4 hardware challenges every company faces in Employee Transport Management and how to overcome them

GPS (Global Positioning System) works by the process of triangulation of satellites, where differences in the time taken by radio signals to travel between the receiver and each of at least three other visible satellites are calculated to determine the location, speed, and direction of the receiver on earth.Companies, particularly those who look for Hardware-based tracking and management of their fleet for enhanced security for their employees and also to be 100% compliant with local regulations, face a bunch of difficulties that are unique to Hardware-based vehicle tracking.  Listed down below are a few of those challenges and ways to address them.

Backup supply

Traditionally, a GPS tracker's backup power-management system for batteries consisted of multiple ICs (Integrated Circuits), a high-voltage buck regulator, a battery charger, plus a set of discrete components. Hence, earlier tracking systems were not very compact in their form factor. A typical application for a tracking system uses an automotive battery and a single-cell Li-ion battery for storage and backup.The vehicle GPS tracking is a terrific service when operating correctly.  Even if a car gets stolen and taken to get parted out, and in the process the car battery gets disconnected, the GPS tracker backup battery will kick in and the user will be able to communicate with the vehicle and get the exact location. That is why having a GPS tracker with a backup battery is so important. Also, battery power is required, as much as the backup capability to preserve data in case of power loss. Due to the higher automotive system voltages and currents required to charge the battery (typically a single-cell Li-ion), a switch-mode charger is desirable for its higher charging efficiency when compared to a linear battery charging IC, since it generates less heat in the form of power dissipation.The device can be directly connected to the vehicle circuit for power. The internal battery is supposed to use as a backup source when there is no direct battery connected like in the event of theft when wires are disconnected. The average working time of a regular available internal battery is 4-7 hours.  The devices consume less power themselves and thus do not affect the performance of the vehicle battery.  The advantage that the user gets is the ability to access the location and controls, even if the device is disconnected from the main source.

Network connectivity

PS data is a collection of objects whose location changes with time while in motion. We can get the GPS to co-ordinate data in each second to be sent to the server for the precision in tracking. For this, the device should have reliable network connectivity to be able to send accurate location information. The most common practice is to use a data subscription in 2G/4G mobile networks.Most dedicated GPS devices include a mobile data module that uses a standard SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) card. This SIM card allows the device to send the location packets, sending emergency SMS (Short Message Service), and read the SMS which comes to the device. This type of SMS can be classified as control SMS or configuration SMS. Using the control SMS, the user can control entire vehicle features like an immobilizer, etc. The main challenge is to get a proper network coverage during the travel in remote areas. Normally the GPS devices come with a SIM slot where we can insert a SIM of our choice. Nowadays the devices have multiple sim card options that switch between each other according to the signal strength providing redundancy and better signal strength at all times.

Water damage

Normally the GPS device is placed over the dashboard in most of the vehicles, to provide maximum sky visibility for greater signal strength. Proper visibility provides GPS access all the time to the device. The challenge here is that whenever the vehicle goes for the water service, there is a chance for the GPS device to get water damaged. Since it is an electronic device even a drop of water can damage the entire board.The only option to overcome this problem is to make the device water resistant. We could get away from this challenge by providing the waterproof casing for the normal devices and the all-new AIS 140 devices are IP 67 (IP 67 means the unit can be dropped into a body of water up to a meter deep for half an hour and it is completely dust resistant).  For old devices, we could overcome this challenge by providing the waterproof casing for the normal devices.

