Synovia Solutions Blog


Posted by Christina Dieckmeyer on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

Pulling Off GPS: What You Need to Know

pulling-off-gps-tracking-4.25.17.pngIf you're like most, you are constantly looking for ways to better your situation through technology. One of the most common and useful ways to do this is through GPS solutions. For years, schools and businesses have been looking to GPS to provide cost savings, improve operational efficiencies, and increase driver and passenger safety.

Adopting a new technology can be frightening, though. How difficult will it be to implement? What will be required from you and your team during implementation? What about after the tracking systems are installed? How will it affect the daily lives of your transportation department, drivers, and students? Luckily, implementing a fleet management solution is easier than you’d expect. Let’s walk through what you should expect when selecting and implementing a GPS tracking solution.

The First Steps

First, you must determine which GPS solution is best for your situation. Typically, this is accomplished with
a thorough demonstration that highlights the solution’s capabilities. During this demo, it’s important to examine your needs in detail and decide on the right mix of tracking solutions for your exact situation.

Once you’ve determined what the right solution is for you, the next step is some sort of orientation. This is where you will be introduced to the full set of features and functionalities of your software. This in-depth look will further your understanding of the full potential of the GPS solution.

Next up is the installation process. At this point, the software should be fully configured to make sure you hit
the ground running. The length of this phase can differ, though. It can range from a couple of days to a couple of weeks, depending on your fleet size and schedule. Be sure your installation is scheduled around the availability of your fleet, and at a time where it minimizes the disruption to your transportation department.

The Ins and Outs of GPS

time-and-attendance-4.25.17.pngAfter your hardware is in place and your software is ready to go, everything should be tested. And once you know everything is operating correctly, you’re ready for training. This is where you get familiar with the software and begin to understand just how to best manage your fleet. The solution should help you determine things like how to organize your fleet effectively, whether you should limit or restrict certain vehicles, and so on. This is also where you will decide what reports and alerts to set up in your software. Determine what information is most valuable to you, and set up accordingly.

Depending on what solution options you’ve selected, there may be some additional training and set up needed.

For example:

  • Time and Attendance: If you’ve selected this feature, you’ll need to integrate with your payroll system and explain to your drivers how to clock in and out directly on the vehicle. No more paper time sheets and manual data entry!
  • Comparative Analysis:  If you’ve selected this feature to compare planned to actual routes, you’ll need to integrate with your route management system. You’ll be one step closer to better route management!

All things considered, you should expect to be fully implemented within six weeks.

Reaping the Benefits of GPS

Once you are up and running, you’ll have immediate access to all the insights and metrics you need. But it can be a little overwhelming. Some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Consider establishing some key performance indicators. These will deliver a high-level view of what you're tracking. 
  2. Focus on one or two areas at a time, such as route compliance or fuel consumption. You can always drill down into more detail whenever you choose. 
  3. Training isn't a one-time event. In order to best stay on top of your software and its functionality, consider attending regularly scheduled training webinars provided by your vendor. 

The final piece of the puzzle is the introduction of your GPS solution to your employees. In reality, there is very
little that needs to be explained or demonstrated for drivers. It is often a matter of simply letting them know
the devices are on their vehicles. You may want to explain some of the benefits as well. Explain how monitoring activity will help achieve cost savings, and how it can also protect drivers in the event of unjust criticism.

For example, GPS can be used to come to the defense of drivers and prove they are driving safely and arriving on time when they’re accused of doing otherwise.

GPS is a very powerful tool that, at the end of the day, will help you achieve a higher level of safety, savings, and service. It makes the job of your transportation department easier and more enjoyable every day.

If you think GPS tracking is something your company could benefit from, sign up for a free demonstration

New Call-to-action


Posted by Christina Dieckmeyer on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

A look at how Synovia’s app can improve the bus riding experience.

4.19.17_Here_Comes_the_Bus.pngMany school districts experience painful budget cuts when it comes to transportation. They are forced to cut both routes and drivers, yet they are expected to pick up the same number of students. With hundreds or even thousands of students, this is no easy task. Often stops must be moved to less convenient locations. Families who in the past had door-to-door bus stops are now required to wait on a corner, blocks from home. This means children who once could stay inside until seeing the bus are now forced to wait outside for long periods of time to ensure they do not miss their bus. This situation is far from ideal for both schools and families.

