Hewitt Cattle Australia
Hewitt Cattle Australia is a recognised leader in the Australian agricultural industry employing best practice management techniques across its operations. The company has over 40 years’ experience in successfully owning and operating grazing assets throughout North, Central and South-Western Queensland, as well as Central Australia and New South Wales.
Hewitt Cattle had been a customer of ours for years in QLD so when they came to us wanting to track some vehicles for them on a site in the Northern Territory we were keen to help. The challenge of this however soon became apparent. They wanted to track vehicles over a 534000 square km property in the Northern Territory with no cellular coverage, in mostly unregistered farm vehicles that never left the property. They also wanted to track harsh cornering, speed violations, seatbelt usage as well as providing a panic button for alerting people if there was an emergency. Doing this all over iridium in situations that could mean the alerts be difference between life and death was going to take some ingenuity.
What made this such a challenge is that iridium is usually designed to be a fail-over comms device. Meaning when you go out of cellular coverage it will kick in and provide you with a small amount of regular positional information (traditionally every 15 minutes) and continue to ensure that the panic button works. The idea is that the rest of the trip data is stored on the unit which once it comes back into coverage is uploaded over cellular filling in the out of coverage trip detail then. The other problem was, that due to this being the way the units operated there was no need to keep the iridium data beyond the last position.
With Hewitt Cattle’s vehicles being out of coverage constantly we had to devise a new way to get the information. So we went back to the manufacturer and explained our situation and that we needed more data sent from the units over iridium. They came back with a way to give us trip start and stop, a position every 10 minutes, seatbelt pick up data with each position, harsh cornering, a top speed alert and send immediate panic button. This was great and was exactly what we were after the only issue was that the system wasn’t designed to read it.
This is when we started work on what has now become our custom reports system for our new units. We wrote a piece of software that would capture the data, read the extra pick up information and then create specific reports that would work to provide some meaningful information based on the iridium data. This included a violation report, and a movement summery report on google earth using a KML file.
We then set the units to provide in-cab alerts for harsh events (braking, corning and acceleration), speed violations and seatbelt enforcement which complimented the data we were getting from the iridium units to give us a well rounded solution given the exceptional circumstances.