Fire Side Chat: GPS Can Get Your Business Where It Needs to Be

“The units did lower our fuel bills by about 25-30 percent,” says Oberst. GPS also makes it possible to set up a “geo-fence” around a locale that will report when a GPS-equipped vehicle goes beyond it. This feature makes it possible to provide police officers with the geographical location of a stolen vehicle in real-time so it can be retrieved, quite possibly with the goods still intact. In some cases, GPS tracking is fast enough that responding officers can capture those who stole it.

“For example, if a vehicle were to break a fence around a town, the person getting the alert could then call the driver by cell phone or call the police to report a stolen vehicle,” says Fairlamb. “In one example, an electrical company used it to report a stolen vehicle from a jobsite. The driver called the company to report the stolen vehicle. The company called the police and could also locate the vehicle by requesting a current location feature offered on that GPS unit. The police can use the location given to recover the vehicle before everything is stolen or destroyed, and hopefully catch whoever stole it.”

“One of my large oil customers uses it to monitor their fleet of tankers and one of my institutional clients uses it to track their van fleet,” says Markowitz.

Tracking Assets
The same technology is also used by security professionals in tracking goods as they move from one place to another. Because GPS involves worldwide tracking, there are no geographical limitations.

“Alarm companies can and should diversify and offer GPS asset tracking. This is a natural extension of loss prevention that most businesses are concerned with. Alarm systems, fire systems, CCTV systems and access controls are the traditional areas for security companies. All of these are designed to protect assets, whether from destruction, theft or liability. The same is true for GPS asset tracking. GPS units add a layer of security to company vehicles as well as management of these expensive assets,” says Fairlamb.

Through this technology companies can track assets as they move from port to port and terminal to terminal. It sets up an audit trail that enables the client to assure that tampering has not occurred since the goods left its point of origin. According to Fairlamb, there is a good bit of money spent in asset tracking that alarm dealers should cash in on. The net result of all this is a relatively new cottage industry that is ever expanding on a global scale.

About the Author


Shane Clary, Ph.D., is Security Sales & Integration’s “Fire Side Chat” columnist. He has more than 37 years of security and fire alarm industry experience. He serves on a number of NFPA technical committees, and is vice president of Codes and Standards Compliance for Pancheco, Calif.-based Bay Alarm Co.

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