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Simplicity

Les Très Riches Heures du Duc du Berry

Les Très Riches Heures du Duc du Berry

I spent the month of July this year in Paris. In summer, Paris is very exciting with the Fête de la Bastille parade, the Bal des Pompiers, the Tour de France, and many other festivals all happening simultaneously. The city crackles with excitement. Yet with two thousand years of history, what is a little missing in the summer sun are Paris’s subtler sides.

I have a deep love for the quietude and timelessness of Medieval thought. I’ve always admired the multi-panel manuscript Les Très Riches Heures du Duc du Berry for its depiction of simple life…and that blue, blue sky that seems to bear witness to a timelessness now so rare. Part of the book depicts everyday life throughout the year (it’s a book of hours afterall). What I never knew was that in the October panel, the castle is a real one and that it still exists—in part. It is the original Louvre.

Over the centuries this old castle, with its many ardoise turrets, was gradually erased and replaced by successive regimes bent on modernizing it and putting their stamp on it. But in 1989 when excavations were made to build the Carrousel du Louvre (the pyramid), the original Louvre was rediscovered.

One bright and hot day, I followed the self-guided tour that takes you down to the foundations and origins of the Louvre. On the walking tour, you can now walk through the original moat and the substructure of the walls and donjon (keep). There’s nothing much else remaining, just simple stonework, yet my eyes set these stones high against that azure Medieval sky. And stared.

Upstairs, the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and a thousand other art treasures awaited, and yet I stood mesmerized by these unadorned stones. It’s not what you’re looking at so much as what it evokes.

Temperature Monitoring – What’s the Right Flavor for You?

 

Webtech-Wireless-Temperature-Monitoring

Don’t Let Your Profits Melt Away

There’s probably nothing sadder than a small child crying over an ice cream cone that melted before he or she could finish it. In the grow-up world, it’s a different kind of sad for a fleet manager to lose an entire truck load of frozen ice cream on route to market—it’s an expensive sad.

Choose What’s Right for You

Depending on the types of vehicles you’re using and your temperature monitoring needs, Webtech Wireless offers two distinct solutions: The WT7000H+ Locator for straight trucks, and the WT2250 Locator for trailers. With either, this sets you apart from your competition by enabling you to monitor the contents of your shipments on route to ensure that they travel within the required temperature specifications.

“There was a night and day difference after Quadrant was deployed at National Foods. Quadrant is a full fleet solution with multiple areas where it can help.”
—Kevin Bookey, Transportation Manager, National Foods

Real Customers, Real Solutions

A Texas-based frozen food distributor, which prides itself in its premium best-selling ice creams, approached us in 2011 to monitor the location, temperature, and door open/close of its mixed fleet of ice cream trucks. Starting with a pilot program installed on eight vehicles, we were able to help them not only reduce content spoilage and monitor its straight trucks and trailers, but having real-time visibility into its vehicles also helped prevent cargo theft as well. By trying out the solution as a pilot, the company was able to certify success before rolling it out to all trucks in the fleet. Webtech Wireless then worked with certified installers to bring fleet GPS tracking to monitor its ice cream for the entire fleet.

Here’s what this frozen food distributor chose:

Fully certified and calibrated temperature probes ruggedized to provide sensitivity and accuracy to be aware of critical temperature swings that could ruin product.

Quadrant Manager Mobile for iPhone, iPad, and Android gave their fleet managers the same mobility to check temperatures and vehicle locations while they themselves are on the road.

Temperature reports set with unique location-based profiles (geofences) enabled fleet managers to identify temperature ranges and distinct thresholds for daily operations and weekend storage.

Automated driver logs, which perfect for fleets that operate in multiple states or jurisdictions. Our award-winning fleet management Quadrant solution supports automated driver logs, ensuring compliancy with the latest HOS (Hours of Service) regulations.

Refresh Yourself

Whether you need to update an older temperature monitoring solution or step up to a GPS fleet tracking solution for the first time, you can expect to reduce unnecessary spoilage and save costs with a Webtech Wireless solution that truly fits your needs.

Contact us today. Don’t let your ice cream melt. Call +1 (866) 287 0135 (Option 2) to discuss your fleet challenges and how our GPS/AVL solutions can help you today.

Risky Business

The Risk of Distracted Driving and Guide to Safer DrivingIn the business of helping companies grow, leaders lead and people live more fulfilling lives, an industry has grown up around risk taking. Personal development seminars, sometimes under exotic names such as Riskology, sell the idea that daring risk taking is something that is always desirable. Take for example, these gems of wisdom:

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
—Anais Nin

“Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.”
—Ray Bradbury

“If things seem under control, you are just not going fast enough.”­
—Mario Andretti

But how about this one?

