My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: How Digicel Asset Tracking heralds Jamaica Post Drone Package Delivery in 2016

Sunday, December 20, 2015

How Digicel Asset Tracking heralds Jamaica Post Drone Package Delivery in 2016

“We are always investing in new solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud services to enable our customers to benefit from the latest innovation in technology, achieve better operational efficiencies and create new business opportunities. In this regard, we continue to work with innovative, global partners to build and deliver these new products and solutions”

Group COO for business solutions/ICT at Digicel Martin Carroll commenting on the launch of Digicel Asset Tracking

Tracking the location of your parcels just got an upgrade in Jamaica, thanks to Digicel.

On Wednesday December 16th 2016 officially announced that they had launched a new service dubbed Digicel Asset Tracking as reported in the article “Digicel launches asset-tracking service”, published Wednesday, December 16, 2015 by Avia Collinder, The Jamaica Observer.

Digicel Asset Tracking will allow fleet managers of various organization to track:

1.      Fleets of Vehicles
2.      Parcels

The aim of this service is to enable clients to:

1.      ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival Projections thereby reducing Employee's idling on the Road
2.      Efficient Fleet Management for Large Deliver and Service Companies
3.      Provide GPS Services for Lost Drivers 

The technology behind their service is powered by the partner Dublin, Ireland based Fleet Management company f6, who had announced the Vehicle Tracking product in March 2014 as reported in my blog article entitled “Irish f6 and Digicel Business partner to offer Fleet Management and Vehicle Tracking Services”.

Digicel Asset Tracking utilizes Digicel’s Cloud servers to deliver Vehicle and parcel tracking services to their various clients as reported in the article “Digicel Business launches Asset Tracking”, published 2015-12-04, Digicel via Go-Jamaica.

This service comes at a time when GPS satellites are slowly being upgraded since 2013 by the US Air Force. They had granted a US$200 million contract to Lockheed Martin to upgrade the current GPS Network with their 5th and 6th Generation Global Positioning System satellites, known as GPS III as reported in the article “U.S. Air Force Awards Lockheed Martin Contract to Complete Two More GPS III Satellites”, published December 16, 2013, Lockheed Martin.

GPS III promises faster, more precise real time tracking services as the video below explains. Upgrades will have increase signal strength and tracking accuracy within 1 meter square by the year 2020 when the upgrade will be completed.

The only difference between the announcement back then and now is the inclusion of parcel tracking, suggesting that the tracking device is the size of a small candybar cellphone to quote Group COO for business solutions/ICT at Digicel Martin Carroll: “You can also monitor something as simple as a parcel by just placing it inside the parcel”.

So how does their GPS Vehicle and asset tracking Service work?

Introducing Digicel Asset Tracking – How GPS Tracking works

The service works using a GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) module that tracks the location of the vehicle or package. The module can either be installed inside the vehicle with its own battery supply or even be more portable than that, as it can also be powered by the cigarette lighter in your vehicle.

It then continuously transmits the location data received from the GPS Satellites. this data is then send over a 3G or 4G or even GPRS (Global Packet Radio Service) to f6's servers which then routes it to the client, either via a browser interface or an app on their smartphone.

Digicel Asset Tracking, albeit sophisticated is already a service baked into your smartphone as explained in my blog article entitled “How to track any Google Android, Apple iPhone or Samsung smartphone that has GPS and Internet activated”. 

So clearly, their services are not being aimed at the regular customer on the street.

So who are Digicel's potential clients?

Digicel Asset Tracking clients – Drone Deliveries on the horizon

According to their Press Release, Digicel Asset Tracking, a subsection of Digicel Business, is aimed at the following potential clients:

1.      Enterprise
2.      Corporate
3.      Government Institution
4.      MSME's
5.      Car Rentals
6.      Equiptment Rentals
7.      Transportation and logistics
8.      Construction Public services

According to my sources the JUTC AVL (Automatic Vehicle Locator) service as described in my blog article entitled “JUTC's AVL and Chaos on Back to School Day – How JUTC's Automatic Vehicle locator may placate Smartphone toting Commuters who ask Are we There Yet” was implemented using Digicel Asset Tracking hardware and software.

So already, they may have a client in the field using their technology. Does Digicel Asset Tracking have competition in Jamaica?

Digicel Asset Tracking competitors -  FLOW Jamaica is a competitor along with Security Companies

Digicel Asset Tracking has competitors as they are not alone; they're entering a crowded field with other competitors:

1.      Guardsman via its subsidiary ClearChannel now Guardsman Alarms 
2.      KingAlarm in partnership with Telecom Provider Digicel as noted on King Alarm's Website
3.      Hawkeye Electronics Security Limited service HawkTracker via their own private Network
4.      PBS Tracking and Motor Vehicle Security
5.      Safe and Secure Tracking and Technologies, a subsidiary of POGAS Fourth World Investments

Good to know that even FLOW Jamaica, formerly LIME, has an interest in this field via their partnership with Guardsman Alarms as noted in the article “Guardsman launches car tracking system”, published Wednesday, 28 January 2004 by the Jamaica Observer, Archived by TechJamaica.

So Digicel will be competing not only against these five (5) fairly large players, but also again their old nemesis in Telecoms, FLOW Jamaica. So how does Digicel plan to compete against these established giants?

Digicel Asset Tracking plan – Parcel Tracking for Postal Corporation of Jamaica Drone Delivery Service

To differentiate themselves, Digicel Asset Tracking plans to offer parcel tracking as well. This implies that they’re tracking parcels delivered via a secure courier, most likely 1 day delivery for clients that use secure private courier services.

This suggests they’re eyeing Drone Delivery services coming to Jamaica in the future.

Already there are plans to make the Postal Corporation of Jamaica aka Jamaica Post more mobile as announced in March 2015 in my blog article entitled “Postal Corporation of Jamaica Goes Mobile - How Mobile Postal Offices might incorporate Autonomous Drone Delivery”. 

According to my sources in the Government of Jamaica, this will involved the use of Mobile post offices using LPG Gas as well as Drones as predicted in my blog article entitled “SingPost Postal Package Delivery Drones - Why Postal Corporation of Jamaica Mini-Drone Airports for Jamaica”. 

If my Government sources, with who I meet, cloak and dagger style, are correct, then in the future, Digicel may form a partnership with the Jamaica Post to enable Drone Deliveries within 24 hours, islandwide.  

According to my Government Source, Digicel will not only be providing the tracking and logistics services, possible even using their fleet of Digicel Play vans to recover lost parcels as well as maintain drones lost in the field.  I’ve even got some of my other Call Center sources telling me that GraceKennedy may also be providing Call Center Support for this Drone Delivery Service.

This as GraceKennedy new Call Center, which coincidentally is located in the Jamaica Post headquarters, may actually have the Ministry of Science, Technology Energy and Mining, who are in charge of the Postal Corporation of Jamaica as one of their “third party clients” as noted in my blog article entitled “How to find work in Jamaica at Call Centers - GraceKennedy Call Center necessary for Product Customer Support”.

In summary, Digicel Asset Tracking may have the Jamaica Post, which is part of the Ministry of Science, Technology Energy and Mining, as their first client. Even more interesting, they may also be providing parcel tracking services for the Jamaica Post’s Mobile delivery service using LPG powered vehicles or drones.

Only this time will tell if their vehicle and parcel tracking services will bring peace of mind for fleet managers as well as the Jamaica Post.

Here’s the link:

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