As you can imagine, a situation like this usually results in very unhappy parents. They make complaints at school board meetings, and many calls to the transportation department. The school needs to stand firm, but also needs to realize they are providing less service to their customers (that is, parents and students) than before. What can a school do? 

The GPS Solution

To answer this problem, many school boards have decided to pursue a GPS solution. There are many options available to schools when it comes to GPS tracking, but one feature stands out among the rest – and it belongs to Synovia’s Here Comes the Bus app. Here Comes the Bus provides excellent customer service for schools and their students. With this app, parents are able to find the real-time location of their child’s bus, and they can receive push and email alerts when a bus is near or has been substituted. Additionally, parents can get notifications when their child gets on or off the bus, meaning no more worrying whether they’ve made it to school or back home safely. Providing families with this type of access is a great way to solve the problems that result from transportation budget cuts.

Making GPS a Success

The rollout of an app like Here Comes the Bus is critical. In a district with hundreds or thousands of students, you need a large percentage of families signed up in order to realize the full benefits of the solution. What is the key to rollout success? Simply put, it’s communication. Schools must work very hard to ensure the messaging resonates with parents and students alike. Often school districts create posters, flyers, and pamphlets that explain the benefits and provide step-by-step instructions for how to use the app. These materials should then become part of every registration package that goes out.

Another idea is to visit with parents of new kindergarteners to introduce the app. Schools often hold a meeting for these new students, and it provides yet another chance to answer questions and walk parents through set-up on the spot. Additionally, if a parent calls the transportation department with an issue or question, schools can take the opportunity to sign them up right then and explain how Here Comes the Bus prevents the same issue from happening in the future.

Don’t Just Communicate – Over-communicate

Communication can’t be a one-time event, though. One of the biggest mistakes schools can make is assuming that “if you build it, they will come.” Just because the information is made available, that doesn’t mean parents and students will read it. Instead, schools should plan on overcommunicating with the district. Each year, and all year round, provide materials explaining the system. Don’t just include them in the registration information and assume parents and students have what they need. This is especially important if the school system has a transient population. In many districts, hundreds of students come and go throughout the year, which makes the constant flow of information even more critical to get the most out of the app. Essentially, the more schools get the messaging out, the better.

More Facts. Fewer Complaints.

Ultimately, school districts should think of Here Comes the Bus as a service that they can provide to their customers. And when implementing both GPS and Here Comes the Bus, schools usually experience great changes. Information becomes all factual. For example, if a school receives a call saying the bus didn’t show up, the GPS information can be pulled up to see what happened and the schools can have the conversation based on data. This visibility, combined with the service provided by an app like Here Comes the Bus, helps create a great relationship with parents. It also means fewer calls and complaints, and a happier district all around.

To learn more about Here Comes the Bus, and other Synovia solutions, download your free copy of our magazine, Ridealong with Synovia Solutions. We'll help you stay on top of the latest fleet management trends, and decide what's right for your district. 

Download Now


Posted by Christina Dieckmeyer on Wed, Apr 12, 2017 @ 10:30 AM

4.12.17_Blog_Post.pngOne recent trend in transportation is video surveillance. Many schools and businesses have installed fully integrated video surveillance in their fleets. It allows the drivers to see and capture what was invisible before. And this added visibility equates to added safety.

Eyes in the Back of Your Head

Surveillance can be particularly important for schools. Without it, drivers can struggle to watch and monitor students’ behavior while on their routes. Drivers are severely outnumbered, and need to be concentrating on the road. But bad behavior, if not corrected, can cause trouble on a bus. In the past, bullying, vandalism, and other student discipline issues would often take place and go undetected. This is no longer the case with video surveillance. Even the mere presence of the cameras can make a difference. Kids think twice about misbehaving if they understand their chances of being caught are much higher with video monitoring. And if they decide to misbehave anyway, the proof is in the pudding. There’s no getting away with it when the bus is equipped with cameras.

