Tech Spotlight: Fleet Management Double Play

July 10, 2014
Use GPS technology to help you manage your customers’ — and your own — vehicles

It is a common refrain among consumers in today’s technology heavy world: “How did I ever get by without my…“smartphone?” or “DVR?” or “tablet?” Here’s another one: GPS.

Global Positioning Systems have been a tool of convenience for several years thanks to their ability to direct weary road warriors to their next destination. What started out as something that people only used when driving in a strange city became commonplace as more smartphone GPS apps popped up. Now, consumers use the technology every day for tasks like searching for new routes to work when traffic is bad.

The rise in use of GPS presents a natural opportunity for security professionals to expand their offerings, given that awareness of one’s environment — a core tenant of security services — is the primary value proposition being offered. The ability to know exactly where someone or something is enables organizations and homeowners to be more proactive about their safety and security. In particular, adding remote surveillance through GPS asset and vehicle tracking services is an effective way for security dealers to expand their portfolios.

Asset tracking capabilities allow dealers to provide an easy solution for tracking fixed or mobile belongings from any remote location. Vehicle tracking, on the other hand, is a more traditional use of GPS technology that enables users to keep tabs of specific vehicles, down to the exact routes, speeds driven and timing of movements. These applications can be useful in both residential and commercial settings — not to mention your own business operations.

The added value extends far beyond practical security. Knowing the physical locations of people and property in real time can also be a business advantage for certain commercial end-users. And in all cases, it presents another ongoing monitoring service that can positively impact the bottom line for businesses, and peace-of-mind for homeowners. And that of course, means more RMR opportunities and stickier customers for dealers.

Helping Businesses See Everything, Everywhere

GPS vehicle tracking technologies are a convenient, cost-effective and easy way for companies to do a number of things, including: recover missing vehicles, keep tabs on company cars and employees, and be more aware of service routes and whereabouts of staff in order to optimize business responsiveness and in the end, save time and money. This is especially effective and useful for commercial customers.

Technology such as Honeywell Total Connect GPS Vehicle Tracking enables businesses to view locations of one or more vehicles at any time. Businesses can use this visibility to boost customer relations by responding more quickly to inquiries, complaints or requests for service. Of course, it is easy to see how this technology can help security dealers and integrators coordinate and track technicians and truck rolls.

GPS asset trackers gather location information from satellites and provide real-time tracking information — including on-demand and historical data — to any enabled device with internet access. This type of GPS technology is ideal for assets like trailers, shipping containers and construction equipment that are typically on a set travel schedule. Using geofencing capabilities, end-users can set boundaries that define allowable movement of assets. When these boundaries are crossed, a notification is sent to the system control center and the appropriate management or administrators are alerted and can move quickly to determine the cause. In the event of a theft or unauthorized use of a company asset, this feature is intrinsic to quickly recovering the vehicle and in reporting instances of theft to authorities.

Acadian Monitoring Services, a security systems dealer based in Lafayette, La., has been testing out GPS vehicle and asset tracking systems, including Honeywell technology. Acadian finds that while GPS capabilities are compelling as standalone products, the solutions become even more powerful when used in concert with other security, home and building automation systems/platforms. “Our customers have come to expect convenience when adopting new security technologies,” says Acadian’s Kristin Hebert. “Often the last thing any end-user wants is to have to manage another device from another user interface. Honeywell’s offering is easy to use and can be managed from an interface that customers are already using to control other connected systems.”

Honeywell’s GPS services connect directly to Honeywell Total Connect Remote Services to provide an integrated look at automation, security, video surveillance and now GPS tracking information. Users can access all data across integrated systems, from one common user interface or remotely from any device with internet connection.

Businesses can track expensive commercial or industrial equipment and managers have transparency to know where all tracked items are, at any given time. If any tracked items are moved users receive an alert that the property has been relocated and can quickly alert authorities or follow-up to determine the reason a vehicle or asset was moved.

Another Tool in the Residential Security Arsenal

Families today are in the unprecedented position of caring for aging relatives and their kids at the same time. The situation becomes even more complex when families live far away from another — such as a family who has college-aged children in school out-of-state. It can be difficult to regularly check-in and ensure the safety of loved ones. In addition to distance-related concerns, there is need for older and younger family members to maintain a level of independence. Both groups want to exercise their freedom despite age-related challenges that may impact lifestyle capabilities such as driving habits.

Security-specific GPS vehicle tracking technologies make it easier for families to confidently foster independence while also keeping track of family cars and the teens driving them. GPS technologies with remote access provide a convenient, cost-effective way to monitor teens and elderly relatives.

For those families who maintain a vacation home or travel frequently, GPS monitoring technologies provide peace of mind that property and possessions such as boats, jet skis, snowmobiles or other valuables remain secure even when the family is not at home to keep an eye on them.

Peace of Mind = RMR

There’s perhaps no greater RMR tool for a security dealer than the all-important “peace-of-mind” factor. That is, many home and business owners are more than willing to pay a little extra if the service or technology in question can help eliminate worry about whether something or someone located miles away is safe. GPS fits that bill for its ability to help track those valuable objects (and people) when outside the premises. When it comes to loading up on GPS offerings for customers, end-user needs greatly vary depending on the application, therefore GPS offerings and capabilities should match this variety.

“I recommend security industry dealers look into adopting a mix of GPS offerings so the services are applicable to a variety of customers,” Hebert says. “Commercial end users have different needs than residential; it’s all about finding the right fit.”

No matter which customer signs up for GPS, after installation security dealers continue to play a role in providing ongoing monitoring services of devices. This continuous service is an opportunity to strengthen customer relationships, deliver a more competitive portfolio of products and services and of course, secure new opportunities for RMR.

Dean Mason is Marketing Product Manager for Honeywell Security. To request more information about the company, please visit