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Snow Season Telematics
Every year, snowfall accumulates on over 3 million acres of North America, covering nearly 70% of its population in snow. The effects of this precipitation impact the US with nearly 76,000 people injured in traffic accidents each year. In Canada, 30% of all automobile accidents are specifically attributed to snowfall. Beyond safety, snowy roadways also present a tremendously negative effect on commerce and infrastructure.
To ensure the smallest impact from snowfall, cities and municipalities across North America have been hiring crews to plow and shovel roadways since the 1800s. Try as they might to anticipate and prepare, the unpredictability of mother nature can mean that sometimes no amount of planning can prepare for a winter storm. It is then that trusted snow removal companies may have to hire subcontractors to assist with their operations. It is important for these companies to ensure their subcontractors maintain the same safe work practices that the municipalities would expect from the snow removal companies they hired directly.
GSatTrack is a web-based, integrated satellite and GSM tracking solution, compatible with modern web browsers and works on a multilingual platform that brings together all the positions of every manufactured product under one location and displays and manages them in a single unified interface. With GSatTrack, asset locations and movements - including position, speed, altitude and heading - are tracked in real-time worldwide via GPS updates.
By using GPS satellites with the latest hardware and technology, any asset on earth, whether it's people, vehicles, containers, or any moving object can now be tracked. Our technology allows the integration of all types of tracking equipment into one easy to use platform. The tracking equipment determines its location by triangulating a position using GPS (Global Positioning System) and then transmits this information via GSM, Satellite, or VHF to a central server for processing. Any operator can view and control any number of real time assets simultaneously.
The Customer Situation
Every year, snow removal companies go through a list of operational practices to ensure that they are prepared for the upcoming snow season. Vehicles must be in good working condition, Insurances must be in place, routes require planning, site inspections for proper snow disposal must be reviewed, and ensuring the proper personnel are in place are all minimum expectations that any reputable snow removal company should perform before the season. This was no different for our client who had been using GSatTrack to accomplish some of these tasks for several years.
When the January storm of 2019 hit, Snow blasted down from Colorado through the Midwest, shutting down Missouri and much of the snow belt, stretching through Maine to New Brunswick, Canada. Our client who operated in several Midwest municipalities had to rely on subcontractors to respond to the overwhelming scope of work being presented before them.
Our client had to find several subcontractors to support their business efforts in removing snow for municipalities across the Midwest. The client had gone to lengths to ensure their vehicles were outfitted with dual mode telematics devices that supported routing, in-cab communication, plow status, and vehicle maintenance. It was simply not possible given time restraints and lacking ownership of the subcontractors vehicles to outfit each snow plowing truck with a telematics unit. Still, the data from these trucks was paramount to ensure operational efficiency.
The solution provided would need to be easily installed and later removed, The solution would also need to let our client know where their subcontractors were operating and more importantly when the subcontractors both lowered and raised their plows. Having this information would provide an accurate means of routing subcontractors to sites where they were to operate, and by understanding plow behavior, how long a particular location was taking to clear. The simple plow status information of up or down also verified hours of operation for providing accurate billing.
Preparation and understanding information in order to be able to respond to it in a moment's notice is everything in business. When your business is responding to weather conditions, however, response time is everything. To deal with our clients challenge of providing several easy to install telematics units on their subcontractors vehicles we suggested the SMARTONE-C from Globalstar. Having been integrated with GSatTrack for nearly a decade the SPOTONE-C would provide location information, movement alerts, and allow for easy installation. The unit could be hardwired to the subcontractor’s vehicle, but also supports battery operation if a hardwire installation would prevent effective deployment..
With the SMARTONE-C capable of verifying the open and closed contact state of sensors, when this technology was paired with GSatTrack, our client could understand whether the plow was up or down. This was accomplished in GSatTrack by creating I/O mapping templates that could be associated with all the subcontractors’ units in operation. The I/O sensor template would allow the clients to name the behaviors however they liked. This information could then be used to trigger alerts to notify our direct client when their subcontractors had begun working at a site and were moving on to the next.
Pairing GSatTrack with the SMARTONE-C allowed our client to quickly deploy cost-effective telematics terminals to their subcontractors that operated even in the harshest environments. The subcontractors vehicles could be monitored and managed simultaneously with the telematics units our client was already using on GSatTrack. This created a means by which our client could make informed decisions about where to deploy snowplows from their fleet, as well as when and where to incorporate subcontractors in a meaningful way. The end result was that GSatTrack allowed our client to use technology to address their concerns as a solution rather than being saddled to a singular device or approach to a problem. GSatTrack provides the adaptability necessary to build solutions around whatever the changing environment may bring.