“Almost 1.2 million people die each year due to vehicle accidents caused by distracted driving”
—Ford Motors study

While it may seem a mood killer at a personal development seminar, most fleet managers agree that reducing risk—not increasing it—is serious business. While they are as interested as anyone in growing their business (i.e., taking certain kinds of risks), there are other kinds of risk to avoid, because their avoidance is critical to their successful operations. It’s called risk reduction.

“There are so many unknown losses from accidents. The cost itself can be really bad. Trucks are down, customers are upset, and it is an amplification of a problem.”
—Kevin Bookey, National Foods, Transportation Manager

At Webtech Wireless, we have over a decade of experience helping customers successfully mitigate risk using our GPS/AVL fleet tracking solutions:

Improve Safety

  • In the event of an accident claim against a company vehicle, GPS/AVL reporting data can prove the real location of the vehicle at the time of the accident. Our customer, Steve Troyer of Troyer Ventures, credited the Webtech Wireless Quadrant In-Cab MDT (mobile data terminal) with getting his drivers off cell phones while driving, “Texting dispatch instructions directly to the MDT pad in the truck eliminates misunderstandings, provides safer and more efficient journey management, and also provides documented records of instructions given”.

Reduce Liability

  • As someone responsible for mobile workers, you are at risk whenever they work alone—especially in the hazardous environments common to the oil and gas sector. Without real-time visibility into these workers and how they’re driving, you risk your credibility, your company’s safety reputation, and of course the worker’s wellbeing.

Lower Costs

  • Managing a large fleet of vehicles and drivers is risky and insurers know that. They also know that using telematics to track your fleet reduces your accident rate and they will reward you by reducing your insurance costs—GPS/AVL solutions can help you negotiate a reduction in your insurance premiums, and with proof of reductions in your accident rate, you can use that data to reduce your premiums further.

Want to Reduce Your Risk?

For fleet managers, choosing a telematics solution is a proven way to reduce that risk, because it gives them visibility into the fleet. With that visibility comes knowledge and with knowledge comes the capacity to make informed decisions about their business.

Remember On Tuesday, June 18, 2013 11:00 am to 12:00 pm PST (2:00 to 3:00 pm EST), we are offering a free webinar called “Reducing Business Risk with a GPS/AVL Fleet Management Solution” aimed at reducing risk for your fleet by implementing a GPS/AVL fleet management solution.

  • Identify risks in fleet management
  • Learn how to reduce risk for your drivers
  • Protect your brand reputation
  • Lower operating cost

Enjoy the peace of mind of knowing your operations are running safely.

Join Us!

Making Hay of Story Threads

In the Rumpelstiltskin fable by the Brothers Grimm, a young maiden makes a pact with a gnome to help her fulfill her father’s boast that she can spin hay into gold. It’s this bit of alchemy that reminded me of the many threads that can come together to make a good story.

More than Marketing Bumpf

The challenge in writing an ongoing blog about the same technology (as is the case at Webtech Wireless where I write), is to write about more than just the products and services the company offers. That gets stale really fast. I try to keep it alive by finding interesting threads that tell stories indirectly about the benefits of our goods and services. So, not a direct sell but value given in the vicinity of our goods and services.

For example, my May 23, 2013 blog post, “Fleet GPS: The Needle in the Haystack” brings several seemingly unrelated events together and tells them in a way that reflects favourably on Webtech Wireless’ offerings.

Here are the threads the provided an interesting story about Webtech Wireless’ GPS fleet tracking technology:

  • Recent tornadoes in Oklahoma galvanizing the media’s attention
  • Other severe weather in Oklahoma, drought. Did you know it’s been going on there for three years?
  • Due to drought, the price of hay is going up.
  • As the price of hay goes up, theft of hay bales is on the rise.
  • To counters this, ranchers and farmers are turning to technology in the form of GPS locators placed in hay bales to help track them.
  • A recent article lambastes the perception that Intelligent Communities are always urban. The writer says that rural areas stand to benefit from new technologies.
  • Oh, did you know that our wireless GPS locators are really good for tracking assets to prevent theft and help with recovery?
  • And by the way, several of our clients have been nominated for Intelligent Community awards (here, I rely on SEO to tie this thread in as we have several articles about Ville de Québec and other clients of ours that were nominated).

These stories by themselves don’t relate closely to our products, but put together into a narrative they spin a tale that, if not gold, is a step up from the usual marketing bumpf that plagues many blogs.