GPS Faulty Tracking

Another rare yet possible issue is when the recording of tracking is faulty, inaccurate, contains "bumps" or "bounces" or “jumps” when a part of tracking data is missing. All these issues are a result of the server receiving bad GPS data from the device – mobile phone or tablet. In all these cases, the server receives location data that does not accurately represent the device location. Bad GPS data can result in missing of live tracking or inaccuracies in the calculation of distance travelled for billing e.g. extra distance recorded or recorded inaccurately, inaccurate elevation values, etc.Reasons and effects of this are quite obvious - the device may have simply lost a connection to GPS satellites and did not record any data; the recorded route shows straight lines ignoring paths or roads on the map. It may also be that the device may have recorded track points that deviate from the intended correct path. GPS devices and satellites communicate with extremely fast signals requiring precise detection and any slight inaccuracy in the signal's reception, or disturbance to the signal itself can translate into a significant error in the reported position. Environmental factors such as dense trees, steep hillsides, tall buildings, basement parking, etc. can adversely impact GPS signal between the device and the satellites.In order to avoid this, we need to use a hi-tech device that can communicate with all available positioning networks – GPS, Glonass, Beidou, and Galileo. The more satellites visible for our device above our head, the more accurate is the positioning. We need to make sure our device is mounted/carried as high up and unobstructed as possible, instead of being buried deep in an inaccessible place. We always must find a compromise between smoothness and accuracy of the recording. We should not set up too short intervals (too much data with a higher risk of deviations). On the other hand, too long intervals would result in an approximation of tracking results.

Which video solution is apt for your School Bus?

While the memory of a school bus being attacked in Gurgaon by an angry mob protesting against a movie release might be lingering in our minds, the visuals that were retrieved from the CCTV camera installed in the bus helped realize how grave the situation was.However, we still hear cases of children being exposed to risk while travelling in school buses even in the presence of lady guard and driver#1While CBSE has issued guidelines#2 to install the cameras in school buses, the ground reality seems to be otherwise#3.Some schools have started installing 1 CCTV camera in their buses at the front to get the fitness certificate from the authorities, which helps them safeguard the school administration from legal non-compliance. However, can we really be assured that for a large vehicle, just 1 CCTV camera in the front will provide a full view of the bus, even till the rear seats? Shouldn’t there be 2 CCTV cameras, 1 in the front and 1 at the back that covers the entire bus and all the seats?The attitude of providing the safety infrastructure only for ‘the sake of legal compliance’, and not with true intent of safeguarding the children seems to be prevalent amongst schools. There are many reasons behind this sad reality though - Lack of available and reliable options, issues in terms of continued performance in a moving vehicle with jerks and temperature fluctuations and cost of initial investment that the school doesn’t recover from the parents.There are mainly 3 kinds of options available in the market, for which we have done a comparison on some important parameters here: Many parents have shown willingness to bear an increase in the bus tariff for their children’s safety in case the school has budgetary issues with financing this additional infrastructure. Also, many schools are recognizing the need for such a solution to be in place and taking proactive steps to ensure that the parents and the school administration have peace of mind while their children are on board their buses.It is high time that that parents sensitize their schools to put in the necessary infrastructure that can deter miscreants and we urge the schools to spread awareness in their fraternity to acknowledge the need. After all, no cost is high cost, when it comes to child safety!
#1 Ghaziabad: Girl ‘sexually harassed’ in school bus, class XI boy gets bail (The Indian Express, 18th Dec 2017)#2 CBSE Circular Subject ‘Safety of school children in school bus)#3 No CCTV cams in most school buses (Times of India, 18th Dec 2017)

