I went on vacation recently, and during that time I realized how dependent I have become on GPS applications to find what I am looking for. GPS devices maximize my vacation time by letting me drive less, since by using them, I never get lost. And driving less means I'm living a greener life, too.
GPS devices have crept up on us and become a bigger part of our lives without our really noticing it. My family has GPS in our newer car, which comes up as a pop up screen that talks us through our turns. Lots of us also have it on our iPhone to help find an address or business. Having relied on this really great technology for personal use for over five years now, I am kind of surprised that this is the first year that GPS-based applications are really taking off in our mobile computing business. It is here, it works well, and it does save companies money.
There are three types of GPS applications that are really taking off: navigation services, bread crumbing and real-time location. Navigation services is what we all use in rental cars, and now find in most new cars--an application that helps us find out how to get from point a to point b, or how to find the closest gas station or grocery store.
Bread crumbing is an application that pinpoints stops along a route and drops virtual crumbs along the way. This application is used to analyze where a vehicle has been and learn from it. For instance, can we find a better route next time, why did we spend so much time at point C, and are we complying with the business rules and logic that the driver has been taught to comply with? Real-time location usually involves fleets of vehicles, and aids dispatchers in routing that fleet in an optimized fashion.
The benefits of GPS-based applications are truly cost-justifiable, and as fuel costs continue to rise, the importance of optimized routing and driving becomes the wise and green-friendly thing to do. With the relative low cost of these applications and the technology required, the ROI on GPS is rapid, often under 12 months or less. With gas price increases and carbon offsets headed our way, it makes sense to start piloting GPS projects for companies who have vehicles or staff driving while at work.
Kurt Thomet has been in the computer industry at all levels for 25 years. He is currently President of Quest Solution.