MTS announces GPS-based tracking service

A recently-announced location-based service from MTS Allstream should appeal to transportation and logistics companies, according to one industry analyst.

The carrier this week announced GoTrax, a Web-based application which is part of its Locate Services suite. It lets companies locate their employees on an interactive map from a desktop or notebook PC, and can be added to existing customers’ wireless accounts.

“I think the GoTrax service is pretty cool because they can track employees on the Internet,” said Michelle Warren, senior analyst with the London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group. “There are a lot of added benefits to that,” such as the ability to track employees from outside the office, she said. “Many managers would like to know where their employees are at a given time, but it’s more attractive [in industries] with people and machines on the go.”

For example, she said, transportation and freight forwarding companies, in addition to couriers, need to know where their vehicles and packages are. Go Trax, which is also offered by Bell and Aliant, is only available from MTS Allstream in Manitoba where MTS Mobility operates. MTS Mobility service is available to customers outside of the province, but it uses roaming agreements with other carriers.

Warren said there’s a market for this type of tracking technology in remote areas, where companies in the mining, petroleum and forest industries need to know the whereabouts of their people and equipment.

MTS’s Locate Services use Assisted Global Positioning Satellite technology, which uses both the GPS satellites and the cellular towers to pinpoint the location of devices.

Other location-based services available from Canadian wireless carriers include Bell Mobility’s Fleet Freedom, which lets companies track vehicles. Bell Mobility also offers AppLocation Systems, a development platform that can integrate location-based services into enterprise software without requiring custom integration.

Other location-based services announced by MTS Allstream include Seek & Find, which lets parents and caregivers track the location of people’s cell phones and plot them on maps. Location Services also includes No. TAXI, which lets wireless subscribers dial a four-digit number, and be connected to the closest available taxi. MTS Allstream offers No. Taxi in Winnipeg, Brandon, Steinbach, Selkirk, Dauphin and The Pas.

Warren said location-based services are becoming more popular among wireless subscribers but some people don’t like to be under surveillance all the time. “It’s a cloudy market because there’s a lot out there and people are becoming more and more interested, but there are some privacy concerns.”

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