Read the article: “Fleet GPS: The Needle in the Haystack

Fleet GPS: The Needle in the Haystack

Fleet GPS: The Needle in the Haystack

While the world has looked on in horror as tornadoes ripped their way across Oklahoma, another type of severe weather—drought—is having a very different impact: Theft. Farmers and ranchers are finding that as the drought continues, hay prices are on the rise and with that, a rise in the theft of hay bales. This is serious business as without the hay, their cattle starve.

Although one part of the state received some rain last week, it appeared in the form of severe weather prompting Mark Svoboda of the National Drought Mitigation Center to say, “A drought really tests your coping capacity.” To protect their agricultural assets, many Oklahoman ranchers are proving they’re meeting the challenge by turning to technology. They’ve installed GPS Locators into their hay bales to help track them in the event of theft.

Putting a GPS locator into a hay bale safeguards it automatically against unauthorized movement. Should it go missing, it can be tracked in real-time (by sending alerts and providing real-time visibility). With this visibility, farmers and ranchers can work with local police to locate wayward assets and retrieve them.

Smart Rural Communities

Back in 1920, 34% of the US population lived and worked in rural areas, but by the end of the century only 2% of American workers made a living there. With the decrease of economic output resulting from decades of population loss, agricultural areas stand to benefit from tools that help businesses do more with fewer workers and tools that help them monitor their assets more effectively.

In describing Intelligent Communities (those that use broadband technologies such as DSL, cable, satellite and wireless to prosper) Robert Bell described the misperception that intelligent communities are only affluent, urban, chic neighborhoods in large cities. While decrying that perception, he looks at rural areas as among the chief benefactors of smart technology. And, in that respect the cattle ranchers of Oklahoma agree with him.

Asset Tracking

Like farmers and ranchers, fleet owners lose sleep not knowing where their assets are. From hay bales to heavy machinery, assets left in the field are at risk of theft. Implementing asset tracking solutions reduces risk, improves productivity, and ultimately saves operating costs.

Partnership Creates Possibilities

Partnership-Webtech-Wireless

At Webtech Wireless, we partner with a range of companies because it helps us focus on our key products and services while offering you a diverse range of solutions.  For example, we have partnered with four of North America most prominent mobility providers to ensure you have the widest area of cellular coverage and that includes cross-border (US and Canada) coverage.

We also have resellers and distributor partners that sell our products and services and specialize in solutions for commercial and government fleet markets. Our OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partners embed our hardware products within their products, and leverage the software services we provide to develop and sell a combined offering to their customers.

While we have many partners, this story focuses on profiling three of our partners who have recently provided important integrations:

In-Cab Navigation from ALK Technologies

We partnered with ALK Technologies to bring enhanced in-cab navigation and routing capabilities to our MDT 3100 and Quadrant Manager. ALK CoPilot is an industry-leading truck-specific GPS routing solution designed to provide reliable navigation on truck-legal roads while keeping drivers safe. Fully integrated into the MDT 3100, drivers can seamlessly switch between Hours of Service and navigation.

Fuel Card Integration from FleetCor

We partnered with FleetCor because its fleet card products provided fuel card integration with Quadrant Manager. FleetCor is one of the global leaders in fleet fuel cards and this integration made it easier for our customers to better manage their fleets. For example, data from FleetCor and Quadrant Manager can be used to easily discover discrepancies between the location of fuel purchases and the location of vehicles.

“FleetCor fuel cards provide visibility into when fuel purchases were made and Webtech Wireless provides the location of the vehicle at the time of purchase. It makes the information trail complete for the fleet manager”, says Andrew Paul, VP Commercial Sales.

Traffic Scorecard Reporting from Inrix

“Death, taxes and traffic are often called the three certainties of life”, according to Inrix and, with the ability to provide traffic data points numbering in the trillions, Inrix has shown that it can handle at least the traffic part of the equation. Inrix has carved out a niche for itself as one of the pre-eminent providers of traffic data. What that means our customers is that we can offer utilize that data to increase the profitability and safety of companies operating fleets on busy roads and highways. For example, Coach Canada uses Quadrant reports that rely on Inrix data to ensure its drivers are driving safely. In particular, they can now report on the length of time the vehicle traveled beyond a pre-defined speed and driving behavior issues such as hard breaking or sharp accelerations, indicators of potential dangerous behavior by drivers.

Coach Canada, a leading Canadian commercial bus line, has achieved a variety of internal targets to monitor vehicle speeds, recently announced it had reached and exceeded its safe speed initiative and credited its improvement in overall safety and performance to our Quadrant Manager solution in conjunction with real-time road speed  and posted speed limit data from INRIX®.

