A satellite-based vehicle tracking system from telecoms business BT is set to revolutionise fleet and mobile workforce management.
FleetManager, which will go on sale in December, comprises a powerful PC and software which can detect a vehicle’s position anywhere in the UK within the range of the Cellnet mobile telephone network.
The system can be configured to manage different reporting intervals as well as different events. Carriers of high-value cargo, for example, may want to know how often the vehicle doors open or how often the vehicle stops. A panic button fitted to a vehicle can be used to alert a logistics control centre, which in turn can be used to tell the police where the vehicle is.
Although the standard mapping resolution is to an accuracy of 100m, for high security applications a resolution of 3 5m will be possible. It is one of a number of refinements that BT envisages through deals with third-party software suppliers.
BT claims FleetManager is much more than a mapping system. It provides a building block for third-party software that can be used to extract vital commercial information, based on vehicle movement.
Speedlink, the National Express Group coach operator, is trialling FleetManager on a route between Brighton and Norwich with stops at Gatwick, Stansted and Heathrow airports.
By monitoring and comparing the position of the coach with the timetable, National Express is able to keep its passenger screens up to date with accurate information so passengers will know whether a coach connection is running to schedule.
Efficient allocation of field engineers is another application foreseen for FleetManager, when used with BT’s Mobile Control solution. The latter provides two-way voice and data communications between an engineer and the office allowing, for example, new product details or orders to be transmitted between the two sites, using field-based hand-held terminals.
FleetManager and Mobile Control, used together, will make it possible to direct the most appropriate engineer to the job, based on location and the skills required.
FleetManager is the first global positioning system (GPS) product from BT under the PinPoint banner, in cooperation with suppliers including US-based GPS firm Trimble and UK systems integrator TBS.