Happy 10th Birthday — GPS Insight

Just noticed that my colleague Rob Donat and his hugely successful GPS tracking provider firm http://www.gpsinsight.com/ just celebrated their 10th year in business.

And what a10 years it has been.  You really should visit Rob’s site and pay attention to the story how he grew the business from one firm he was doing private consulting for to a firm of 85 employees today with more than 80,000 GPS tracking  units in service.

If You Think You Can’t Build a Business in “Bad Years”

Here’s what Rob has to say about the last 10 years of his journey:

I “spun off” GPS Insight from my consulting company as its own legal entity 4/15/2005 after about 6 months of development for a single local fleet customer.  I never imagined where the company would be 10 years later.  With the economy as difficult as it was, our only option was to grow and innovate, and it has worked out well for our company as well as employees and customers. – See more at: http://blog.gpsinsight.com/2015/04/happy-10th-birthday-to-gps-insight/#sthash.74vpXCcx.dpuf

gpsi_logoIf You Think GPS Doesn’t Pay

Ask some of GPS Insight’s 2300+ plus customers.

West Coast Sand and Gravel Saves 5,205 Gallons of Fuel per Quarter by Reducing Idling

Large Beverage Fleet Receives 133% ROI with GPS Fleet Tracking Software

See more:

Case Studies and Customer Successes

 

Happy 10th birthday GPS Insight, can’t wait to see what the next 10 years bring.

Florida Joins the Need a GPS Warrant Club — With a Nautical Twist

Pretty interesting article From Wired here.  Not only is it talking about cell phone data — which I have been preaching for years is way more dangerous to you privacy than GPS data, but it brings up some really scary cell phone technology I wasn’t aware of … STINGRAY.  Ever heard of it?  You’ll want to, read on ..

Cops Need a Warrant to Grab Your Cell Tower Data, Florida Court Rules

The top of a cell phone tower.

The top of a cell phone tower. Getty Images

Americans may have a Florida drug dealer to thank for expanding our right to privacy.

Police departments around the country have been collecting phone metadata from telecoms and using a sophisticated spy tool to track people through their mobile phones—often without obtaining a warrant. But a new ruling out of Florida has curbed the activity in that state, on constitutional grounds. It raises hope among civil liberties advocates that other jurisdictions around the country may follow suit.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday that obtaining cell phone location data to track a person’s location or movement in real time constitutes a Fourth Amendment search and therefore requires a court-ordered warrant.

The case specifically involves cell tower data for a convicted drug dealer that police obtained from a telecom without a warrant. But the way the ruling is written (.pdf), it would also cover the use of so-called “stingrays”—sophisticated technology law enforcement agencies use to locate and track people in the field without assistance from telecoms. Agencies around the country, including in Florida, have been using the technology to track suspects—sometimes without obtaining a court order, other times deliberately deceiving judges and defendants about their use of the devices to track suspects, telling judges the information came from “confidential” sources rather than disclose their use of stingrays. The new ruling would require them to obtain a warrant or stop using the devices.

The American Civil Liberties Union calls the Florida ruling “a resounding defense” of the public’s right to privacy.

“Following people’s movements by secretly turning their cell phones into tracking devices can reveal extremely sensitive details of our lives, like where we go to the doctor or psychiatrist, where we spend the night, and who our friends are,” said Nate Freed Wessler, an attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. “Police are now on notice that they need to get a warrant from a judge before tracking cell phones, whether using information from the service provider or their own ‘Stingray’ cell phone tracking equipment.”

The ruling constitutes the first time that a state court has reached this finding under the Fourth Amendment. It comes at a timely moment when federal courts of appeal in other jurisdictions are in the midst of taking up the question of cell tower data, Wessler told WIRED. Even if other jurisdictions rule differently, the Florida case makes it more likely that the issue will one day get to the U.S. Supreme Court. If it does, civil liberties advocates hope that the federal court would rule as it did on the use of GPS tracking devices used by police, determining that it constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment. Though the court in that case fell short of ruling that the use of GPS devices requires a warrant, law enforcement agencies around the country have changed their practices as a result of the ruling.

THE AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION CALLS THE FLORIDA RULING “A RESOUNDING DEFENSE” OF THE PUBLIC’S RIGHT TO PRIVACY.

Stingrays are equally as invasive as GPS trackers, if not more so since GPS trackers are generally used on vehicles traveling public roads. Stingrays, however, can track the mobile phone wherever it goes—inside an apartment building and even down to the exact apartment where a person resides….

Scary, eh?  Well there’s a lot, lot more to the Stingray problem than the ACLU is talking about.

I’m going to do an extensive study on Stingrays starting next week on my sister sister, snoop411.com   Come over when you have a chance, it ought to be interesting.

Just because people say you’re crazy doesn’t mean they aren’t after you …

Do These Look Geostationary to You?

I’ve just been reading quite a bit about the sad story of Malaysian Airways flight 370, the horrid way Malaysia and some other nations involved just don’t even attempt to do air traffic control. and a lot of claptrap about the GPS system and how it should have tracked MH370 right to it’s final resting place.

