Two-Way Radio Over Cellular

T-Mobile Network Coverage for Two-way Radio over cellular POC vs PTT

Two-Way Radios Make a Comeback For Good Reason

Many service and construction companies miss the two-way radio service of the old days when Nextel push-to-talk (PTT) provided instant communication.  As a result, when Nextel PTT was no longer available, dispatchers were dismayed at being forced into expensive cell phones. The good news is…it’s back…but better.

Finally, push-to-talk is back as push-to-talk over cellular (POC). Certainly, the obvious advantage is the coverage offered by cellular carriers, and the roaming agreements between them. Instant connections between Florida and California are reliable and efficient. You can broadcast to a single person or to a large group.  In contrast, traditional two-way radios have a limited working distance.  Also, they rely upon expensive infrastructure that must be installed and maintained. With POC two-way radios, the signal is already in place and the cellular carriers maintain it.

Finally, POC is not for everyone because they don’t do everything smart devices do.  For instance, if a company uses a smart phone to collect signatures or payment in the field, a two-way radio simply won’t work. An estimated 40-50% of all cell phone users today use their expensive smart phone for simple voice communication. In these scenarios there are major benefits to switching to two-way radios over cellular networks.

Two-Way Radio Benefits

  • Low cost, flat rate monthly bill
  • Nationwide coverage
  • Instant connection
  • Works on Wi-Fi or cell network (no radio to radio direct link)
  • GPS location and history for past 24 hours
  • Voice files are stored for 24 hours for review
  • App available for Android (iOS coming)
  • Direct connect between radio, app and dispatcher software on PC
  • 2 year warranty
  • IP-55 rated radio resistant to water and dust

 

Read more about PoC Two-Way Radio

GPS Accuracy

Location Accuracy

The advertised location accuracy of most GPS trackers less than 3 meters. Accuracy can vary outside this standard deviation based on environmental factors such tree cover, tall buildings, GPS antenna used, device engineering and GPS device install location.

 

GPS-Accuracy-Comparison

Speed Accuracy

Speed accuracy is something we do not put a lot of thought into but speed accuracy can vary quite a bit. The GPS tracker and the GPS on your phone is more accurate than the speedometer on your vehicle. The older the vehicle, the less accurate the speedometer is. Speed is significantly impacted by changing the factory tire size. Wear changes the tread depth and size of a tire over time. An old tire is not as large as a new tire so the axle spins faster giving a false speed.

To determine speed accuracy from the GPS tracking map, scroll your mouse over the map route leading up to the speeding incident if you are using Geotab. Other GPS trackers will not be as accurate and do not have as much data. If the vehicle speed gradually increases, it is valid data. If the speed jumps from 40 to 85 with nothing in between, it would be difficult to hold a driver accountable for this because data is missing between these two points.

 

Posted Road Speed (PRS) Accuracy

Posted road speed varies from super accurate based on Fleetistics testing, to occasionally not so accurate. It is far more accurate than it was 5 years ago. I have driven past speed limit signs and watched the data change in Waze within feet. Generally, the more populated the area, the more accurate the data because there is a greater chance someone will submit a correction or from mapping cameras that frequent these areas more often. PRS is only as accurate as the data provided by the government, data that is submitted by citizens or AI, and the data set selected by the GPS tracking company. Cameras with artificial intelligence are helping reduce the time between a speed change, or new sign going in, and the time until it enters the data set. Citizens can submit corrections to the mapping companies which will be included fairly quickly. I submitted a road through the heart of Tucson, AZ to OpenStreetMaps and it was updated quickly which eliminated a lot of speeding exceptions. A submission to Google was live within two days. Highway speeds and primary surface roads are generally very accurate but it can vary by state.

In short, you have to validate exceptions.

 

Employees

Often times employees will claim the GPS is incorrect. Performing the two tests below will give you the confidence that the GPS is more accurate than the employees description. If you have to, do the test in the vehicle with the employee. If the GPS tracker is off, and it happens occasionally because of external factors, the deviation is typically so great it is obvious. Since 2001 Fleetistics has not seen a situation when the deviation is consistently X and you cannot tell something is wrong. The deviation is generally 30x and the vehicle plots in the ocean or 250 miles away for 1 or 2 data points, the speed goes to 321 MPH to cover this distance and then the plot comes back to the expected route. This is typical of a reflected GPS signal most often seen going under an overpass. Most of the time the GPS device filters this data because it cannot be valid. If the track follows the road, the data is accurate. Accuracy is one of Geotab’s strongest features.

 

Accuracy Testing

Below are two tests you can conduct to get a feel for the accuracy for a particular vehicle. The question is what is the business case where the accuracy is in question?

 

  1. Speed Test: Set the speed buzzer on your Geotab GPS device at 70 MPH and take a drive. Open WAZE and view the speed Waze indicates you are traveling and compare it to your speedometer. Waze will be more accurate reading because it is not impacted by tire size and other environmental factors. This will determine your speedometers margin of error. Increase your speed at a normal rate until you reach the speed set on your Geotab device. When the buzzer goes off compare it to Waze and your speedometer. You will now know the margin of error for the Geotab device in relation to your speedometer.
  2. Location Test: Park your vehicle in a particular parking space. Open Geotab, change to satellite view and see if your vehicle is plotted correctly. This will show the accuracy. Below is the picture from my truck today. It is showing the correct parking space and even the GPS being on the left side of the parking space. I would estimate this is within 2 feet of the actual GPS location inside my truck.

