GPS Tracking – Driver’s React

12 12 2008

My recent endeavor into Telematics (GPS Vehicle Tracking) is providing one of the most challenging aspects in terms of understanding how the industry  view’s  the market &  how the market (Users/drivers/employees) see’s the industry.    There is a clear distinction.

Tracking – this word alone needs to be addressed and changed to something less suggestive or non intrusive.    More along the lines of performance enhancement or proficiency generator,  less focused on “monitoring”  but I’ll leave that to the English/Journalism MBA’s .

Wanting a better feel to potential objections I posted this question on some forums:

 Driver/Employee Reaction….

The biggest hurtle owners have with Vehicle Tracking units is driver reaction…

  • don’t you trust us
  • family member
  • long term employee
  • why you watching me

From a managerial point, utilization of the fleet or getting maybe one/two more jobs a week is the real point. Obviously, using a cell is the standard solution.

But I want to hear from u…


I was not disappointed in receiving responses.   First,  sending a text msg to a driver should also include directional mapping to locations.   Second, drivers reacted in the same fashion typical of those we experienced in IT (monitoring email or blocking Social Networks) and HR with Security cameras.   Third, dispatchers need training on the proper use of the system.   Not in functionality, but usage in addressing a company’s objective and goals.

Universally, each addressed better employees.   Along the lines that would eliminate the need altogether.    Some owners weighted in understanding what a ROI should or could achieve.   And positioning yourself to get one or two extra jobs a month can basically change any business.

But the one that really caught my attention, “….I have seen a few companies in our area try it and by year two it was out of their vehicles. Obviuosly it doesn’t work as well as they are sold.”   

Hello, that begs the question of retention or more to the point, what is the vendor/user relationship after the units are installed.    Let’s also consider, this technology has come along way in the last 30 months and where it’s headed is nothing short of NASA.

Most blog’s addressing GPS Vehicle Tracking/Fleet Management focus on presenting  “their” solution.    Which rightfully so they should.   But they seem to miss the audience attention because the postings center around the product and not the user.    Today’s tough market conditions provide enough managerial challenges.   Creating another- “ Driver Reaction” just has no room on the plate.


AT&T adds GPS Vehicle Tracking

9 12 2008

Telematics industry is moving forward in partnerships.   As posted yesterday, AT&T enterprise mobility services has expanded their offers to include GPS Vehicle Tracking.  

I’m sure this will be followed-up by other carriers in the coming months.    What may be of note is whether the cellular manufactures follow suite with an application.   Intergration of mobile units with additional devices is a hinden demand the industry is waiting on. 

Web based solutions allow for this seamless development to happen with little effort beyond “licensing”.  

Monthly service fee’s will be the battle ground.   From an IT point, the time is approaching where the “hardware” will be a non-issue.   Currently proprietary units are installed.   Open Sourcing or letting you choose your web based provider can only expand this market’s potential growth.

Division III – Sugar Bowl

8 12 2008

div-iiiAlabama loss did crush my weekend.  However I was able to get some excitement knowing football is not done yet.   Wheaton College, IL will now advance to the Division III Semi’s by visiting the Top Ranked Mount Union Raiders in Alliance Ohio.

This match-up has a little personal connection, since I did spend some time in Alliance in the early 80’s.  I was quickly reminded of the economic nightmare that forsake our country during that time. 

Division III is the purest form of amateur sports – non scholarship athletes.   But what is often overlooked is the schools themselves.  Religious based institutions, whose main goal is creating character individuals that will lead society in the coming future.

Why Save Ford? – it effects me…

26 11 2008

fws_logoTelematics – the science of Vehicle tracking is dependent upon the growth of the auto industry.    Ford themselves will start introducing their Crew Chief solution  making its debut on 2009 F-Series, 2009 E-Series and will be available on Transit Connect in 2010.

Currently the telematics market is basically a 2nd Tier or after-market approach.   Unlike most that fear the prospect of manufactures taking a market share, I welcome it.  

Reflecting upon past experiences in other markets, CD/DVD  reader/burners is a classic mirror.  When first introduced this appliance was an “add-on”.   Once the PC manufactures incorporated the units in their systems everything changed.  Now it’s standard.

On board electronics in vehicles is still in its beginnings.  Moving the appliances from the passenger seat to the dash-board has been the path that truthfully shows no end expect in your imagination.

Vehicle Tracking providers that focus on Web Based solutions [and not proprietary equipment] should be expanding their thinking.   From an IT point of view, licensing the ability to utilize someone’s  current hardware narrows the “risk” in hardware failure issues, these same companies now experience.

A recent survey by Telnav – “..revealed 94 percent of those who operate corporate vehicles are completely unaware of their fleet’s location during work hours…”.    

To address this Work Truck magazine will have a free, interactive live event Dec 10th.  Sponsored by Ford Fleet . 

Saving the manufactures is vital, not just because they build vehicles, but the numerous after markets the industry has created.    


fleematics2 author is a Bus Dev Mgr for Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas

We don’t need no stinking GPS tracking!!

20 11 2008

Driver Resistance is one challenge most business owner would rather avoid than face.  

  • we only have 6 vehicles we know where there at…
  • our drivers have been with us for a number of years…
  • it’s a family business…
  • we’re not big enough to need that…

Chad Simon of Automotive Fleet addressed this issue in March of this year.   He sited a perfect example of turning the situation around to a “win-win”.  

Having employees on the same page with company goals is a common obstacle.   The same as expressing a vision that at times misses the mark.   But when the employees can “share” the benefit, they now have a vested interest.

GPS Tracking software – Record Keeping

18 11 2008




  Alan Dobson of Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus, P.C gave a   presentation on Lien Laws for a Western Region breakfast at the Holiday Inn in Fort Smith August 21.  a copy of his presentation. (

 What is note worthy, the slides:

  • Title 49, Part 395 – Hours of Service
  • Title 49, Part 396 – Inspection, Repair & Maintenance

Accurate record keeping is mandatory, the true hidden benefit of Tracking Software.   Getting past the initial preception of “tracking” or monitoring the travel habits of employees is the most difficult challenge today’s business owners face.   Which is why we must educate the process of using tools (or technology) to simplify the demands of what the “LAW” states.

Manual handwritten documents is time consuming and prone to error.  Fines have no mercy.  The next time your stuck in the office creating these reports, not servicing clients, not purchasing materials, not quoting new projects or god forbid not hunting/fishing or attending that family function.   Take a look in the mirror and ask the important question – is there a better way…..

GPS Tracking – not a Option?

7 11 2008

This story appeared in CNet – Dec 2005….

From the article “state says the GPS bugs must be made tamper proof and the vehicle should be disabled if the bugs are disconnected” AND “No policy bans police from automatically sending out speeding tickets based on what the GPS data say.”

read more | digg story

Mandating GPS tracking on vehicles does push the boundaries.  When the concept an “outside” source would have the potential to “tap into” this recorded data under the mask of Public Safety, the question of “Self” responsibility has to be asked. 

These ideas only dampen the growth of this new market.   There has to be a clear line between “personal” and “business”.  Using the technology to better control a fleet, lower operation cost along with improving the overall functionality and re-defining a Dispather, should still be a choice business owners can or cannot deploy.   As far as the general “public”, don’t even get me going….

Though I do agree that any municiple vehicle should be.   How many times do stories hit the headlines of abuse.  Another words, clean up your own yard before you start pushing your ideas on me.