Our partnership with Inrix and its successful implementation with Coach Canada have produced some very positive data: “We’ve seen a 90.4 percent reduction in speeding after implementing these Quadrant Features in 2012”.

Partnership Matters

All our partners provide unique solutions that are part of the distinctive GPS fleet management solutions we provide. We’re always expanding the products we offer and our partnerships play a key role in making this possible. For more information on our partners, please email us at info@webtechwireless.com.

Mississauga Brings Winter Smarts to APWA

City of Mississauga plows
Images courtesy of City of Mississauga

Today marks the first day of spring and, with winter storms still ravaging the continent, most North Americans want to put winter firmly behind them. But for some, winter endures in relatively balmy Charlotte, North Carolina, host city to this year’s American Public Works Association (APWA) Snow Show. On April 7, more than 1,500 “snowfighters” will descend on Charlotte for four days of networking, technical tours, and educational programs. For those attending, one highlight not to miss is hearing Bob Levesque’s success story from the City of Mississauga’s Works Operations department. I phoned Bob to get a sneak preview into the issues he’ll be describing in Charlotte.

Risk Mitigation is Foresight

City of Mississauga sidewalk plow
Bob shows me a picture of a sidewalk plow. It looks like an ordinary urban winter scene in Ontario—a plow, a parked car, a small brick fence by a neighbour’s front yard. Bob sees much more than I do. “If the plow operator isn’t careful”, Bob points out, “he or she could shred the side of the car at the curb”. Then he points out that the neighbour’s decorative brick fence is encroaching on City property and that there are other unknown hazards hidden in the snow.

There are other types of liability too. In the days before Works Operations had implemented their InterFleet GPS/AVL solution (2010), it was very difficult to prove that the department had plowed a street to standard in the event of a complaint or a law suit. “Now we have hard data,” Levesque says, underscoring a certain level of shared responsibility between the City and its residents to take care in winter conditions. “Citizens have to dress appropriately for winter conditions, and we have to provide due diligence in keeping a minimum standard for cleared roads and sidewalks.”

He cites another time when he received a call from the police department about a particularly icy hill. Bob was able to respond immediately by dispatching a salter truck to the hill, thereby preventing a car pile up. With several more examples, Bob convinced me that the best use of a GPS/AVL winter maintenance solution is foresight—knowing what’s going on in real-time allows Operations to make better and quicker decisions about situations before they escalate.

“Our goal is to catch a missed street and dispatch a plow there even before it gets back to the yard.”
­—Bob Levesque, Operations, City of Mississauga

Faster than a Speeding…Snow Plow?

Everyone wants his or her street plowed first and fast, and that puts a lot of pressure on Public Works departments. It comes as something of a surprise then that one of complaints plow operators get is speeding snow plows! Bob attributes this to an optical illusion created by a truck with its plow blade down, “It may be going only 25 mph, but it appears to be going much faster”.  He also describes that the salt controller is attached to the speedometer, so a genuinely speeding snow plow would leave an erratic trail of salt in its wake (perhaps the source of citizen complaints?). Nonetheless with GPS/AVL, the department has speeding covered too as InterFleet can provide reports showing vehicle speeds along routes.

Winter Light Up

Before next winter, Bob plans to take advantage of InterFleet’s Winter Light Up program to ensure that fleet and drivers are ready to go for next year. “Getting prepared ahead of time is going to help in the long run”, says Levesque. Aside from the usual readiness preparations needed after a long hot summer—plows ready, drivers retrained, contractors engaged, and so on—there are sometimes unexpected surprises. “Last year we had a plow reporting in from somewhere in Europe”, Bob says adding that older vehicles are sometimes sold at auctions over the summer months and this one had apparently gone overseas with its Locator still installed. I’m just thinking, “now that, I want to see on a map—with breadcrumbs”.

Come Down to Charlotte for the Snow

City of Mississauga - Bob LevesqueIf you’re attending the APWA Snow Show in Charlotte, make sure you catch Bob Levesque’s presentation, Reducing Liability and Improving Winter Operations Using a GPS/AVL Solution.

Exceeding Speeding Expectations

Sarah_Coach-CanadaWhen Coach Canada decided to really put its Webtech Wireless Quadrant solution to the test, it never expected the data on speeding to exceed expectations. Coach Canada prides itself in its commitment to providing safe and reliable scheduled and chartered bus services throughout Ontario and Quebec as well as service via third-party carriers to New York City and beyond.

Ensuring its passengers a safe ride is key to its success, so having visibility into individual bus speeding information is likewise important. “The number one benefit of Quadrant for us is the ability to verify speed”, says Sarah Pridie, Operations Clerk in charge of driver and fleet monitoring at Coach Canada.

