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Wed 8 Jun 2005 04:00 AM

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Vehicle tracking

Although global positioning system (GPS) is not a new concept, its uptake in the Middle East has been slow.

Al Futtaim Technologies has introduced m-Trak, a web-based tracking system, which can check locations of vehicles. The IT arm of the Al Futtaim Goup of companies will supply and install the MobiApps hardware for enterprises in the Middle East.

“The system will enhance operations through mapping and report generation,” says Vishesh Bhatia, group director (electronics) at Al Futtaim Group.

Although global positioning system (GPS) is not a new concept, its uptake in the Middle East has been slow. While the devices are not mandatory for commercial vehicles in this region, the satellite tracking of vehicles is a common practice in the logistics industry in Europe and the US. Mercedes, for example, already has a GPS system in place.

“It gives the owner of the truck more transparency, monitoring the working time on the road and also the whereabouts of the truck at any given time, which is ideal for planning supplementary loads or deliveries,” says Joachim Heinke, commercial vehicle sales manager for DaimlerChrysler.

The non-availability of location information of mobile assets leads to ineffective planning for businesses and competition is driving the industry to provide value added services. In addition, the increase that majority of hauliers are experiencing in their operational costs means companies are keen to find a way of reducing financial outlay. By tracking and managing vehicles, GPS delivers fleet information in real-time across the geographies, providing precise location information.

“M-Trak combines internet technology, GPS and wireless terrestrial networks such as GSM/GPRS into an affordable fleet tracking and monitoring system, which will enhance the ability of fleet owners to track and manage their fleets,” says Bhatia.

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