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Satellite communications

DannyD

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I had generally had a negative feeling towards Qualcom & such, mainly because of the cost. My current company uses satellite, though they use Nextel GPS.

For the first month I didn't really see the big deal in it one way or the other. Yesterday though, I was driving thru Tenn. I was driving through Jackson & they told me to stop, as they had a load from there going to Romeo, Mi that they were gonna bid on. We got the run & that right there changed my opinion on satellite. That's a run I wouldn't have had if it wasn't for satellite.

I still think qualcom is a bit pricey if it's at the prices I remember. This is $10/week, which seems reasonable. I'm wondering a couple of things here. Are you generally in favor of or don't care for satellite? Also, what has been your experiences w/ it both good & bad?

Last but not least, if Nextel is $10/week & qualcom is $25 or so/week, why wouldn't a company switch over? I'm guessing there's advantages to qualcom, but I'm not sure what they are.
 

greg334

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Danny,
You got to look at the bigger picture of this, not just about the money even though a lot of these companies are making a good chunk of change off of the owner.

See Qualcomm has a lot more to do with fleet management than just looking for trucks to stick loads on. For the most part, they offer the services like IRP records, logging and so on as part of the packages they offer to the carriers. Now when you look from the van's point of view, is doesn't make sense to have that dome on the top of the truck but with a fleet that has say 300 vehicles - 100 vans and 200 trucks, it would make more sense to put it on all of the vehicles to get the price break at the same time manage everything equal.

Nextell would be great for the company with only vans and that has actually trained their dispatchers to be dispatchers and not call center cooridantors but alas, in this business I haven't many like that.
 

DannyD

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Thanx Greg,

That was the angle I was looking for. There had to be a reason that they'd stick w/ QC if Nextel was so much cheaper. I just wasn't sure what it was. Hence the Q.
 

Dakota

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Ceva uses the Nextel GPS, correct me if I'm wrong, but if you have no signal then they can't track you.
I believe qualcomm tracks you everywhere unless your in a tunnel.
 

davekc

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Qual-comm is a profit center for the carriers unless they charge roughly $12.00 per week for the unit. Anything above that is profit.
 

layoutshooter

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Retired Expediter
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Ceva uses the Nextel GPS, correct me if I'm wrong, but if you have no signal then they can't track you.
I believe qualcomm tracks you everywhere unless your in a tunnel.

Sometimes we lose Clink in the canyons of NYC or Utah. Vertical mountains with heavy tree cover can cause a lose of signal too.
 

cheri1122

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I had generally had a negative feeling towards Qualcom & such, mainly because of the cost. My current company uses satellite, though they use Nextel GPS.

For the first month I didn't really see the big deal in it one way or the other. Yesterday though, I was driving thru Tenn. I was driving through Jackson & they told me to stop, as they had a load from there going to Romeo, Mi that they were gonna bid on. We got the run & that right there changed my opinion on satellite. That's a run I wouldn't have had if it wasn't for satellite.

Couldn't dispatch have simply called your cellphone, like mine does? :confused: Assuming, of course, that they know where you are...[mine does.]
 

layoutshooter

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I had generally had a negative feeling towards Qualcom & such, mainly because of the cost. My current company uses satellite, though they use Nextel GPS.

For the first month I didn't really see the big deal in it one way or the other. Yesterday though, I was driving thru Tenn. I was driving through Jackson & they told me to stop, as they had a load from there going to Romeo, Mi that they were gonna bid on. We got the run & that right there changed my opinion on satellite. That's a run I wouldn't have had if it wasn't for satellite.

Couldn't dispatch have simply called your cellphone, like mine does? :confused: Assuming, of course, that they know where you are...[mine does.]
I think that all cell phones now have GPS on them as a matter of law. If I remember correctly that law was passed to aid 911 ops in finding emergency calls. I remember that law was pushed hard by ambulance and rescue squads.
 

cheri1122

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GPS has nothing to do with it - I tell them where I am, when I'm leaving, where I'm going, etc.
And they trust me - what a concept!!!