Video surveillance not only provides visibility into what the riders are doing, but also gives drivers a new awareness of their surroundings. For example, bus drivers must be aware of what happens after the students step off the bus. Has the student cleared the path of the bus? Or do they know what’s behind them when reversing? These unknowns are removed with video surveillance. Drivers no longer rely on the little that they can see.

Video monitoring can boost safety in other ways as well. That car that just flew by your stop arm? Video surveillance can capture the license plate. Are you unsure if all drivers are coming to a complete stop at railroad crossings? The video captured on the vehicle will give you a definitive answer. Was there an accident, and you are unclear about who was at fault? Again, video footage will show you exactly what happened and give you the answers you need.

For school systems and businesses, video surveillance provides immediate results and increased safety. At the end of the day, the “eyes in the back of your head” bring peace of mind to both drivers, and fleet managers alike.

If you want to learn more about how to maximize the safety of your fleet, download Ridealong with Synovia Solutions. It is filled with the most up-to-date fleet management information to help you increase savings, improve safety and enhance customer service. 

Download Now

Understanding School Bus Safety

Posted by Christina Dieckmeyer on Wed, Apr 05, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

Are You Staying on Top of Your Fleet? 

Bus.pngSchool bus safety is of paramount importance to all school districts. Schools must ensure their students are able to safely travel to and from school, while also ensuring the safety of their drivers. Fleet management technology is one way to send the message that your district is serious about student safety and parent communication. There are several options and trends that schools should consider.


With GPS, you can track your buses, map routes, and create insightful reports for your transportation directors. Essentially, you can rest assured that you know where your fleet is at all times. It provides real-time data and instant visibility into your buses. The software allows you to watch live activity of buses, map historical routes and stops, and create arrival reports.

Comparative Analysis

Another fleet management solution to consider is comparative analysis. This allows schools to compare planned routes to actual routes. You’ll know when each bus should be at each stop, and see when (or if) they arrived. This solution allows you to spot delays, and alert customers as necessary. In short, you can improve the services provided to your parents and students, and you can better manage your routes.

Student Ridership 

Another way to ensure your students’ safety is by understanding where and when your students board and exit the bus. The student ridership solution uses a barcode scanner to track when each student gets on and gets off the bus. Drivers don’t lose time because it’s easy for students to check in and out, and it ensures the right students are riding to the right stops.

Mobile App

One of the most useful tools available to schools and parents is a mobile app, such as Synovia’s Here Comes the Bus®. Apps can offer both students and parents visibility into bus location and timing. They can also be alerted to situations such as bus substitutions, making mornings easier for everyone.

These are just a few options available to schools that are looking to improve their safety. Ultimately, these tools not only make it easier to balance managing your fleet, but also help achieve a higher level of safety and customer service across the board. 

If you want to learn more about how to maximize school bus safey, download Ridealong with Synovia Solutions. It is filled with the most up-to-date fleet management information to help you increase savings, improve safety and enhance customer service.

Download Now 


Posted by Christina Dieckmeyer on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

GPS-tracking-solution-pays-for-themselves.pngOne of the most common worries with fleet management software is the cost. What is it going to cost to install GPS on all your buses and vehicles? What will it cost to maintain? After all, there’s only so much budget to go around. 

The better question to ask, though, is can you really afford not to have a GPS tracking system? Ultimately most GPS tracking solutions end up paying for themselves. How? They track things like bus idling and speeding. This data allows you to increase fuel efficiencies and reduce cost. Additionally, you can monitor driver behavior and provide training and guidance where it’s most needed. In the end, this can lead to better drivers, fewer incidents, and decreased insurance costs.

Another cost saving option is to track driver time and attendance. Systems can be used to log in and log out and provide a web-based timecard system. This allows school systems to view planned versus actual reporting, and even to integrate with payroll to eliminate time-consuming and expensive manual entry.


Too often schools overspend on fuel as prices continue to rise. GPS can help by allowing for reduced fuel usage through less idling and better driver behavior. 

