Just as costly electricity waste abounds in the datacenter and on the desktop, fuel waste is an ongoing problem on highways and city streets. Every day, organizations of all sizes send out delivery trucks, service vehicles, passenger cars and vans, and the like -- but there's little they can do to prevent fuel-wasting activities such as speeding, prolonged idling, or unscheduled side trips (whether that means getting lost or going for a joyride). Wasted fuel translates not only to wasted money, but also excess wear and tear on vehicles and a larger carbon footprint for environmentally conscious companies.
Fortunately, GPS and wireless technology have sufficiently matured to enable vehicle tracking and fleet management technology. By equipping vehicles with devices for tracking, navigation, and communication, organizations can pinpoint the whereabouts of all of the vehicles in their fleet on a real-time basis and communicate with drivers to ensure they're adhering to their schedules and routes or to notify them of jobs when they arise. Moreover, these systems can help companies track data such as fuel consumption, fuel efficiency (average miles per gallon), vehicle speed, and maintenance needs.
One established player in this space is Navman Wireless, which is based in Chicago with offices worldwide. The company has 7,500 customers around the globe, ranging from local governmental agencies and SMBs with modestly sized fleets to large companies managing fleets state- or countrywide. According to Renaat Ver Eecke, vice president at Navman Wireless North America, the company's installed base has doubled in the past couple of years -- thanks in part to the gas-price spike in 2008 when the average price per gallon in the United States exceeded $4.
A core component of Navman's solution is the Qube GPS Tracking Device. Once installed, it provides the vehicle's real-time GPS location and tracks data such as location, speed, direction, stops, entry and exit to specific areas, as well as time and date. Via a GPRS-approved AT&T wireless network or a CDMA-approved Verizon Wireless Network (depending on which Qube model you buy), the Qube communicates with Navman's hosted OnlineAVL 2 GPS Fleet Management software.