 

Brisco

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Ceva uses the Nextel GPS, correct me if I'm wrong, but if you have no signal then they can't track you.
I believe qualcomm tracks you everywhere unless your in a tunnel.
The Nextel GPS-Phone-2 Way system is monitored 2 ways. The "GPS" app on the hand-held unit connects to satellites that track you all over the country. The "Phone-2 Way Service" connects to Cell Phone Towers. If you are in a "dead-cell" area and have no signal, your company may not be able to call you or beep you, but they can look on the webserver to see exactly where you are at.

We had 10 of those of Nextel-GPS units at this 3PL company I contracted with for about 3 1/2 years. I was in the office one day BS'n with dispatch and they were trying to get ahold of this one driver heading to Graham Texas because customer had called asking for ETA on delivery. NO CELL service out in that area whatsoever so we couldn't get him by phone or 2 way. Dispatch just logged onto his Nextel account on Nextels website and saw that that driver was about 7 miles West of Graham heading East on 380 and running at 67MPH. Got back on phone with customer and told him driver would be there in about 10-15 minutes. Sure enough, we sat there and watched driver arrive at customers location about 12 minutes later.

Watching the "GPS" screen/map in your truck direct you street by street is one thing. Watching several drivers on the move throughout Texas on a similar map on a computer screen is a whole other fun in itself. Know what I mean.
 

buddy

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a couple of weeks ago while in Memphis I needed to have Qual-com work done. I went to this Dealer/service center near the airport and while there had a great disccusion with one of the owners.

he informed me that in the very near future Qualcom will come with both GPS and Cellular services. Thus providing maximum coverage. It will also be able to determine which service it is using at any percise moment as to determine the charge ($$) to the customer. For example: if you are in an area and Satellite is the best service you will be charged for that satillite service or vice-versa for celluar
 
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LDB

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The new QC units use wifi, cellular and satellite in that order when possible to minimize costs. If you are sitting near anywhere with a wifi signal available that's how it will communicate. That will save a lot of money. Guess how much your monthly QC bill will go down? :( I would love to not have a QC. I would like to have one and only pay the fair market value and no extra profit or at least less extra profit. These companies are making $5-$10 per week per unit profit at minimum and perhaps as much as doubling their money. They overcharge on everything sadly. I got a price quote direct from Qualcomm for the unit and service as well as the cell phone notifications. The monthly estimate on the unit was a little over half what my company was charging me. The monthly cost on the cell phone add on was $1.05 less than they charged me. I hate QC's and think if the company wants us to have it they should furnish it, otherwise make due with our cell phone they also already require.
 
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layoutshooter

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GPS has nothing to do with it - I tell them where I am, when I'm leaving, where I'm going, etc.
And they trust me - what a concept!!!

Missing the point here I think. I am not speaking of GPS apps on cell phones. As far as I know ALL cell phones sold today have GPS "pingers" on them. That is how some of these people that are lost are found. It does not take as strong a signal to work AND the phone only has to be on to be "pinged". I am about 99% sure that this is due to a federal law that was pushed by ambulance crews, rescue squads and the police to assist in locating emergency calls.
 

Turtle

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The GPS in cell phones in indeed there by law. It's the E911 (enhanced 911 communications for mobile devices) Law. It requires that your cell phone carrier be able to provide your location information in the event that you initiate a 911 call. All phones, with the exception of a few specially phones, the GPS signal can be set by the user for "always on", where it will always be on and your position can be tracked, or set to "911-only", where the GPS is turned on only when you make an emergency 911 call. Specialty phones, like those used specifically to monitor the locations of your kids, specifically designed for the expressed purpose of always having the GPS turned on, cannot be set to "911-only".

Most phones from the factory are defaulted to "911-only", but not all of them are. You need to go into the phone settings to make sure.

Even if you have it set to "911-only", if you have a smartphone and are running location-based apps, like Google Maps, WeatherBug, or apps that turn things on and off depending on time of day and your location, then your GPS signal is alive and kicking all the time.

