a little of the type of system that a motor-sport team would use to regulate a racing car. The system can report the position of the vehicle, the speed, the fuel consumption, a list of all the stops and starts the vehicle made, how long a vehicle spent at a specific location. Not only this, but early warnings of engine problems can be generated, vehicle maintenance can be easily overseen and you can even link up with a breakdown service as part of the package.

This system is ideal for every aspect of fleet management and can provide live tracking of the entire fleet on one overview map. There is an excellent on-line support website with an extensive list of FAQ’s and resources. Further support is provided by the blog, which is a really innovative way of informing clients about the latest software developments and how to get the best out of the system.
You may be thinking that systems like this are only within the reaches of global corporations like UPS (actually I wish couriers DID use such a great system…), but the price of the package breaks down to between $1.50 and $2.00 per day per vehicle. This type of stuff, once a fantasy, is not only available but affordable too.

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