To make room for 4G and 5G technology offering faster speeds and enhanced features, the 3G networks are being phased out. All of the pandemic and election drama we experienced in 2020 took our attention away from the coming transition, but technology marches on, with us or without us. Now is the time to be making plans for upgrading your 3G systems.
FREE GPS DEVICE WITH SERVICE TRANSFER
When Will it Happen?
It is hard to identify a definitive drop dead date for 3G because network upgrades get done in phases. Depending on where you are it could come a little sooner, or a little later, but the 3G sunset is definitely coming. Early adoption of 4G and 5G products will give you access to the faster speeds and enhanced capabilities, while waiting until the last minute could leave you without services.
For example, Verizon originally planned for 3G CDMA devices to sunset by the end of 2020, but later delayed the shut down by a year, now . Still, in some areas like East Texas, the 3G CDMA network is no longer viable. Additionally, an internal document acquired by Android Police indicates that T-Mobile has an aggressive timeline in place that will affect some 3G devices on their network starting early this year. After researching the subject, we found that the general consensus is by early next year, you definitely need to have 4G or 5G systems in place.
Planning for the 3G sunset now gets you ahead of the game. We have resources available to help you to prepare, and upgrade programs in place to mitigate the financial impact. We even have a special limited free device promo for new customers that are transitioning from another GPS provider, so be sure to share this with friends and business associates that are using other platforms.
MyGeotab release 2004 preview notes were published on October 23. It seems like we just announced the updates for MyGeotab release 2003 and the 2004 release is already upon us. Time flies! Here are just the highlights of what’s coming.
Much of what you will see below is only available in feature preview. To select the feature preview option, follow the instructions at this link (click here). Also, we thought it far too much to throw at you all at once, so we are sharing just our favorites. To see it all, including updates to the SDK, just visit the Geotab Blog.
New MyGeotab UI Design
Much has been redesigned in the look and feel of the user interface. The new and improved design focuses on drawing the eye to the important areas of the page. It uses simple and clean colors and fonts. The navigation icons have been redesigned to focus on the meaning behind each symbol. Color is used to clearly indicate the currently selected item. Buttons and components have been updated to be more intuitive and to follow modern patterns. The new design is ready to be used immediately with no re-training required.
Areas where you will see these design changes are the dashboard, vehicles page, users, zones, speed profile, trailers, groups, system settings, rules and rules edit, DVIR pages, customer visits, map and trips history, routes, help guide, custom reports, risk management, and engine measurements. That’s almost everywhere! Please let Geotab know what you think of the new changes by filling out this feedback survey.
Do you prefer to receive a notification your scheduled report is available instead of an email attachment? For customers who have security in mind, there is a new setting available. In System Settings > Privacy Settings, there is now an option that allows you to choose whether or not you want to receive your reports as email attachments. You can choose between receiving an email with an attachment or just a notification with instructions on where to go in MyGeotab to download it. There is also a new option in the upper right corner to select My Reports.
Area Activity Search in MyGeotab Release 2004
Have you ever needed to investigate what happened in a particular area over a specific period of time? Perhaps you got a call from someone saying one of your drivers did not pick up a load last Friday at 4pm? Now you can easily search on the map when this happens. Simply zoom in to the area, click the particular location, select Area Activity, and enter your date and time range. MyGeotab takes you to the Trips History page, where the exact vehicles that were in the area and trips that happened during that time are displayed. Please note that you may need to adjust your zoom level before the Area Activity feature becomes available.
Show Traffic settings
Many users leverage the Show Traffic setting on the live map to better manage their fleet. For ease of use, MyGeotab will now remember if you have turned this setting on the next time you log in.
Adding Vehicles without device serial numbers
You can now add vehicles into the system without a device serial number. Some of the use cases for this feature are:
If you know the vehicle you plan on installing a telematics device in, but don’t have the device yet, you can now add the vehicle into the system. Have everything set up with the appropriate name, groups, license plate, and other information, then add the serial number when the device is received.
When you have assets that you want to do inspections against or set maintenance reminders for, but may not need a telematics device for, those assets can now be added to MyGeotab.
If you are interested in testing this feature, let us know as it is not available by default. Please note that functionality is very limited without a telematics device.
Custom keys for drivers
Third-party keys for drivers can now be added as custom keys in MyGeotab. Simply open the Edit User page and add the key under the Driver tab, or add the key under the same tab when adding a new user.
Select all functionality now checks for applied filters.