Shutting down of 2G Networks – Looming challenges for IOT in Logistics industry

Telecom Service Providers globally have been shutting down 2G networks. Operators in United States, Europe, Japan, Singapore, Australia have shut down 2G networks. With the advent of 5G, some Operators are also shutting down 3G Networks as well. Here’s a region-wise list of countries with 2G switch-off dates. This India-focused article proposes to examine the implications of switching off as well as poor availability of 2G Data services, that is the backbone of over a million vehicles in operation. Several fleet operators have deployed GPS devices in their vehicles and have integrated the data as a critical part of their supply chain for transport of people and goods.The challenges that have increased significantly in the last five years, as India moved rapidly to 4G and the advent of 5G, are detailed below: -
  • We are noticing significant deterioration in the performance of 2G networks especially 2G data being given low priority prevent availability of information in real-time. This is across all Telco providers in India. Even SOS situations, in case of people logistics may not be addressed in real-time. Help may not be available in real-time in vehicles that have GPS and SOS button deployed. Whilst all statutory authorities are making GPS mandatory, none of them seem to worry or address this issue
  • The cost of a 2G Data only plan is presently less than Rs 50 per month. This plan also provides for 100 SMS which are used to communicate with the devices. The cost of a 4G plan (pure data plans are not available) is upwards of Rs 150 per month. In other words, SIM monthly charges are going to go up by 300%.
    • Do not expect the SIM costs to go down as all the TELCO have bought their licenses at huge cost and have to make a reasonable return on their capital.
  • The cost of a plain vanilla 2G GPS tracker manufactured in India is around Rs 2,000/- per device (local manufacturers such as Autocop). Imported Chinese Devices are available around Rs 2500 and High-quality devices from China and Israel are available at over Rs 3200. Thanks to the rapid dollar rise against the rupees, the costs are expected to go up by 15% soon.
    • Against the above, the cost of 4G/Wifi GPS trackers are upwards of Rs. 10,000 /- per device. We expect the costs to increase by 300% on account of this. The high cost of these devices increase instances of theft of these devices
  • Exposure to huge risks including criminal in nature if SIM cards are misused by drivers for illegal activities. We have experienced several times drivers taking the SIM card out of GPS devices only to realize the data rates are unusable for them to enjoy unlimited high bandwidth at the cost of fleet owners/device service providers. 4G SIM cards are extremely valuable and is liquid currency for the drivers. With stringent cyber laws, Fleet owners run the risk of being booked for various offences if the driver watches inappropriate child videos by stealing the SIM. It would be arduous for the owners to prove their innocence and get out of the mess. SIM locking will become mandatory to protect the interest of the SIM Card owners.
  • Several discussions can be found on Phone Vs GPS and using the driver phone as a primary IOT device for Location Based Services. This works very well when the Phone is the source of income for the driver and not otherwise when it is a part of the process that monitors his own performance. Most importantly, a mobile phone provides 100s of other services that we do not need for IOT logistics and hence power consumption in the vehicle can be managed exceptionally well when the need to manage vehicles on 24/7 basis even when they are not in use.
Summing up, we can expect a 200% increase in vehicle tracking costs in the near future, if we need reliable, real-time IOT data from moving vehicles.

ETS Outsourcing Dilemma – Should you outsource entirely or select specialists for different parts of the Solution

Companies are on the constant look out for opportunities to improve efficiency across all functions and save costs across all items of expenditure. The costs of transporting employees range from ₹ 3000 to ₹ 9000 per employee per month, based on different types of vehicles and company policies. Agreements with fleet providers also provide for cost escalations due to fuel and with the current diesel price at ₹ 73 per litre the rates are bound to go up.A company that transport 1000 employees in individual cars is likely to spend around $1.5mn a year on transport costs.Most companies, by now, have understood the benefits of implementing a robust transport automation system. In addition to improving the quality of commute for their employees, reducing commuting time and enhancing the safety during travel, Companies can also obtain insights for optimizing routes, rationalize use of different types of vehicles provided by the fleet operators and automate and streamline billing. Transport automation systems also ensure implementation of fairness across multiple vendors based on their SLAs and ensures 100% transparency in operations in additions to meeting all regulations and addressing safety of employees.However, while choosing the type of “outsourcing” model, there are many options available in the market today. Some companies prefer to outsource end-to-end fleet operations (fleet, personnel, automation) while the others prefer to have different vendors providing fleet, automation software, BGV services and Escort Security.Organizations who choose an end-to-end service provider do so as they do not find adequate management bandwidth or lack specialized skills required for transport management. They also believe that this is not core to their business and are willing to sacrifice various benefits by choosing “convenience” over “operational efficiency”.On the other hand, there are discerning companies who are obsessed with Operational efficiency and will leave no stone unturned to get the best transport management solution for their employees. They are conscious of the conflict of interest between these vendors and do not want to take chances by selecting one vendor to provide all these services. Thus, these companies meticulously identify “horses for courses” who specialize in providing fleet, transport automation software, BGV services and Escort Security.As a result, these companies benefit from the following advantages: - We are noticing recently that large facility service providers with ‘risk management competencies’ such as JLL, ISS, CBRE are providing end to end transport in partnership with Fleet vendors and technology partners such as MoveInSync, Routematic and Safetrax. With large capital and managerial resource pools behind them they are well positioned to capitalize and grab market share with large companies.Some Technology providers such as MoveInSync as well as Routematic are also offering end-to-end transportation services and it will be interesting to observe how these offerings perform after a couple of years given the fact these startups have constraints in capital and resources. Technology providers offering end-to-end transportation can result in conflict of interest and may require third party audits on routing and size of vehicles from time to time.Pureplay SaaS technology companies will have to live with the fact that the technology stack in the costs of transportation are not likely to exceed 2 to 4 percent of the total transportation costs and hence the revenue market opportunities are likely to be small, not attractive to be funded by VC firms. Such companies may have to expand their markets vertically and horizontally via different offerings. There is also no scope for these players to compete with Ola or Uber as the B2C market is likely to be dominated by these two players.The choice of outsourcing model is a strategic decision and is entirely dependent on a combination of factors such as an organization’s risk appetite, cost consciousness and availability of management bandwidth. Thus, companies based on their sizes and needs are expected to choose an integrated provider to provide end-to-end transport management with SLAs and risk management or deal with all the individual providers of services for better control and cost efficiency.