Let’s walk through an example of how you can save money on fuel with GPS. Say your district has 100 buses, and the average cost of fuel is $2.00/gallon. Using data from the GPS system, schools can save about ½ gallon of fuel per day per bus through idle reduction and improved driver behavior. If the school year is 180 days, this is approximately $180 in savings per bus per year, or a  fleet-wide savings of $18,000 annually. 



Route efficiency is important to school districts. Running inefficient routes leads to excess mileage and potential service issues. With a fleet management software solution, schools have route data integration functionality. They can compare planned versus actual route information and review all stops made. Essentially, they are better able to manage their routes and contain the cost of routing.

School districts with fleet management solutions installed can expect a mileage savings of about 1% per
day per bus, based on fuel and maintenance costs. When you consider your average maintenance cost per mile, the savings begin to really add up.


Inaccurate timekeeping and reporting can be expensive for school districts. With a time and attendance solution in place, drivers can clock in and out from their vehicles. This eliminates paying for non-driving time. On average, it saves 15 minutes per driver per vehicle per day.

payroll-savings-with-gps-tracking.pngDepending on your hourly rate and number of drivers, the savings can multiply quickly. For example, imagine your drivers earn $15/hour, and you have 100 drivers. Increasing your payroll accuracy by 15 minutes would equate to a savings of $375 per day, or an impressive $67,500 in annual savings.



A fleet management solution allows you to stay connected with your fleet and save money in the process. It is never easy to manage a complex budget. But tools such as GPS can help. The instant visibility allows you to better manage your buses and drivers.

With GPS, reports can be built to help increase efficiency and ultimately save money. Track variables like idling time and costs, speeding, and driver performance. Then use the data to significantly reduce your fuel consumption and overall cost.

Or consider allowing your drivers to log in directly from their vehicles. The system can connect directly to your payroll, reducing man-hours and eliminating mistakes, and thereby decreasing unnecessary labor expenses. In the end, whether from fuel, mileage, or payroll savings, GPS ends up paying for itself over time.

Want to learn more? Download our new magazine, Ridealong with Synovia Solutions, to read about the many benefits of GPS tracking. 

Download Now

Tags: k-12, school bus, fuel efficiency


Posted by Jon King on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 @ 09:00 AM


Cover_Final.pngHere at Synovia, we believe schools should have instant visibility into their fleet of buses. We also strive to help our customers increase savings, improve safety, and enhance customer service with our fleet management solutions. These are just a few of the reasons we’re happy to publish our first edition of Ridealong with Synovia Solutions, our magazine dedicated to the transportation needs of the K12 industry. We want to give schools an inside peek into the biggest challenges faced by transportation departments, and explain how to solve them. You can download your copy here

In this edition, we start with some insights into GPS tracking. We’ll share key stats and surprising metrics that we’ve been seeing in the K-12 market. We’ll also identify some of the latest and greatest offerings that telematics is bringing to school districts around the country. We’ll uncover some of the best ways to stay on top of your fleet including video surveillance and the use of school bus apps such as Here Comes the Bus®.

In the next section, we’ll explain how you can pave the way with GPS. From selection through installation, we walk through what schools can expect with a new fleet management solution. We’ll expose the risks faced and help you understand how to select the best solutions and partners for your district. We’ll also explain how to better protect your biggest assets, and why with Synovia you don’t have to ask – you know.

We’ll wrap up this edition by unveiling our new software platform. We’re very excited to roll out this enhanced and improved experience for our customers. We are confident you’re going to love it. And finally, we’ll explain how to overcome some of the biggest challenges faced by transportation departments and discover what makes Synovia stand out among other telematics companies.

We hope you enjoy this inaugural edition of Ridealong with Synovia Solutions and look forward to continually providing you with the most up-todate fleet management information.

Download Now

Tags: safety, k-12, school bus

Making the Business Case for Asset Tracking

Posted by Bill Westerman on Thu, Nov 17, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

Imagine finding out one of your Bobcats and its trailer has gone missing. This equipment is worth well over $100,000 altogether, causing instant panic. But then you remember you have asset tracking in place, and you can breathe a sigh of relief. You have a way to find exactly where your equipment is. And you significantly increase your chances of recovering your stolen assets instead of having to replace them.