Speeding is Serious Business

Speeding is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes. According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NHTSA), “In the US, the annual economic cost to society of speeding-related crashes is $40.4 billion”. Furthermore, research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that “when speed limits were raised by many states in 1996, travel speeds increased and motor vehicle fatalities went up significantly on Interstate highways in those states”.

Driver Behavior

For Coach Canada, safety assurance through speeding prevention is the best remedy it can offer. Coach Canada has undertaken a pro-active stance to ensure its drivers comply, first, with posted speed limits; and second, with company speed limits (sometimes its standards are more stringent than those enforced by highway authorities).

But rather than be authoritarian, pro-actively enforcing speed limits in real-time with its drivers is, if not welcomed, certainly respected. “We have had drivers thank us for enabling the MDT Speed Alert beep as an added safety measure for them and their passengers”, says Pridie who monitors driver behavior through Quadrant reports.

Key Quadrant Benefits for Coach Canada

  • MDT speeding alerts beep to indicate to drivers when they’re exceeding speed limits.
  • Two Quadrant reports provide the data Sarah needs to ensure Coach Canada’s drivers are driving safely:
    • Speeding Duration report – Uses Vsend configuration to capture length of time the vehicle traveled beyond a pre-defined speed.
    • Driver Performance report – shows data from all vehicles and highlights driving behavior issues such as hard breaking or sharp accelerations, indicators of potential dangerous behavior by drivers.

How does Sarah and Coach Canada know they’re getting ahead of speeding? According to Sarah, “Management treats it [speeding] seriously and so do drivers”. Then she adds matter of factly, “We’ve seen a 90.4 percent reduction in speeding after implementing these Quadrant Features in 2012”.

An Ounce of GPS Prevention

CalVans

For CalVans (California Vanpool Authority), success is not measured by how it makes the news, but from its successful avoidance. While the Media may feast on stories of accidents and negligence, CalVans relaxes in the knowledge that “No news is good news”.

Originally established in 2001 with just one van, CalVans was since grown to more than 200 vanpools designed for the unique needs of commuters, students, and farm workers. By providing a cost-effective and convenient alternative to commuter driving, while meeting the needs of the State’s environmental and transportation needs, CalVans is a vital part in a growing community transportation network.

Using Webtech Wireless’ GPS/AVL tracking is part of what makes CalVans a no-news success story, because it helps prevent accidents, theft, and other bad news from filling the papers:

  • Drivers, passengers, and all users of the road are safer because drivers are alerted in real-time when they speed, and speeding reports help CalVans monitor its drivers.
  • Through theft prevention and driver authentication, insurance premiums are kept low.
  • By providing an alternative to California’s notorious highway gridlock while helping to reduce C02 emissions, CalVans qualifies for State grants and other funding.
  • Fleet vehicles last longer because the Webtech Wireless Maintenance Portal enables CalVans to pro-actively monitor engine status and schedule van maintenance.

Navigating the Digital Oil Field

Digital-Oil-Field

With supplies of easy oil running low, oil and gas companies are increasingly turning to technology to help them get the most out of the extraction process.  Around the world, energy companies are advancing the limits of digital oil field technology, a recently coined term to describe this emerging segment of the industry.

The “digital oil field” describes computer technology deployed to automate oil and gas extraction, and it’s given a lot of attention for good reason. The digital oil field is worth a lot of money. According to Booz & Company, a leading global management consulting firm, “digital oil field technologies could increase the net present value of oil and gas assets by 25%”. The global digital oil field market is estimated to be worth $18.7 billion and is forecast to reach $33.3 billion by 2022.

Digital oil field technology aids a wide array of Oil and Gas activities from exploration, surveying, development, and well completion to data integration of seismic imaging, drilling, process completion, reservoir modeling, and production optimization. This information is then fed to data centers in real-time, allowing experts in the industry to optimize production and minimize downtime.

While not generally included within the description of digital oil field technologies, telematics operates on the same principle—making better business decisions because you have the data to show where your vehicles are and what your drivers are doing in real-time. For example, with an automated tool for tracking vehicle whereabouts, IFTA fuel-tax information is gathered automatically and therefore accurately and these accuracies save you substantial revenue from higher taxes. Also, you don’t miss out on additional savings if you operate in jurisdictions in which offer off-road usage earns fuel-tax credits.

Operationally, you can maximize your resources as we have proven by doubling efficiency at
Troyer Ventures. And as data accumulates over time, your ability to budget and forecast improves exponentially because you have accurate and historical data at your fingertips.