Are we prepared for AIS 140?

The Ministry of Surface Transport, Government of India had initially stipulated that the public transport system needs to be streamlined and mandated Vehicle Tracking, deployment of Panic buttons and increased surveillance. These standards were supposed to go live on Apr 1 2018 and have now been pushed to Apr 1 2019.

The standards require compliance of several items interalia;

  • All Devices should have Emergency Buttons and support Vehicle Location Tracking
  • All Devices should support GAGAN, the Indian Satellite Based Augmentation System
  • Device shall have a position accuracy of minimum 2.5 m
  • Device shall have an acquisition sensitivity of minimum (-) 148 dBm
  • Device shall have a tracking sensitivity of minimum (-) 165 dBm
  • Device shall support standard minimum I/Os as mentioned: 4 Digital, 2 Analogue and 1 Serial Communication (e.g. RS232) for interfacing external systems (E.g. Digital input for Emergency request button interfacing).
  • Device shall be capable of transmitting data to Backend Control Server (Government authorized server) via Wide Area (Mobile) Communications network (GSM/GPRS).
  • Device shall be capable of transmitting Position, Velocity and Time (PVT data) along with heading (direction of travel) to a Backend Control Server (Government authorized server) at configurable frequency as per Communication Protocol of Section 4.
  • The fixed frequency shall be user configurable, minimum frequency shall be 5 secs during vehicle operation and not less than 10 minutes in sleep/IGN OFF) as per the protocol defined in Communication Protocol of Section 4.
  • On pressing of Emergency button, the system implementing VLT function shall send emergency Alert to the configured IP address(s) as per the Communication Protocol. In the absence of GPRS network, the emergency alert shall be sent as SMS message along with vehicle location data to configured control center number(s).
  • Device shall store/write the registration number of the vehicle in the internal nonvolatile memory
  • Device shall have an Embedded SIM
  • The Device shall support:
    • Location on GPRS/SMS
    • Non-volatile memory to store min 40,000 positional log
    • Configurable backup SMS facility in case of GPRS failure
    • Capability to send serving and adjacent cell ID as well as network measurement report (NMR)
  • Device shall support A-GPS (Assisted GPS)
  • Device should have Set configuration parameter like sleep time, overspeed limit, harsh braking, harsh acceleration, rash turning threshold limits etc.
However, are the Indian Fleet Operators equipped to provide these devices in vehicles in which employees are transported? The answer is NO99% of the GPS devices deployed in India do not have an embedded sim and do not have the ability to reveal data on harsh braking, rash turning etc. Several of the inexpensive GPS devices have been made with old chipsets on account of costs that will not meet the stipulated position accuracy of 2.5 meters. 100% of these Devices do not support GAGAN, the Indian Satellite GPS system.All our customers are stipulating in the new contracts that the fleets be provided AIS 140 approved devices. The government mandatory order also indicates no longer the Employee Transportation SaaS companies can provide purely mobile based Driver APP solutions. The costs are expected to go up and we expect this to increase the cost of transport per employee by at least Rs 15 per month.Customers in the Employee transport segment are bound to encounter the following challenges in their run up to becoming compliant with the AIS 140 standards: -a. They are tied up with multiple fleet operators for their requirement and one or more of these vendors may be reluctant to comply as they may have recently invested in the non-compliant hardware and may not yet have seen the returns.b. It is a matter of common knowledge that the quality of certain telecom providers is best in certain cities while yet others are preferable in certain other cities. Therefore, in order to get the best service for their organization, companies having multiple offices across different cities in India may have to go in for different service providers and by extension, look for device providers who work with a range of telecom service providers. We still have no clue on how easy it is going to change service providers with embedded sims in the age of Telcos going insolvent.c. Customers who have adopted the driver APP-based employee transport solution would have to realign themselves and evaluate their current Employee Transport SaaS provider’s ability to support GPS device-based tracking solution. If they do not have the capability, Customers must waste no time in identifying other SaaS providers with comprehensive product features to support this requirement.Therefore, Customers would do well to review their existing vehicle tracking solution for AIS 140 compliance and if they are not already compliant, start taking necessary steps to evaluate other options, in order to smoothly migrate/espouse a robust AIS 140 compliant Employee Transport system, well within the stipulated deadline of April 2019.