Previously, when using the select all functionality on relevant pages, such as Vehiclesand Users, the system did not check for applied filters. Finally, the change was made to apply any filters chosen on the page when performing bulk actions such as editing.
MyGeotab Release 2004 no need to know database name to reset password
Users no longer need to enter their database name as a part of the reset password process. Most end users were not aware of the database name, so it has been removed as a requirement and replaced by a CAPTCHA form to prevent misuse.
Percentage over speed limit
Some regions of the world assess speeding fines based upon a percentage over the speed limit. You can now choose how you want to monitor speeding based on a value or a percentage.
Ford OEM Telematics leverages a GPS tracking device that comes as standard equipment on new Ford vehicles. Ford, like other OEMs are installing a telematics solution in vehicle prior to delivery. Geotab is establishing relationships with Ford and other OEMs to put the telematics data into the Geotab platform. Geotab is relying on companies like Fleetistics to implement and support fleet customers with either the OEM or Geotab GO device.
In this article we explain the pros and the cons of the OEM approach as well as the Geotab GO device approach. Fleetistics’ mission is to help customers select the best option for their fleet situation without preference or bias.
Who Is Eligible?
There are only a few requirements and if you have additional questions contact Fleetistics at 877-467-0326.
FIN code issued to fleet operator after fleetaccount.ford.com account is setup
Purchase 5 or more Ford vehicles at once
Have more than 15 commercial fleet vehicles in service from any manufacturer. Vehicles on blocks do not count.
Vehicles purchased Q3-Q4 2019 or 2020 with pre-installed telematics
Select Get Started Here or email (reply in 1-2 business days) the name and email of the first account administrator to email@example.com
Navigate to the Vehicles menu. Your deal should have the VIN already entered. If not, contact Fleetistics and we will look into it for you. If you create a temporary user for your Fleetistics account manager, the account mananger can go into your account and do the setup for you.
Add vehicles if necessary. If a FIN code was not available at the time of purchase you will see unverified. You must email proof of ownership to Ford Customer Service (3-7 day turnaround).
Select the vehicles you want to activate telematics service on and choose Add Consent.
Select Geotab as the telematics service provider.
Send a list of VINs which have consent to your Fleetistics account manager so they can be added to your Geotab account. If you are a new customer an account will be created and you will be contacted to schedule training. The login page can be found at www.fleetistics.com/login
Features listed include many optional services that require additional fees. The lists are to demonstrate the general capability and flexibility of each platform. Contact a consultant for more details. 855.300.0527
One of the things users of GPS tracking systems struggle with is alert notifications. That is what you asked for when you deployed your system because alerts were going to solve a lot of problems. The plan was to be on top of everything going on. Soon after you deployed, your cell phone was filled with text messages and your email inbox was overloaded. You knew everything that was going on, but could not get anything done, so out of frustration you just turned those alerts off.
Some of you may not be old enough to remember the old Fletcher’s Castoria commercial from the 1960‘s. It made the phrase “three enough, six too many?” famous. The product was a mild laxative for children, said to be better than prunes because there was no guesswork regarding the dosage. Giving a child too many prunes was something mothers wanted to avoid for obvious reasons. But the right amount was a very good thing.
Similarly, alert notifications from your GPS tracking platform are a great solution to some of the big challenges fleet managers face. At the same time, too many alerts create disaster. With our cell phones constantly alerting us to every little thing we have become numb to the notification sounds and can easily learn to ignore them, or even worse, allow them to distract us unnecessarily. It can even lead to distracted driving!
Managing by Exception
In contrast, if we create rules to uncover the things we want to know, but we don’t get alerts and we don’t schedule reports, we are not getting the full benefit of the system. Your GPS tracking system was designed to save you time and money, not keep you at a desk reviewing everything everyone did. Managing by exception is key. Filter what should not occur to the top of the pile and use the system to find the details that paint the full picture of those events/
The answer is achieving balance using alert notifications and scheduled reports in tandem. Consider what the things are that you really need to know as soon as they occur. If a sewage pump stops pumping, you probably want to be on top of that in a hurry. When a collision occurs and your driver is perhaps unable to call you, that is critical information as well. But, if Billy drives 5 mph over the posted speed limit, we can probably deal with that later.
Keeping it Super Simple
The common denominator is simply deciding which events require immediate action when they occur. If you will stop what you are doing to attend to the situation as soon as you know about it, an alert notification is appropriate. Conversely, if it is just more information that isn’t necessary right now, there is no need to send a notification message. You can digest that kind of information when it is more convenient by using scheduled reports. Scheduled reports will get the same information to you. Moreover, it is condensed with all events for all drivers for a day, a week, or a month, allowing you to separate isolated events from trends and bad habits.
