Welcome to AsiaBizTech Web Site

Top Page
Site Map
News at a Glance Member Services AsiaBizTech Resources

Advanced Search

(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Mobile Medianet to Start Satellite Vehicle-Tracking Service
  • October 1, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Mobile Medianet Ltd. announced that on Oct. 10 it will launch a service called EasyTRACS for utilizing the Internet and a communications satellite to provide customers with data for tracking vehicles.
    Customers of the service will be able to determine the locations of their vehicles across Japan.

    Mobile Medianet is a subsidiary of Denso Corp., a major manufacturer of electronics parts for the automobile industry.

    The company already offers a similar service, called OmniTRACS, which utilizes a communications satellite to transmit data to vehicles. It is possible to use the OmniTRACS system to track the locations of vehicles, but the new EasyTRACS service will be much less expensive.

    To utilize the EasyTRACS system to locate vehicles, the vehicles must be equipped with devices capable of receiving navigational data from the U.S. global positioning system (GPS) satellites, and with an antenna and other hardware for maintaining a link with a communications satellite.

    At the tracking center where the vehicle movements are monitored, system users will need a PC, with the system's special map software installed, and access to the Internet. After accessing the special EasyTRACS Internet site and inputting their user ID and password, they can view maps and lists that display the locations of their vehicles.

    The basic monthly fee for the service is 1,500 yen (US$11), with a data transfer charge of 7 yen per vehicle for each time location data is requested.

    For example, if a vehicle is on the road for eight hours a day and its location must be checked every 30 minutes, the total cost over a 30-day period would be 4,860 yen (US$35). That compares with a fee in excess of 10,000 yen, if the OmniTRACS service was used for the same purpose.

    Denso describes the most suitable applications for EasyTRACS and OmniTRACS in the following way:

    If only a few vehicles are to be monitored, EasyTRACS can be used to determine the current locations of vehicles and the control center can contact individual drivers by mobile phone or radio in order to give instructions.

    However, in the case of fleets of more than 50 vehicles to be monitored, then the OmniTRACS service should be used because it enables the control center to transmit instructions to drivers in the form of text data. With this many vehicles being monitored, the EasyTRACS service is less efficient.

    If necessary, the same vehicle on-board hardware for the EasyTRACS system can also be used for OmniTRACS. However, in order to upgrade to OmniTRACS, some additions must be made to the system. First, a special data terminal, called the "REGIO," needs to be installed in the vehicles so that drivers can read text messages sent to them. And additional software must be installed in the control center computer.

    Denso's aim in launching the low-cost EasyTRACS system is to stimulate the fledgling market for vehicle monitoring services. The OmniTRACS service is used to monitor the movements of 2,000 vehicles. However, during its first year of operation EasyTRACS is only expected to attract subscriptions for around 300 vehicles.

    A Denso official said that if more data communications services based on satellite and Internet technologies continue to appear, the market will expand.

    More information is available in English at: http://www.denso.co.jp/NEWS/n980924a-e.html

    (Nikkei Communications)

    Copyright © 1997-98
    Nikkei BP BizTech, Inc.
    All Rights Reserved.
    Updated: Wed Sep 30 16:57:25 1998 PDT