New asset protection technology unveiled

June 2003 Asset Management, EAS, RFID

A new surveillance product aimed at asset and people protection was recently unveiled by SmartSurv Wireless, a division of iCat, the Louis Group International's technology company.

'SmartTrak', the name given to the device, is based on the General Packet Radio Services (GPRS) platform. Says iCat's CEO, Dean Louis: "The distinguishing difference between SmartTrak and other similar tracking systems is that it utilises its sophisticated GPRS technology alongside GPS, SMS and other complementary forms of technology to keep the asset under surveillance. GPRS ensures that SmartTrak does not need to rely on visual contact, to pinpoint the exact position of the item being monitored. The technology utilises the existing medical response and cellular telephony networks, which means that SmartTrak can track accurately from a distance, any position within southern Africa.

"This successful implementation of GPRS allows SmartSurv Wireless to focus initially on vehicle surveillance but will allow us to take the technology to many other machine-to-machine telemetry applications," says Louis. Because the technology driving SmartTrak is compatible with that utilised by the major cellular companies, SmartSurv Wireless will operate via the network structures of both Vodacom and MTN, the end-user will be entitled to select a preferred service provider. This device is of interest to several industries, none more so than the insurance industry. Clive Sussman, CEO of Associated Insurance Brokers, who, along with fellow director, Jean Gloyne, has provided advice to SmartSurv Wireless from an insurance perspective, believes that this range of wireless products will provide 'extremely valuable' options to brokers. "The availability of a sophisticated, reliable yet inexpensive device provides the broker with an excellent opportunity to serve its clients more comprehensively," Sussman says.

iCat has struck a deal with Netcare's countrywide 082 911 call monitoring system. Within the Netcare call centre at any one time will be a team of SmartTrak trained emergency situation controllers. "The link with Netcare was motivated by two underlying factors," explains Louis. "In the first instance, Netcare has probably the widest coverage of any emergency communication facility in the country. Secondly, by linking to Netcare, should a caller be in a traumatic situation, only one call is necessary because the SmartTrak caller will have immediate access to both trauma and recovery services." There are several aspects and features of SmartTrak that are being held under wraps for competitive reasons, but Louis emphasised that design work was ongoing and new additions would be made from time to time, "if for no other reason than to keep us one step ahead of the competition." Hardware and software is by TrakM8 of the UK, modem connectivity is by Sony Ericsson, Vodacom and MTN provide the network backbone, the call centre and trauma provision is by Netcare 911, asset recovery is by ITA and installation will be by Pro Fit.

For more information contact Dean Louis, iCat, 021 529 4600.

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