One thing I found in quite a few places were reference aftre reference to the GPS satellites being iin geostationary orbit.  Well, hate to tell you this, but they are NOT.  Note the neat animated graphic above from Trimble.

New Jersey DOT is Smart — How About Your DOT?

Here are some excerpts from a recent article about the New Jersey DOT and their use of GPS tracking to fulfill their charter as a state agency paid to do a job for the taxpayer.

All to many such agencies have just become a huge money sink, providing vehicles to state employees but having no idea what the vehicles 9and employees) are doing once they are out of sight.

The most common excuse agencies give for NOT tracking vehicles is “Expense”.  But this is actually a totally bogus, “we don’t give a crap” excuse.  “Expense” is the primary excuse all government employees give for not doing their job … as if they had to pay for things out of their own pocket.

GPS tracking has been proven, time and time again to ALWYS save more than it costs … as long as the agency who installed the GPS actually manages the vehicles with it and actually does something with the information.

The real reason so many managers are reluctant to implement GPS tracking system is, they are scared.

Scared they might find out things about vehicle use … as in how many are really not needed.

Scared they might find employee abuse and actually have to take action to correct it, instead of letting the tax payer suffer in silence.

Scared they might actually not have an excuse to demand ever more money and do less of a job with it .. the proverbial “Self Licking Ice Cream Cone”

New Jersey DOT using GPS to track use and abuse of state vehicles

Sunday October 6, 2013, 10:58 PM BY  KAREN ROUSE STAFF WRITER The Record

Some scream up and down the highway at more than 100 mph. Others have done private jobs while on the government dime.

Then there are those who steal time by parking their state Department of Transportation trucks in mall lots, on side streets, even near bowling alleys, and take leisurely breaks when they’re supposed to be filling potholes, fixing signs or picking up dead deer on the highway.

“Like pigeons that go and hide, we have employees that like to go cooping,” said state Transportation Commissioner Jim Simpson. They say, ‘Let’s go get a truck and hide out in the park.’ ” …

This is so, so common it’s often hard for management to believe what is going on out there until they actually do track their employees and vehicles.  You can read more about how common “cooping”  here: GPS Tracking Watches the Watchers

… Jersey City Mayor Steven M. Fulop announced in August that the city had installed GPS in public works vehicles to “increase accountability and cut down on fuel expenses.”

The city initially installed tracking devices on 20 public works vehicles, and plans to expand it within that department and, eventually, to the Police Department.

There has been “a culture of entitlement and abuse by employees (my emphasis) of city vehicles and we are taking every measure to ensure an end to that abuse,” Fulop said in a news release. The abuses, he said, have included taking cars outside of the city and using them for personal trips.

In an age when employees know the boss could be checking their Facebook pages or searching what websites they visit on company computers, many workers are not alarmed — as long as it’s done right, said Sandro Polledri, a civil trial lawyer in Newark who represents workers in discrimination cases. It’s acceptable to use GPS to investigate a worker’s productivity if not done surreptitiously, or during non-work hours, he said.

Just last month, the state DOT employees were issued a “Use of State Vehicles” notice that warns that “all department vehicles are equipped with a GPS system to monitor the location of the vehicle,” and that “the GPS system also records the speed of the vehicle and registers alerts when the vehicle is driven at high speeds.”

Violating the rules of the road or tampering with the GPS system could result in disciplinary action, including being fired, the notice says.

A separate department policy gives Simpson and the DOT inspector general 24/7 access to all transportation-related properties, including 69 yards, four rest areas, two regional headquarters and maintenance complex, as well as access to all vehicles within a yard, and structures in the yards….

So many people seem afraid to implement GPS because of supposed “legal issues”.  This is almost as common as the “no funds” excuse.  But as attorney Polledri points out, it’s not really rocket sciece. 

However for many officals it does involve an unfamiliar porocess … that is Growing Some Balls.  What the heck do you get paid for, anyway?

The answer, which seems so simple, yet so hard for so many government leaders to utter is summed up right here:

“We’re the Department of Transportation. We have to set an example for everyone.”

I recommend you read the whole article … if, that is, you actually give a shit about how your tax dollar is being spent.

– See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/state/New_Jersey_DOT_using_GPS_to_track_use_and_abuse_of_state_vehicles.html?page=all#sthash.ogPZNVxk.dpuf

My Drivers Are Honest — I Don’t Need GPS Tracking

Are you sure about that?  I’ve been selling, servicing modifying, implementing and consulting on GPS tracking and it’s role in protecting business owners from loss and unnecessary risk for nearly 20 years now.  I go back in the GPS to the days there was only one satellite (yes and it was useful, as well)

It is common, so common for business owners to deny they have any problems.  It’s human nature, but it’s still really comical … because if all these guys had such a good handle on their business, they’d be rich.

Covert tracker shows its worth in seafood theft

Staff reporter

02-Oct-2013

Truck tracked by GPSThe value of covert tracking technology to combat cargo theft has been proved once again in a case involving a stolen frozen seafood shipment in the US.

On September 29, an embedded GPS system identified when the shipment – en route from Massachusetts to California – was handed over to thieves by a complicit driver, according to a report from transport security specialist Freightwatch.