This is exactly what happened to a client of ours. You can read more about the story here. Luckily, thanks to their Synovia asset tracking system they could rely on the signal from the equipment, allowing them to easily locate it. They then called the authorities with this information, and the two pieces were recovered seamlessly.

Stolen Equipment

Unfortunately, this type of scenario is all too familiar. A recent Dewalt study found that a staggering 97% of construction professionals surveyed are concerned about job site security. Even more alarming, a whopping 77% have experienced theft up to 5x per year for the last 3 years. And 50% of those surveyed have experienced theft in the last 12 months.



And it’s not just certain equipment that is at risk. All types are being targeted for theft. Below is break down of the different types of equipment stolen from jobsites.


Ultimately, these statistics prove that tracking equipment is more important than ever.

What is Asset Tracking?

An asset tracker sends out specific signals on specific frequencies. There are two basic forms: asset trackers for non-motorized equipment, and for motorized equipment.

First, tracking devices are used for non-motorized equipment such as dumpsters, portable toilets and trailers. The tracker can alert you when the property has moved outside of a pre-determined geo-fence. The tracking device sends a location signal at least 1x per day. This can also be adjusted to suit a company’s specific needs.

Additionally, asset trackers are used on motorized, complex vehicles and equipment. Examples of motorized equipment include backhoes, generators, lawn mowers and tractors. The devices send a signal every 30 seconds, at every right or left turn, and at every event. It monitors engine use hours which then can be used for things like billing.

Benefits of Asset Tracking

The benefits to asset tracking are numerous. First, as a business owner you will know the exact location of all your equipment all the time. You don’t have to ask, you know. It also allows you to keep a tighter record on the number of hours the equipment is being used. This in turn gives you tighter control over maintenance. It allows for preventative maintenance instead of costly repair work. And finally, it can lower your costs in ways you may not typically consider. As we mentioned, it can help prevent theft and lower equipment replacement costs. But asset trackers can also provide costs savings in the form of lower insurance costs.

The case for asset tracking is strong. If you’d like to experience the benefits for yourself, consider contacting us today. Let us show you what the best fleet operators are doing to track and monitor their assets.
Contact Synovia

5 Trends Sparking Interest in GPS for Commercial Vehicles

Posted by Bill Westerman on Fri, Nov 11, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

How a GPS Tracking System Overcomes Common Challenges

Truck.pngMore and more companies are turning to GPS for commercial vehicles. They need to know exactly where their fleet is at any moment of the day. But what is driving their decision to implement a commercial GPS tracking system? We have identified 5 trends that are sparking a renewed interest in GPS for commercial vehicles.

#1 - The Need to Prolong the Life of Vehicles and Equipment

What is one of the most expensive aspects of your business? Your fleet of vehicles and equipment. Which means, as a business owner, you want to get the most out of each piece of equipment before replacing. Vehicle tracking systems are one way to do that. With these installed, you receive real-time data on things like usage hours, driving habits and more. You can better manage your vehicle and equipment lifecycle to determine whether it’s time to invest in new ones.

#2 – The Need to Improve Worker Safety

Another one of your biggest assets is your people. The company must ensure that employees are operating equipment and vehicles properly at all times. With a GPS tracking system, you can monitor for things like excessive speeding and reckless operating habits. You can then act on these insights to prevent any harm to your people. Or to your expensive equipment. Additionally, many companies have an emergency button installed which enables instant location information when an issue arises. 

#3 – The Upcoming ELD Mandate

Beginning on 12/18/17, a new electronic logging device mandate takes effect. Companies will be required by law to log driving time and hours of service electronically. Many companies are trying to stay ahead of the curve, and install the electronic logs, or Elogs as they’re often called, sooner rather than later.  The benefit of these systems includes a lower crash rate, and less time and manpower spent completing paperwork.

