STC plots fleet tracking via SMS

Saudi Telecoms Company (STC) is preparing to launch automated vehicle localisation services (AVLS) for transportation firms in the Kingdom.

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By  Richard Agnew Published  March 22, 2004

Saudi Telecoms Company (STC) is preparing to launch automated vehicle localisation services (AVLS) for transportation firms in the Kingdom, after striking a deal with Riyadh-based technology provider, Advanced Electronics Company (AEC). AEC was responsible for the Madar solution’s development and will handle customer support and installation of the platform, which uses the global positioning system (GPS) to track vehicles and feeds their coordinates back to the end-user via SMS. “We are planning to launch AVLS, [following] a successful trial during the Hajj,” says Jameel Molhem, general manager of marketing at STC’s mobile arm, Al-Jawal. “Communication will be handled by our mobile network, since we now have good geographical coverage of most of the highways in Saudi Arabia,” he adds. The solution, which has been in development for over a year, includes software that allows the customer to view the location of its fleet on a digital map in either English or Arabic, and integrate the data with its other business processes. AEC has also interfaced the system with STC’s network so that the positioning information is relayed to end-users via the operator’s SMS centre (SMSc), and has negotiated special rates for the messages that are sent. “We have worked with STC’s engineers to provide an efficient way of delivering the SMS messages,” says Dr. Khaled Biyari, AEC’s senior VP of research and development and GM of the vendor’s telecoms business unit. “We have a direct link with the SMSc and this dramatically increases the efficiency of delivering the information from and to the vehicle. We have also arranged reduced tariffs [for messages] with STC,” he adds. While its launch is linked to the expansion of STC’s mobile coverage, the system is also designed to be deployed over private radio networks and the satellite infrastructure of UAE-based operator, Thuraya. AEC is also accentuating its ability to add modules to the system to adapt it for customers in different vertical markets. “There are a number of sectors that we are targeting — goods and oil transportation businesses, public transport and delivery firms,” says Dr. Biyari. STC has also been approached by petroleum companies operating in the Kingdom that are seeking to address the problem of truck drivers stealing oil while on the move. In this case, the system allows remote monitoring of the vehicle’s fuel gauge and the ability to request the fuel tank to be opened via SMS. “An important part of the offering is that we can integrate any type of sensor into the vehicle. Information from the sensor can then be sent back to the control centre and you can programme the unit to trigger an alarm,” explains Dr. Biyari.

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