Safetrax introduces eSafe – Driver Behaviour and Performance Monitoring Solution

Most fleet management solutions do not have a comprehensive driver behaviour monitoring solution. As a transport manager, whether managing a small or large fleet you would be interested in knowing who your best and least performing drivers are and discern what makes them perform better or worse.With a new advanced Israeli GPS module which has additional sensors and ports, we have been able to capture gamut of important signals which has enabled us to build a comprehensive driver behaviour monitoring solution. We are proud that is the first of its kind solution offered in the Corporate and School Bus Transportation segment.

Key Features

Track up to 20 different manoeuvres eSafe can record a broad range of driving manoeuvres such as harsh braking, swerving, sudden acceleration, sudden lane change, etc. The multitude of data will help in comprehensive driver management and vehicle maintenance.Dashboard Rich visual dashboard with a plethora of charts will help in instant visualization of all the driver performance parameters and the vehicle condition. Armed with this new data and insights you can significantly optimize the performance of your fleet.Scorecard Scorecard helps you identify your best and least performing drivers and reward or take corrective actions. Depending on your particular fleet goal, such as safety or fleet productivity, you can define and measure various metrics.

Benefits for ETS

It helps in reducing vehicle maintenance and fleet operational costs for transport vendors. Companies can use driver scorecards to encourage responsible driving and proactively warn or suspend drivers whose safety and productivity metrics are not meeting the minimum criteria. It also helps companies in their green initiatives as responsible driving helps reduce carbon emissions.

Benefits for Schools

Monitoring the driver behavioural data, schools can proactively warn or remove the risky drivers from the rolls. This can improve driver safety quotient and reduce accident rates. Schools that own the fleet will benefit in fleet maintenance, reducing operational costs and fuel bills by using eSafe solution.

How Management benefits by implementing Transport Automation System?

Employee Transportation is one of the top expenses for medium and large sized IT companies. As the company operations expand and more employees join the fold, transportation expense is also likely to increase manifold and inefficiencies can creep in. Since the transport operations are managed by the transport desk under the Facilities department, the management is usually in the dark about the various operational and financial metrics. Aside from the budget allocated for transport, management is unaware of whether the budget has been judiciously spent. Hence, there is a definitive need for transport automation system with management specific dashboard and reports. Below are few ways it adds value to the management.

Reliable Data

In a manual system where the data is tracked in excel and presented to management in the form of presentations, there is always the potential for intentional or unintentional manipulation. With an automated system, the entire workflow is digitally managed with role-based access and complete audit trail. This eliminates the scope for any manual data manipulation.

Stay on top of Key Metrics

With management dashboards and analytics, management can stay on top of specific operational and financial metrics which gives them a quick idea of the performance of the operations and the expense.

Employee Productivity

A recent study in the UK across 34,000 workers has confirmed that longer commutes can have a direct impact on employees’ health and productivity and in extreme case lead to attrition. With optimized routing, the routes can be simplified and travel time reduced thereby giving precious time back to the employees. This can enable a pleasant experience and therefore result in a positive impact on employees’ health and productivity. On time arrival is another metric that can improve employee productivity. With better tracking and control, an automated system improves the on-time arrivals thereby enabling employees to report to work on time.