#4 – The Need for Better Theft Protection

Unfortunately, your equipment is a target for theft. In a recent Dewalt study, over 50% of those surveyed responded that they have experienced equipment theft in the last 12 months. Asset tracking can prevent this. Tracking devices can be installed on both non-motorized and motorized equipment. They then send out specific signals on specific frequencies. Non-motorized units usually send a signal at least one time per day. If you notice something wrong, this frequency can be increased to better serve your current situation. Motorized equipment send signals every 30 seconds, allowing for real-time location information.

#5 – The Need to Cut Costs to Save Money

As a business owner, you’re always trying to save money and cut costs. GPS for commercial vehicles can do exactly that. First, it allows you to reduce fuel usage. By understanding things like acceleration, harsh braking, idling and routes better you can increase your fleet’s fuel efficiency. Additionally, many times it will lead to lower insurance rates due to a decrease in accidents and the additional theft protection provided by asset tracking.  

Ultimately, commercial vehicle GPS will help maintain your vehicles and equipment safely and efficiently. It arms you with the data and insights you need to optimize usage – there’s no need to ask, you know. If you’d like to learn more, consider signing up for a demo of Synovia’s Solutions here. Let us show you how to take your fleet to the next level.  

Start Saving Today.


School Bus Video Surveillance ­– Keeping an eye on our kids

Posted by Bill Westerman on Mon, Oct 31, 2016 @ 10:13 AM

Overall Video Surveillance Benefits

Video surveillance for business has been available to fleet managers for a little over a decade. Prior to that recording devices, such as VHS tape recorders, were either too large or didn’t record enough SYN-Fleet-Management-Benefits-290x226.jpgcontent to be practically feasible. But now, with the addition of digital memory storage, the price is coming down and the benefits are becoming more and more clear.

In addition to video images helping bus drivers navigate difficult maneuvers, such as backing up, or bringing clarity to what were once blind spots, video also helps to deter negative behavior and plays a crucial role in helping to settle any disputes that may arise. By acting as a neutral third party, video surveillance can reduce a company’s liability by helping to disprove incidents or back up the claims of the drivers when they are not at fault.

Alongside improved safety and reduced liability, customer service can also be greatly improved by monitoring how drivers interact with customers.

Video surveillance is a valuable tool for business, but all the benefits it brings to fleet managers can also be translated many times over for a school district’s transportation manager. After all, what holds true for drivers hauling freight should be equally true for drivers transporting children to and from school, if not more so.

In a perfect world, each and every time a school bus shifts into reverse a second person would be on the scene to help out. Most school districts actually prohibit bus drivers from backing up without a guide, and some states even have laws prohibiting it.

However, many times it’s just the driver having to rely on what little he or she can see with their two eyes, both inside their 35-foot-long vehicle and out.

Keeping an eye on the kids

Rowdy behavior, if left unchecked, can get children in trouble on the bus. Since most school buses can carry upwards of 64 students at a time it is literally impossible for drivers to keep a close eye on all of them – especially when they are also being asked to safely navigate their vehicle.

With video surveillance cameras positioned all over the interior of the bus, drivers no longer have to have eyes in the back of their heads to keep the kids in check. Children will have to think twice about misbehaving when there is sure to be video footage of anything they do. While it may be true that in certain instances you simply cannot stop children from doing questionable or dangerous things, that doesn’t mean you have to let them get away with it.

Additionally, video surveillance for school district transportation directors can help identify bullying, vandalism, student discipline problems, and driver safety issues the same way it helps business fleet managers identify how their drivers behave with customers.

Keeping an eye on the surroundings

Outside the bus, it’s equally important to keep an eye on children, both when the vehicle needs to back up and to make sure kids have safely exited the immediate vicinity after being dropped off. After all, pick-up and drop off times are when most accidents occur.

Video surveillance can also be used to capture the license plates of stop-arm violators (yes, police can indeed send you a ticket if you are caught on tape running a bus stop arm) and exterior video can be used to make sure school bus drivers come to a complete stop when encountering railroad crossings.

Video doesn’t lie

With the ability to quickly and easily download video of a particular situation, video recorders allow fleet managers to remove the “he said, she said” aspect of confrontations and allegations. Video doesn’t lie, and the burden of proof in both criminal and civil lawsuits can often be taken care of with just a simple video sample from a legitimate video recording device or system.

