Bell looks to bring remote tracking to the masses

Bell Mobility Inc. is looking to make remote tracking more widely available to smaller and mid-sized Canadian businesses with the launch of GoTrax.

GoTrax is a handset-based solution that works through GPS-enabled Bell cellular phones and Rim BlackBerry handheld devices. GoTrax allows a small business to track mobile employees, delivery or service persons both outside of building and within buildings using Assisted GPS.

Assisted GPS uses standard GPS satellite tracking combined with tracking based on cellular towers. Normal GPS tracking uses the myriad of GPS satellites now in orbit to triangulate the location of a person or vehicle that is equipped with a GPS location device. The problem is GPS requires a clear line of site between the GPS-enabled device and the satellites; meaning GPS tracking works great in the open, but cannot work if a person and the device are inside of a building.

Assisted GPS uses cellular towers to make the triangulation for locating a person when using GPS satellites to do so is not feasible. GPS satellites are used by Assisted GPS when such satellite triangulation is possible.

Iain Grant, managing director with the Montreal-based SeaBoard Group, a technology and communications industry research group, said GoTrax is very much the “wave of the future” in bringing remote tracking technology to a wider base of users.

“Existing tracking solutions are great if you want to track railway cars with millions of dollars of inventory in them,” Grant added. “So it does not take much imagination to say that spending a few thousand dollars on a (remote tracking) system to find where those things are is a good investment.”

A problem is that smaller and mid-sized companies often are not able to afford such expensive proprietary remote tracking system.

GoTrax instead works on Bell Mobility’s 1X network and can be added to existing Bell Mobility enterprise accounts for a $10 application fee. It allows companies to leverage existing wireless devices without additional equipment or infrastructure investment, said Fiorenzo Mastroianni, associate director, services development with Bell Mobility in Mississauga, Ont.

Mastroianni added that companies showing the most interest in GoTrax are those with field service technicians, those in the transportation and delivery industry and government services as social workers.

Related links:

Bell aims IP network at smaller, cash-strapped firms

Bell’s new SMB offerings might impress the enterprise

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