Safe Transport

When a company provides transportation, the company is obligated to ensure safety and security of employees during pickup to office and drop back home. With a robust transport management system, management can take comfort from the fact that the employees are transported in a safe and secure manner with well-defined controls, levels of escalation and intelligent response mechanisms.

Peace of Mind

Despite the best preventive measures, there is always a remote chance of an untoward incident. When such a rare unfortunate incident occurs, management is questioned by the police and other agencies regarding safety precautions taken by the company. With an end to end transport management system in place, management can safeguard themselves from police and laws for having implemented robust safety systems and running a fully compliant operation.

Three types of Routing Algorithms

Automated routing is making an impact in IT companies that has substantive employee transport operations as it not only saves time in generating routes but also produces more optimized routes. The routing typically runs on a general algorithm, however the same algorithm may not be the most optimized in different geographies and scenarios. Hence, there is a need for multiple types of algorithms, each of which can run best on a certain city demographics and preferences.Below are few routing algorithms developed by Safetrax which has helped maximize optimization and minimize manual interventions.

Distance Based Routing Algorithm

  • How it works: Takes farthest employees and clubs more employees on the way as much as possible while adhering to distance deviation and trip time constraints provided
  • Suited for: Organizations of all shapes and sizes
  • Benefits: Reduction in number of trips and better seating utilization

Cluster Based Routing Algorithm

  • How it works: Creates specific-sized cluster of employees as per their proximity from each other and creates trips that can carry maximum number of employees from same cluster
  • Suited for: Organizations that have large number of Employees logging in or logging out in the same shift
  • Benefits: Most pickups and drops are configured to happen within a limited radius that ensures that drivers do not have to cover multiple locations. Employees are at ease since the pickup or drop is in the vicinity without too much deviation.

Zone Based Routing Algorithm

  • How it works: This is a variant of Cluster Based Routing Algorithm with the difference that here the Zones are manually defined by the Admin team and employees are assigned to the zones. The routing algorithm picks employees who are assigned to the same zones and then creates optimized trips as per Cluster Based Routing Algorithm.
  • Suited for: Organizations that have large number of Employees logging in or logging out in the same shift.
  • Benefits: Helps in cases where billing is based on zones and drivers do not have pickup/drop employees in two different zones.

10 things that can go wrong in Employee Transportation and how to deal with them?

1. New cabs inducted at short notice without detailed background checks and GPS

Adhoc induction of cabs poses serious safety risk as vehicles ply without GPS. This problem can be solved by – 1. Vendors need to be notified that adhoc cabs should mandatorily carry a GPS device failing which billing for that vehicle will be void. 2. Vendors should be provided with a Smartphone or PlugnPlay GPS device to enable immediate vehicle tracking. The vehicle/driver details need to be entered in the transport management system and should be mapped with GPS device for accurate tracking.

2. Rains, strikes, bandhs cause traffic chaos leading to delayed On-Time arrivals

A robust technology-driven operation can be the saviour as it helps companies communicate the right information to the employees, drivers and vendors and ensure minimal disruption to business. Companies can immediately trigger SMS’s or App notifications to employees regarding potential delays. With GPS in vehicles, companies have visibility on all vehicles which can help in quickly rerouting drivers and enabling them to reach office with minimal delays.

3. No Show from employees

Employees sometimes take transport operations for granted and do not provide prior information regarding No shows / Leaves. This hurts the transport operation as it not only results in completely avoidable back & forth calls, running Kms and time but also costs money. This can be avoided by providing periodic orientation to employees and by introducing policies such as More than Two No Shows, employee will be automatically removed from Rostering. Subsequently, employee will have to raise a request and receive approval from manager to be rostered again.

4. Driver Phones run out of battery

To prevent Phones from running out of battery, Driver App installed on the phones should remind drivers about connecting to the charger when the battery falls below 40% and continue to remind for every 5% drop. If the phone reaches 10% battery and still not connected to the charger, the system will automatically not consider the vehicle for trip deployments. The potential loss of revenue will force drivers to always have their phones charged.

5. Defective RFID reader

If the RFID readers are defective, the employees can confirm boarding/deboarding thru the Employee app. In addition, an IVR call can be triggered to the employees in the cab to capture boarding/deboarding.