GO9 Technical Specifications

Speed Graph

Trailer Load Balancing

Trailer Load Balancing For Safety

Trailer load balancing is important to understand because it is crucial to achieving a properly loaded trailer.  We have all seen an overloaded trailer rolling down the highway at some point. Tree trucks, roofing materials, carpets, rock or tile and large boats all come to mind for unsafe trailer loading.  Always remember, balance will make a huge difference in vehicle safety and stability and the end result is a safer, more comfortable ride.

 

Be safer by training employees to ensure properly loaded trailers.

Unbalanced loads are listed as the #3 towing risk according to the popular website How Stuff Works.  The #1 towing risk cited is swaying.  Sway primarily happens because of poor trailer load balance, so if you plan to tow, learn what you need to know about trailer load balance before you load.

 

Trailer load balance with Sherp

Fleetistics Sherp Properly Loaded on Trailer

 

This dramatic video shows the importance of properly trailer load balancing. The effect of placing the majority of the load behind the trailer axle can dramatically impact handling. One might think that putting the load forward of the trailer tires would spread the load between the trailer and the truck but the impact on steering handling is a dangerous consequence.

 

The video is great continuing education content and is only a few minutes long. It is a real eye opener to the impact of improper loading. At the same time you can review trailer inspections, tongue weight, DOT regulations and maintenance.

 

Learn more about GPS trailer tracking

National Safety Council Training

Do you have a suspended out of state license?

 

Have you recently moved to Florida but had your license suspended from the previous state you lived in? If so, you may be required to take an in person Defensive Driver Course. The good news is that we are certified to teach the National Safety Council 8/6 Defensive Driving Course (NSC DDC).

We understand this is not on the top of your priority list, so we make it as fun and enjoyable as possible. We help you acquire the skills and knowledge you need to drive defensively as well as recognize the common hazards in the driving environment and how to react to prevent collisions. Did you know that the single most common cause of motor vehicle collisions is improper driving and of that, 53.5% of crashes are due to driver error?

The “What If” Strategy that we cover helps you stay mentally alert by recognizing a hazard and having an appropriate defense against it. Driver physical conditions are covered as well including age, mobility, hearing, vision, illness/use of medication and fatigue/drowsiness. Did you know that 90% of your sensory input is vision?

You can view more information regarding the course by clicking here. We are conveniently located in the NE corner of the Tampa Bay area. You’ll receive your certificate of completion the day you take the course. If you have any questions, or would like to sign up, feel free to give us a call between the hours of 8am-5:30 pm, Monday through Friday at: 877-467-0326, option 4.

Class Schedule & More Details

Covert Tracker Placement

Covert Tracking Device Placement

 

It is important to think through where you place a GPS tracker on a vehicle or asset for covert tracking. The location may vary depending on the goal being

GO Rugged Asset Tracker by Geotab

GO Rugged Asset Tracker by Geotab

vehicle recovery due to theft or cover tracking for investigative reasons. Covert tracking may be tracking the vehicle or tracking a package in a law enforcement scenario. Covert vehicle tracking is likely focused on recovering an expensive piece of equipment such as a bulldozer.

Covert tracker placement for tailing a vehicle or determining movements generally means accessing a vehicle very quickly in a public place. If you are fortunate enough to have access to a vehicle for a longer period of time in a private setting, you have a lot of options for GPS tracker placement. Since this is the exception, this post will focus on the covert tracker placement in a public setting. Learn more about covert tracking devices here.

All vehicles are made differently but most newer vehicles contain a lot of plastic which allows for good GPS reception. Metal will block a GPS signal from getting to a GPS tracker but with a little thought, this is not an issue. Modern GPS antennas work significantly better than antennas 10 years ago. Testing placement on your car(s) is the best way to get a good idea of what works and what does not. Since you have a limited time to place a device covertly, consider these variables.

  1. Place the unit where the driver or maintenance people are not likely to go. If the car is a piece of junk with bad tires, place the GPS unit near the spare tire may result in discovery.
  2. Do not place it where a mechanic may easily see it. If you place it near the oil drain plug, a technician may find it when doing an oil change.
  3. If the vehicle is low to the ground, do not place it on the bottom of the frame or a surface where it may be scrapped off going over a speed  bump.

One of the best places to locate a covert GPS tracker is on the vertical edge of the frame about mid vehicle. There are not any parts in this area that would prompt the driver to look in this area or go to this area for a maintenance issue. Another place is on the inside lip of a plastic bumper. An all metal bumper may cause issues because it is metal on three sides. You should be ready to place the device in a location that may not work with a magnet. This means a strap of some type to hold it in place. Do not count on wedging in place and it staying put. With a vehicle vibrating thousands of times per mile, the GPS tracker will always come loose.

If you have more time to install a tracker for vehicle theft recovery you have a few more options but challenges still persist. The good part is you can test the tracking performance before the equipment or asset leaves the shop. “Yellow iron” is called such because of the general steel and durable construction. This construction means there are fewer locations to place the GPS unit. In general look for soft spots or plastic to hide the GPS device. The drivers cab is a common place to start. The cab may offer a soft seat or plastic instrument panel where the tracker can be hidden. The goal is to make it hard enough to find that a thief cannot find it easily at the job site and remove it before leaving. Once the vehicle is off the site, the clock is ticketing to recover the equipment. A lot of equipment ends up at a chop shop where it is disassembled quickly, put into cargo containers and sold for parts in other countries.

To learn more about covert vehicle tracking click here.

 

Covert Tracker for Assets