Safety and more

There’s a reason school buses are painted bright yellow. There’s a reason why the consequences for violating the rules of the road surrounding school buses are so dire and fines are so steep. There’s a reason why we don’t just let anyone become a school bus driver. The reason is safety. 

As the largest form of public transportation in this country, more parents trust buses with their children than any other form of transportation. They need to be as safe as possible and video surveillance is only one of the latest tools that school districts can use to make sure our youngest and most vulnerable generation make it safely to school and home again every single day.

How Exactly Does Asset Tracking Work?

Posted by Bill Westerman on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 @ 06:07 PM

Where is it? Where was it? Where is it going? These are just a few of the many questions that can be answered with three letters – G.P.S.SYN-Leading-The-Way-290x226-1.jpg

GPS (Global Positioning System) is a worldwide radio-navigation system formed from 24 satellites in orbit and their respective ground stations. The system is mainly funded and controlled by the U.S. Department of Defense. What’s interesting is that today we rely on satellites to provide us all this information in order to track vehicles and assets here on Earth, but originally it was earthbound humans tracking a satellite in space that led to today’s Global Positioning System.

The basics behind GPS were first discovered back in 1957 when two American physicists discovered that by tracking the Doppler effect on the Soviets’ recently launched Sputnik satellite, they could precisely pinpoint where the satellite was in its orbit.

The U.S. military designed and built the original GPS, but today there are also many civilian GPS users. Civilians are allowed to use the Standard Positioning Service without any kind of charge or restrictions, while the military now maintains its own GPS. The accuracy of the GPS signal in space is actually the same for both the civilian service and the military service. However, civilian GPS broadcasts on one frequency, while the military’s version of GPS broadcasts on two, allowing the military to perform a correction technique that reduces radio degradation caused by the Earth's atmosphere. This allows the military’s version of GPS to provide them with greater accuracy. In both cases, however, accuracy has steadily increased over the years and today, the civilian version of GPS provides accuracy within 4 meters with a 95% confidence interval.

How Synovia Uses GPS

With GPS, Synovia is able to help our clients keep track of their vehicles and assets by simply installing our tracking devices on their equipment. Our tracking devices send out specific signals on specific frequencies so we can lock in on each one individually. This allows us to track thousands upon thousands of individual vehicles and assets all across the country. 

These tracking devices come in two basic forms: one for non-motorized equipment and one for motorized equipment. Trackers designed for non-motorized equipment have an internal battery that lasts 5 to 7 years. These trackers can be used as a more basic unit for motorized equipment, but they are designed to be used with non-motorized equipment such as dumpsters, portable classrooms, portable toilets, trailers, furniture, and computer equipment.

These tracking devices automatically send a location signal at least once a day, but can be adjusted to have a signal sent as often as you need. Sometimes it’s simply overkill to have a tracker send a signal too many times in one day, but other fleet managers want constant contact – and Synovia can give it to you.

You can even adjust frequency based on the situation. At Synovia we had one instance in which a client had a Bobcat worth about $40,000 go missing, and when they contacted us we increased the number of times the tracker “checked in” to every 15 minutes. More frequent signals allowed us to track down where the Bobcat had been taken and alert the local authorities, who then retrieved the Bobcat and were able to take several suspects into custody.

You can also set non-motorized asset trackers to alert you when your property is outside a predetermined geo-fence. Positional updates will then continue every five minutes until the asset is returned.

Asset trackers can also be used with motorized equipment. These trackers are connected to your equipment’s battery and send a location signal every 30 seconds. They also monitor engine usage for maintenance or billing purposes. They are weatherproof and will recharge their internal battery whenever the asset is active – so downtime is never an issue. These trackers work for all self-powered assets, such as backhoes, generators, lawn mowers, power washers, skid steers, snow blowers and tractors.

Asset tracking is a terrific tool for businesses to use. It's like having your own personal security guard right there on site 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and it's all thanks to two American scientists who simply wanted to keep track of a beach ball-sized satellite that was flying around in outer space.

Start Saving Today.