The GPS system identified when the shipment was diverted from its route towards Florida by the thieves, who were friends of the driver, and allowed the cargo to be recovered intact by police within hours of the theft. The driver reported the theft when he reached a depot in Jackson, Mississippi.

Real-World GPS Business Example

I’ve been selling the idea and benefits of GPS fleet tracking for years.

I think much of the time I made the mistake, and the industry in general has made the mistake, of making it all too complicated and technical.

It’s easy and it’s smart, folks.  It’s what every small business with a fleet on the road needs.

See how simple it was for Joe and Hangers Cleaners to find thousands in savings every year:


Did you notice especially how Joe found the excessive idling problem?

This is going on right now, today, in the fleet right outside your window. I guarantee it. I haven’t seen a fleet in nearly 20 years where this has NOT been a problem.

The practical solution? Monitor and Manage.

You Need a Nation-Wide Plan

Mnay of you reading this already know the importance of managing your fleets.

Those who have not yet made the move are often hanging back becuase the actual data netwwork .. the managemnt to truck data link is often the “Long Pole in the Tent” .. the most critical piece of the puzzle.

Getting Spring onboard ike this should go a long way toward making real-world, real-time fleet monoitoring and management availble to all.

Trust me folks, I’ve got years and years of experience in this business and I can truly tell you, managing your fleet with GPS does not COST, it PAYS.

The Carrier They Needed

I sold Geotab in-vehicle units for years.  They’re the best in the industry.

What they always lacked, and a main reson I left the business, was because the cellular data service to connect the vehicle units wa sjust always too complicated, expensive and difficult to deal with.

Hooking up with Sprint is a great idea.  And getting on the Western States schedule is an even better one.

Go school or municipal or county vehicles and you AREN”T tracking them?

Why?

 

I’ll Be Back — Yet Again

When you heard that LightSquared filed for bakruptcy last year .. and you quit seeing warnings from me about their attempted plan to disrupt the entire GPS industry with a shaky (at best) plan to run 40,000 high power cell towers right on a wafer thin border of the GPS spectrum, did you think they were dead and gone?

Hah.  So much for your foresight … didn’t you ever watch any of the Terminator movies?  

Do these things EVER stop, even when smelted down into their molten origins?

Folks, meet the “TRerminator” of the GPS Spectrum Band … LightSquared:

Lobbying and new spectrum: One last shot for LightSquared

The embattled company’s plan B to revive dreams of shaking up wireless industry.


LightSquared, the beleaguered satellite company that plans to revolutionize the wireless industry as a new competitor, could spring back from the dead with an alternative plan it has been quietly shepherding through the regulatory process over the past year. Most industry observers considered LightSquared’s fate sealed when it filed for bankruptcy back in 2012 after failing to receive government approval to launch its cellular network in the face of interference concerns with GPS. But the company has been diligently pursuing an alternative path to bring its business plan to market.  ..

More will follow, you can be sure of that.

Who Works For Whom? If You Are a Leader, ACT!

Here’s a classic case of knowing about a problem and then sweeping it under the rug becuase someone is afraid of finding out just how bad their management practices really are.

Lisbon board drops plans to monitor employees with GPS tracking devices

September 3, 2013SBON – The village Board of Public Affairs has changed its mind about using a GPS tracking device to monitor the whereabouts of BPA vehicles.

BPA member Bill Hoover said they decided at last week’s meeting to reverse course based on the advice of village Solicitor Virginia Barborak and the fact there may no longer be any need to use the devices.

“There wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm for it, plus our gas consumption has dropped,” he said.

The decision comes one month after the BPA reported it was exploring purchasing a GPS device to rotate among water and sewer department vehicles to improve efficiency by keeping track of employee driving patterns.

They said the devices would also allow them to determine the location of vehicles at any time by simply logging into the computer program. The device would also tell officials the speed being driven and other information, such as if the employee was using a cell phone while driving.

The GPS suggestion was made after the BPA began requiring employees to maintain a mileage-and-gasoline log when driving village vehicles after experiencing an unexplained 29 percent jump in fuel purchases last year.

The monitoring requirement has resulted in a 50 percent reduction in gas bills, and Hoover said that is one of the reasons why they decided against purchasing a GPS device. “The problem has pretty much solved itself,” he said.

Barborak had voiced reservations about potential legal and insurance issues involving the use of GPS, although the city of Youngstown and Trumbull County are among many government agencies that outfit vehicles with tracking devices.

Hoover said the tracking device is always an option. “It’s still available and we can buy it later if we want,” he said.

The devices cost $350 per unit, plus a $15 monthly fee for the online monitoring service.

– See more at: http://www.morningjournalnews.com/page/content.detail/id/548150/Lisbon-board-drops-plans-to-monitor-employees-with-GPS-tracking-devices.html?nav=5006#sthash.fjkIBdSG.dpuf

Are you a municipal leader?  You should take heed.  You aren’t a leader just to show off and be a big deal and to be known as “The Honorable”.

If you live in a village, town or city you too are part of this, even if you never run for election.

These people work for YOU, not you for them.

Make them do their job instead of living off the fat of YOUR land!