Since the early days when GPS technology was an expensive and rare product, it has changed to penetrate the world at virtually every level. What not that long ago required a complex and costly product is now available as a virtually free add-on even in smartphones, to name but one product range. All based on a very simply concept: a GPS chip detecting where it is and relaying this information back to where it is needed through a process known as telemetry, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telemetry.
Once the GPS chip has worked out where it is, it can also work out how fast it is moving: here now, there 0.25 seconds later…the old v = s/t physics formula can be applied and the speed is derived. Allowing for measurement spikes and reflections in GPS signals, this information is smoothed and filtered and delivered to a software interface that can place it on a street map and display it to a user in a device like a phone or a GPS navigator. Add in a SIM card and the information can be sent through a mobile network to a central point, then add a screen, more software and a human being looking at it and we have second-by-second knowledge of where any vehicle is. Pick up information from the vehicle such as seatbelt usage, driver identification and RPM, relay it back to base with the GPS information and the system gets more sophisticated – we are entering what is known as In-vehicle Monitoring Systems (IVMS). Add a layer of intelligent software over knowledge of where a fleet is at any time and we have a complex fleet management system that saves its owner significant amounts of money through more efficient trips.
The cost of GPS has lately come down to the point where devices can be fitted to moving and static assets in very large numbers. A site with 150 air conditioning units can mark each unit with a GPS tracker – this makes the serviceman’s job so much easier. Attach a unit to a container and a shipping company can advise position and delivery times virtually to the minute.
GPS technology, like most things in 2015, has become an extremely competitive and at times complex business. The possible applications are limitless and every indication is that we have only seen the beginning of it all: devices are getting smaller, cheaper and less power hungry, so they can be fitted onto more and more assets.
Digicore is your partner in GPS technology: acknowledged IVMS leaders, now also bringing you state-of-the-art asset tracking products and services like our new DCA260 – call us if you need to know where your property is!