What About Critical Alert Notifications?
When critical alerts are necessary, even 24/7, consider subscribing to Fleetistics Priority Notification Service. PNS uses a round-robin notification process to alert key individuals of critical issues. This occurs outside the noise of the standard GPS service information. Notifications are sent via SMS and then a digital voice call. First, they are sent to the primary person responsible for critical issues. Then, if that person is unavailable due to travel, vacation, cellular coverage, or whatever, the next contact on your list is notified. By including multiple people in the notification process, others are automatically notified when the primary is unavailable. Sign up for a 30-day trial if PNS sounds right for you.
Try Priority Notification Service, or any MyFleetistics service free for 30 days. No contracts! It’s easy, just log into MyFleetistics and go to:
MyFleetistics > Account > Administer Services
Click the button to turn on the service you want. Most services come with a 30-day free trial. Once the service is enabled the free trial automatically begins. The setup fee (if applicable) and monthly service will automatically begin billing after the trial ends, unless you switch the service off using the same button you used to turn it on. Once services are activated your panel will look like this:
There are two primary ways to integrate GPS Tracking data to drive ongoing return on investment. The first, and most often used is analytical integration. Second, and often overlooked is visual integration. Let’s take a look at both.
Application programming interfaces (APIs), allow you to compile data from multiple sources. An API is provided by many GPS vendors. Some vendors add additional fees for their API service and others do not. Likewise, some providers place limits on what data you may access and how frequently you can make requests. In contrast, others make all collected data available and allow more frequent API calls.
Using the API you can integrate data from your GPS tracking system with data from other applications you use. Combining data and directing it into custom reports brings the information you need to the surface. Additionally, you can format and display the data the way you want to see it. We have one client that developed a custom interface to view his tracking data using the API. He does not use the user interface provided with his system at all.
Another great example of analytical integration is the Device Status Table in MyFleetistics. It is integrated with our internal support ticketing. This allows our clients to quickly identify vehicles that have not reported. Additional data indicates if the device is powered. It only takes one click to open a support ticket, and it is all viewed on a single screen.
The Value Proposition
The API allows you to use the data collected by your tracking system in other applications. Location, speed, and duration details add additional value when combined with data from other sources. Some common examples are listed below.
Planned vs actual routes
Identifying customers that have not been visited recently
Isolate stops that were too short or too long based on an associated work order
Understanding on-time vs early or late stops to improve customer service.
Engine status data and faults directed to your vehicle maintenance software ensures all faults are reported. Unsafe driving events reported directly to the applications used by your Safety and HR Departments saves time over entering events manually. More importantly, it ensures safety records are complete and up to date.
You can also use the API to automate tasks. For instance, when a new customer or vendor order is entered, a custom developed application can automate the dispatch by sending a text message through the integrated application. Other examples are syncing customer locations with the closest vehicle when dispatching and assigning training to a driver that has too many unsafe driving events.
Visual integrations allow us to consume more information faster. A quick look at a “heat map” of customer stops speaks volumes. It will quickly reveal a territory that needs another driver assigned as well as an area that has too much staff already committed. Put that side by side with a “heat map” of profit dollars generated and you get a deeper understanding of where it is most valuable for drivers to be.
GIS overlays allow you to see infrastructure in relation to the location of your assets. For a Fire Department, the location of fire hydrants in relation to trucks on the map is very helpful information. Likewise, for an oil well service company, well locations on the tracking map allow dispatch to easily see available assets relative to service locations.
Visual Integration Improved Using a Shapefile Import Tool
For Geotab users, the GIS Shapefile Import Tool allows you to import zones from GIS shapefiles. This creates a zone with the exact perimeter you see in a GIS map overlay. As a functioning zone in Geotab, you can create exception rules for events related to the zone. Examples are entering, exiting, driving too fast inside the zone, stopping too long or not long enough in the zone, and much more.
Both analytical and visual integrations are beneficial in a variety of ways. The key is understanding what pieces of information you have that when combined reveal something more. Think about all of the times you have asked a question and your manager or supervisor responds “I don’t know.” You may want to start keeping a list of those questions because if you are asking, there must be some value in knowing. Starting with a clear question, the sources of information that can be integrated to reveal the answers are easily identified.