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Advances in GPS Technology Boost Benefits of Fleet Tracking
Originally published: 06.01.11 by David Brown
Even with the recovering
As many companies have discovered, investing in technology can help. For example, next-generation Global Positioning Systems (GPS) have proven helpful in lowering insurance costs and reducing fuel consumption. These advanced GPS vehicle-tracking systems rely on satellite-based wireless communications and sophisticated mapping to provide bi-directional communications, as well as minute-by-minute vehicle tracking and monitoring; and reporting on location, movement, and activities of mobile resources in real time.
How Next-Gen GPS Vehicle-Tracking Systems Work
Unlike the standalone GPS devices installed in consumer automobiles, these new wireless networked systems combine various hardware components and software applications. The software provides a powerful and deeply functional fleet-management system that can help companies in the service industry reduce operating costs across the board by optimizing fleet and driver performance. The systems have been proven to improve efficiency, productivity, and customer service.
Fleet-monitoring functionality may differ significantly in the various systems available in today’s marketplace. Here are some key attributes and capabilities to look for in a state-of-the-art vehicle-tracking system.
- Robust, tamper-proof GPS transmitters/receivers that can be installed safely, securely (and inconspicuously, if desired) into each vehicle in the fleet.
- System provides up-to-the-minute, round-the-clock tracking of each vehicle’s location and movement, including start-up, speed, and shutdown.
- Sophisticated mapping technology that provides routing and monitoring accuracy and flexibility, as well as an easy-to-use dashboard at the dispatch end.
- Nearest-vehicle locator capability so a service-call location can be instantly matched with the nearest vehicle in the fleet.
- Driver-behavior monitoring and reporting relative to time, speed, and vehicle usage at any hour of day or night, on the job or off.
- Maintenance tracking and recording, as well as issuance of alerts for scheduling maintenance based on manufacturer guidelines or owner-defined criteria.
- Reporting capabilities both for managing day-to-day fleet operations, as well as historical data and reporting for performance comparisons and analysis over time.
And finally, in selecting a fleet-tracking solution, the cloud-based computing business model, also known as SaaS (software-as-a-service), is a practical and affordable choice for most businesses. With SaaS delivery, there’s no need to purchase, license, or download the application software or incur high implementation costs. Instead, the software is web-based and ready to use as soon as the contract is signed and the GPS receivers are securely installed in each vehicle to be tracked. The host company maintains the system and provides upgrades and technical support as needed, for no additional cost.
Hello and thank you for taking a look at our most recent newsletter. Together our employees have produced a year of excellent financial performance. Across our business model, we had a great year. We landed new orders and launched new products and added new distributors in North America. We have had improved earnings and margins. Our operating performance has improved every quarter through the year as our drive to run healthy core businesses has taken deep root. Recently we have added a consistent 10 new Retail Business Outlets per Week under the U-Track Distributor Program that we highlighted in the last newsletter. Our total is now over 158 retailors in North America that carry a variety of Alopek tracking products and have added dramatically to our overall annual net profits in 2010. The state of the Company has never been better and we are projected to reach new profit levels in 2011. Since 2008, the company has entertained numerous brokerage houses and public markets to help facilitate an influx of working capital without jeopardizing integrity or diluting shareholders positions. We recognize and understand the need for share liquidity and we are also very cognizant of maintaining share value; therefore we will continue to be extremely cautious in our pursuit of a flotation onto a public market for our company shares.
We will continue to focus on running healthy core businesses, on leveraging our strengths into new products and new services, and on opening new frontiers.
In an effort to improve commercial aviation safety, The Federal Aviation Administration is introducing its Next Gen GPS program by installing the GPS tracking equipment in 35 JetBlue aircraft. This 4.2 million dollar FAA funded test is designed to demonstrate the next generation in traffic flow as the antiquated radar system continues to fall behind other industry modernization programs. Historically the Federal Aviation Administration has been criticized for being more reactive than proactive. However, the benefits of GPS tracking cannot be overlooked as the replacement for ground based radar.
A new program being tested by New York City's Metropolitan Transit Authority is using the latest in GPS technology to ensure area residents aren't left waiting at bus stops and delaying their busy schedules any more then they have to.
The pilot program is currently running on two crosstown bus lines, allowing for real time bus information to not only dispatchers of the MTA, but area bus riders as well.
Local news website Gothamist.com gave details about the new program, showing that riders have a variety of options for keeping tabs on how regularly buses are running and when they can expect the next one to arrive at their stop.
Riders with smartphones can download an MTA app and snap photos of a two-dimensional bar code at every stop, which will then feed information to their phone, allowing them to know when the next bus is set to arrive. Riders without smartphones can use regular cell phones to send text messages with the numerical code displayed at each stop which will then send them a return text of the real-time location of several buses. New Yorkers can also test it out on the MTA's website by clicking on the pilot program's bus icon to see it's exact location, as well as entering the nearest bus stop intersection to find out how many stops away is the next arriving bus.
An analyst for the MTA said that they are currently working on developing an "accurate prediction algorithm" which will allow riders to not only know how far away the next bus is, but also the exact time it will take until the bus arrives at their designated stop.
Several U.S. auto insurers have begun offering in-car cameras or global positioning equipment to help parents monitor their teenagers' driving behavior, hoping to reduce the alarming number of crashes involving young new motorists.
Industry experts say it's too soon to gauge the effectiveness of programs like American Family Insurance Co.'s Teen Safe Driver, used by the Kindermans in Madison, Wis. But the case for needing to improve highway safety for teens is compelling.
Insurance companies can benefit significantly if the initiatives catch on, One of the programs — Safeco Corp.'s Teensurance — just announced premium discounts of up to 15 percent for its customers who participate.