6. GPS does not send coordinates due to congestion in data traffic

This is mostly due to telecom network. In such cases, Safetrax GPS device will continue to track the vehicle and store location co-ordinates in the built-in memory. When network connectivity resumes, the locations are sent to the server so the route and KMs are accurately captured in reports.

7. Drivers disconnect GPS over weekends to stay out of tracking

Penalizing the drivers for turning off / tampering with the GPS wiring can prevent such incidents from happening.

8. Inaccurate billing - variation between Actual Odometer and GPS KMs

In our experience, we have observed a 2 – 10% variation between the GPS and Odometer readings. The variation could be due to various factors such as tyre conditions - size, pressure, alignment, etc and in general overall condition of the vehicle. Hence, it is prudent to discuss with vendor about potential variance and agree upon a GPS Kms + 2 – 5% extra KMs so vendors do not feel a huge pinch in their monthly revenues.

9. Distress to Employees

Distress to employees can vary from something minor as delayed drop to as major as harassment/misbehaviour from drivers. Therefore, it is important to equip all vehicles with physical panic buttons and in addition employees should have the Employee app handy to report panic situations. In intelligent SOS panel in the Admin application will help transport supervisors to take quick control of the situation and deliver swift help.

10. Rash driving by Drivers

In addition to overspeeding, and idling, advanced GPS devices can record more data about the driving behaviour such as harsh braking, harsh cornering, sudden acceleration, etc. These metrics can be used to generate a driver scorecard which when shared with drivers will help them correct their driving patterns and behaviours.

How GPS, Cell Tower and Wi-Fi triangulation help in tracking location?

In the past decade, transportation both at the consumer and business level has undergone rapid transformations resulting in improved productivity and customer experience. The key to that has been the ability to track movement in real time. Real time tracking is ubiquitous, but for the transport managers and technically inclined it is fascinating to go beyond the surface of visual maps to understand how GPS and other location tracking methods work.

GPS Triangulation

The Global Positioning System (GPS) developed by US, is a satellite-based navigation system made up of 27 satellites. Smartphones and GPS devices which have GPS receiver built in to them, are the two most popular devices for location tracking. If the vehicle carries a Smartphone or GPS device, to identify its 2-D position (latitude and longitude), the GPS receiver in a device or phone connects with at least 3 satellites. If it locks with 4 or more satellites in view, the receiver can determine its 3-D position (latitude, longitude and altitude).As illustrated in the above image, the GPS receiver identifies its distance to each of the satellite to deduce its location through mathematical technique trilateration – a complex version of triangulation. Generally, a GPS receiver tracks 8 or more satellites and connects with 3 or 4 satellites to determine its location. As the vehicle moves, the distance between the GPS receiver and the satellite varies, enabling the receiver to compute its location instantly. As per official US Gov report, the GPS receivers in Smartphones/GPS devices can typically locate within 4.9 meter accuracy depending on various terrestrial and atmospheric conditions.

Cell Tower Triangulation

b3 Cell tower triangulation is another technique widely used to identify the location of the phone/device. A cell phone signal may be picked up by three or more cell towers enabling the triangulation to work. So when a triangulation happens – with the point of overlap of three signals, it is possible to estimate the location of the cell phone based on its distance from the three towers. The cell towers broadcast their location and by knowing the distance of the phone from each towers, the co-ordinates of the cell phone is calculated. Average accuracy of cell towers could vary between 500m - 1500m. In urban areas where towers are in every nook and corner, it is possible to deduce the location of phone/device with greater accuracy.

Wi-Fi Positioning

b4 It is fair to wonder what Wi-Fi has got to do with identifying your co-ordinates. Companies such as Google and Apple have been using this method to identify your location. So how does this work? Phones have a background location service which constantly seeks for Wi-Fi access points and sends Wi-Fi addresses (bssid) along with its location identified through GPS or cell tower triangulation to their respective servers and stored in their database.The fact that there are more Wi-Fi hotspots than trees in a city enables Google or Apple to identify your location by merely knowing the strength of Wi-Fi signals on your phone. This data is available for app developers through APIs which any developer can leverage to locate phones using Wi-Fi positioning. The accuracy of Wi-Fi in dense city can vary between 10 - 25m and in sub-urban areas with less access points 20 - 100m.