Some ROI models are harder to define than others. In the case of a road-sign customer, you really need to dig before tracking your assets saves you more than it costs (which is typically only $15/month).
Here’s what drives ROI in that world (and many like it):
- Daily inventory, as well as any time the asset is moved, once it stops
- Changing sign batteries JUST BEFORE they die (due to solar panels not keeping up in cloudy weather)
- Catching thieves in the act of stealing rechargeable batteries
- Low power and data consumption to keep batteries from being used unnecessarily and to keep costs low
- Backup Battery within the device to report in case of battery theft
- Weatherproof device
First, we set each device to report its location and voltage ONLY once a day in the AM.
Then we detect if the road sign is being moved using a motion detector switch, and once it stops for 15 minutes, we report the NEW location and voltage.
We added several voltage capabilities recently which allow us to meet these requirements.
To help customers visualize their assets’ voltage, we added a new “location and voltage” dashlet which color-codes each vehicle based on its voltage (green/yellow = good, orange/red = bad, grey = really bad). The assets show these colors along with the actual voltage on the map as well, shown below:
Tracking Road Signs
Then we modified our device performance report to add voltage, which is sortable. This report is then scheduled to arrive daily to let the customer know which devices need to be visited with fresh batteries to ensure they don’t stop working — here is that report:
Voltage tracking report
Last, we added a voltage alert which is initiated by the device itself (to save on transmission costs). Any time the voltage drops below 11.7 V (the magic number where the sign has only a few more hours left) the device initiates a transmission, and our alert notifies the right person to go out and change out the batteries. Additionally, if the voltage is ZERO, you know that the asset’s batteries have been disconnected, and if that isn’t due to a worker changing them, it’s a theft in progress (apparently a big problem in this industry as the batteries are very expensive).
Here is that alert within GPS Insight:
Low/No Voltage alert for road sign tracking
This particular customer worked with state troopers to immediately identify a theft in progress, and 4 official-looking individuals in hard hats and road-crew vests were arrested for stealing their competitor’s road sign batteries.
All these things combined really help to drive ROI.
- Fewer road sign outages due to dead batteries (improved customer satisfaction)
- Less time spent changing out batteries proactively before it is necessary (fewer miles/less gas/fewer labor hours)
- Theft prevention and deterrent to future thieves due to immediate arrests
- Automated inventory of highly mobile assets
These voltage capabilities have many other applications in GPS and asset tracking, and are ready for our customers at this point.
Feel free to contact us if you are interested in seeing a more in-depth demonstration of our GPS fleet tracking solution.