With many smartphones, however, you can turn the GPS OFF, so that even for location-based apps the GPS will not be used, and instead those apps will try to determine your location based on nearby WiFi signals. WiFi based locations can be very accurate of there are a lot of WiFi signals nearby, or it can be off by as much as a mile or more, especially when it can't find any WiFi signals at all and must use historical data to calculate your position. When you have the GPS turned OFF, the e911 GPS will still be activated when you make a 911 call.
 

layoutshooter

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The GPS in cell phones in indeed there by law. It's the E911 (enhanced 911 communications for mobile devices) Law. It requires that your cell phone carrier be able to provide your location information in the event that you initiate a 911 call. All phones, with the exception of a few specially phones, the GPS signal can be set by the user for "always on", where it will always be on and your position can be tracked, or set to "911-only", where the GPS is turned on only when you make an emergency 911 call. Specialty phones, like those used specifically to monitor the locations of your kids, specifically designed for the expressed purpose of always having the GPS turned on, cannot be set to "911-only".

Most phones from the factory are defaulted to "911-only", but not all of them are. You need to go into the phone settings to make sure.

Even if you have it set to "911-only", if you have a smartphone and are running location-based apps, like Google Maps, WeatherBug, or apps that turn things on and off depending on time of day and your location, then your GPS signal is alive and kicking all the time.

With many smartphones, however, you can turn the GPS OFF, so that even for location-based apps the GPS will not be used, and instead those apps will try to determine your location based on nearby WiFi signals. WiFi based locations can be very accurate of there are a lot of WiFi signals nearby, or it can be off by as much as a mile or more, especially when it can't find any WiFi signals at all and must use historical data to calculate your position. When you have the GPS turned OFF, the e911 GPS will still be activated when you make a 911 call.
That is was I was trying to explain. I was not sure about how it worked, can't say I ever paid all that much attention to it.
 

greg334

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I see some are missing the bigger picture here too.

The GPS phone thing is alright, but does it integrate into the company's systems easily or is there a bunch of programming needed to be done. Not everyone uses the simple "lets look at the website" form of dispatching but with a few hundred trucks, the dispatcher and customer needs that information rather quick.

The point is there is a cost of it, not defending the companies but they have to figure out how to pay for the equipement, installs and so on while also paying for the subscription to the data and access. As mentioned before, the price of the subscription is around $15 a month per unit but that doesn't mean it is a package (including all the IRP reporting, location, load info, communications) but may be a base price for say limited communications and location. With the added information, the price may be $25 a month abnd I can't complain about the extra they charge me knowing I DON'T own the equipment.

But like everything else, there is a trade off. With the Phone GPS system, if you are in a smaller company, it may work out for you in a van but the larger company, I would think the management of data would become a nightmare with the idiots in dispatch and the lack of intergration within one system.

I wonder if the "alliance" uses phone GPS system to track trucks?
 

jelliott

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Qcomm service is about $40-$45 for month on the two newer level Qcomm units; the MCP100 and MCP200. These MCP200 has wifi, but this does not really lower costs. What it does is allow for things like internet surfing, video training and uploads. Figure the carrier also has to expense out the expense of the unit, which varies and model and amount of units purchased. I think retail on these two units is somewhere in the $1800 and $2400 range. Then you have maintenance, repairs, broken, and stolen units to factor in for cost. As well as the cost of installs and de-installs and getting new wiring for re-installs.

Also they offer some options at an additional cost as well. We have the turn by turn truck routed navigation with all of our units. I think this is about a $12 to $14 per month expense. But you can easily recoup this expense on reduced out of route and searching for locations.

So when you look at total expense for the carrier or what is being charged it may be more that what alot of people realize.

Our system does allow the owner operator to send and receive load information and dispatch to track them on Nextels. It is a lower cost option, but like most things you get what you pay for.
 

LDB

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Qcomm service is about $40-$45 for month on the two newer level Qcomm units
Let's double that to $90 and then subtract that from the $151.67 being charged to the operators and we see over $60 a month above actual costs per unit. Having been quoted a figure similar to your $45 per month I suspect that even with a bell and two whistles added we're looking at more like $75 a month or half what the operators are being charged. At the current rates the units are fully paid for within 2 years and the remaining several years they are used are major profits to the company.

Tri-States sliding scale of lowering QC costs based on longevity is a better way to do it. Even if they bought a brand new unit for an operator on day one the operator would fully pay for the unit. Companies, in general, overcharge on QC. Tri-State seems to be the exception and Landstar is less unreasonable but still too high at $27.50 compared to the $35 rate elsewhere.
 

piper1

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I asked about buying my own...wanna guess how much they were willing to reduce the rate charged per week, I would much rather own it and pay for it myself, but it was a dead end conversation.
 
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