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New Satellite-Based Tracking Service To Revolutionize Global Transportation

The SkyBitz GPS Locator

Dulles - Oct 28, 2002
SkyBitz has launched its Global Locating System (GLS) tracking and monitoring service. SkyBitz designed GLS to overcome the shortcomings of the Global Positioning System (GPS) when used in tracking and monitoring applications. GLS brings dramatic improvements in cost, coverage, power consumption and ease of installation when compared to tracking services based on GPS.

This new technology is a satellite-based tracking and communication service for North America that is (initially) being applied to enable transportation companies to better manage their assets and gain visibility into their operations.

The technology, whose development was originally funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has been thoroughly tested after six years of research and development. One major point of differentiation of GLS is that the positioning calculations are performed centrally rather than in a GPS chip in the mobile tracking equipment.

As a result, the cost and power consumption associated with the GPS receiver is eliminated. Trucking companies are using GLS to pinpoint the location of untethered trailers, to direct drivers to them efficiently, and to increase response time to shippers.

SkyBitz CEO Michael Fitzgerald, a veteran senior manager of heavyweight transportation and logistics companies such as FedEx, TNT Logistics and UPS, said, "GLS is the only continent-wide tracking solution designed from the ground up to serve the needs of the transportation industry.

"The technology outperforms GPS-based tracking systems by using unique, wireless, satellite technology. The system has applications across the transportation and logistics industry, and will be used in truck trailers, rail cars and cargo containers.

"The gains in fleet efficiency, supply chain visibility, and cargo and asset security will astonish the industry and can dramatically increase users' profitability."

"The primary benefit to the industry is better use of trailers," said Charlie Mudd, EVP of Transportation at SkyBitz. "If you know the precise location of each trailer you can use them more efficiently, increase the revenue miles on each trailer, provide better response for your clients and avoid drivers spending time searching for a trailer location.

In addition, carriers can better monitor high value cargo and interchanged equipment. In Mexico you can minimize turn time and improve northbound utilization."

In addition to Fitzgerald, the management team has a strong grounding in the transportation industry, in satellite technology, and in logistics management. "We have a powerful team of rocket scientists and truckers," jokes Fitzgerald. "We feel that it is critical that we complement our technology with a deep understanding of our customers and the industry."

SkyBitz's GLS technology provides accurate monitoring of the status of trailers, containers and other transportation assets. The service package includes position location as well as sophisticated data communication capabilities, and the information is delivered on schedule or on demand.

The network seamlessly integrates four components: the mobile terminal mounted to the asset; a satellite communications network; a secure Service Operations Center; and information delivered via the Internet or telephone.

The mobile terminal is about the size of a home smoke detector and operates for multiple years on its internal primary "AA" battery pack, eliminating the need for non-routine maintenance of the asset. The Service Operations Center servers reside in a safe, robust facility that was designed for maximum reliability and security.

Asset data from the Service Operations Center can be accessed from a desktop computer or from anywhere in the world via Internet. The secure SkyBitz web site offers a Java-based map that allows users to see precise asset locations using zoom, pan and many advanced features.

It also offers tabular data displays, including time-stamped position descriptions by latitude and longitude; sensor and terminal status; report scheduling; and the ability to customize data. The site supports billing, account, and terminal management.

"There's no question that by making it easier to locate assets such as shipping containers, chassis and trailers, that you can increase loaded miles, shorten reaction time to demand, and provide more accurate information to cargo owners.

"The demand by the industry for better asset performance and by customers for location information and status, will drive the need for tracking technology that is accurate, secure and reliable," said Bill Hamlin, President of APL Americas, one of the largest logistics and container transportation companies in the world.

"Similar products on the market have let customers down," notes Fitzgerald, "and we're determined not to let that happen. We recognized the soft spots in other services and we stayed longer at the bench and worked on them. The result is a service that is reliable, durable, and less expensive than others. The SkyBitz service is unassailable."

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US Says Human Chip Implants Don't Need Regulation For Some Uses
 Washington (AFP) Oct 22, 2002
A company that makes a microchip that can be implanted under the skin said Tuesday that US authorities ruled the device does not have to be regulated when used for non-medical purposes.

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