1. mobiusp's Avatar
    Dear Blackberry community,

    I hoping some on here can help [warning long post]. I’m looking for a corporate quality Blackberry Tracking system. I’ve been searching and trialling a few potentials but have not yet found something suitable. Below is a list of requirements, a little idealistic yes, but our reference barometer nonetheless from which we can make trade-offs.

    • Tracking application that can run in background (with employee knowledge)
    • Track employees a dozen or so times a day
    • Web mapping interface for the management, able to collate/present phones in groups (in our case per department). Also view phone history between two dates/times
    • Minimal drain on battery – Blackberries are already being used heavily
    • Tracking information assurance – save data until it can be sent
    • Tolerant of other uses of the phone e.g. making calls and accessing internet
    • Ability to host our own service – phones talk to a server/database within our firewall
    • Have a published API/service so we can integrate with our other corporate systems
    • Scalable to 10’s of thousands of phones
    • Support Blackberries with internal GPS and Bluetooth GPS ‘pucks’
    • Support other phones also including Android G1 and Nokia


    From our own research and looking over the various posts on this forum most are free (not good for us as they close down and have no longevity), drain our batteries within 12 – 24 hours (constant tracking), unreliable crashing when doing other things (making calls), are heavy on data, provide very bad anomalies with coordinates (sometimes 100’s of miles away from actual locations, especially when in buildings) and none allow us to host the backend bit as we require for corporate use.

    I’d be interest if anyone has first hand experience of a system they would recommend and I’ll investigate them further. We’ve looked at alternatives like bespoke tracking boxes that fit in your pocket but that’s just another device employees will carry, another mobile subscription and something else to charge!

    Thanks in advance – I’ll still be searching…
    Last edited by mobiusp; 01-26-09 at 02:53 PM. Reason: typo
    01-26-09 02:51 PM
  2. lakepark's Avatar
    mobiusp,

    watchoverme.co.uk is a popular corporate tracking product. They only support Blackberry at the moment but a colleague of mine is a beta tester for a Android G1 version so expect that soon.

    I think I remember reading another corporate tracking recommendation somewhere on here a couple of month back but can't find it at the moment. Do a search and see.

    --------
    Stu.
    02-07-09 02:59 PM
  3. emacf1's Avatar
    Hello,

    well I have just browsed though your requirement list - and I would like to add few comments...

    First of all the main work from the software development point of view is the ServerSide Backend (the Webapplication) - the BB part is very small and could (as you have written in your requirements) be ported to other mobile devices easily (like Andriod)...

    So my suggestion to you is, that you split the "project" into two parts - the mobile device part and the backend...

    That are the features of the mobile devices:
    • Tracking application that can run in background (with employee knowledge)
    • Track employees a dozen or so times a day
    • Minimal drain on battery Blackberries are already being used heavily
    • Tracking information assurance save data until it can be sent
    • Tolerant of other uses of the phone e.g. making calls and accessing internet
    • Support Blackberries with internal GPS and Bluetooth GPS pucks
    • Support other phones also including Android G1 and Nokia


    Server Side (WebApp):
    • Web mapping interface for the management, able to collate/present phones in groups (in our case per department). Also view phone history between two dates/times
    • Ability to host our own service phones talk to a server/database within our firewall
    • Have a published API/service so we can integrate with our other corporate systems
    • Scalable to 10s of thousands of phones


    I would like to focus the discussion at the mobile device side - and there to the things that are IMHO possible (and what would be just a dream)...

    Minimal drain on battery Blackberries are already being used heavily
    That is a big issue indeed - actually I have the same experience when the BB build in GPS Antenna is active the battery is draining down in less the 24h...

    A possible solution would be, that the "to develop" app will only launch a scheduler and the "real app" (that get the location and send it to the central server) will be running for a few minutes...

    Tracking information assurance save data until it can be sent
    This could be solved in the same way - the "real app" will run as long, as it can receive/read GPS data and have successfully transmitted to the server side

    Tolerant of other uses of the phone e.g. making calls and accessing internet
    sorry I do not have experience with this - do you have a bit more details about this? - What kind of applications did you tried before? - where that BB-Only apps - or JavaMidlet's? [that could be an important difference] (and the main reason why I have written my "own" GPSLogger App)

    Support Blackberries with internal GPS and Bluetooth GPS pucks
    also no experience with this - but actually it's planed for GPSLogger to support bluetooth devices as well

    Support other phones also including Android G1 and Nokia
    Support for Android devices could be quite easy - since it's also a Java based OS (afaik)... for Nokia you might be forced to switch to a Midlet implementation (which might cause again trouble with default Phone functionalities)

    Matthias
    02-08-09 09:41 AM
  4. JKMach's Avatar
    Good day mobiusp,

    I work for a company that does GPS tracking and can match a lot of your criteria.

    • Tracking application that can run in background (with employee knowledge)
      -This is already developed
    • Track employees a dozen or so times a day
      -Reports are done on a periodic basis or predetermined criteria.
    • Web mapping interface for the management, able to collate/present phones in groups (in our case per department). Also view phone history between two dates/times
      -Mapping is possible with our software, however phone history has not been developed.
    • Minimal drain on battery Blackberries are already being used heavily
      -Addressed below.
    • Tracking information assurance save data until it can be sent
      -Currently not in place, it will report if it can get a fix, otherwise it will say it is a failed report and will try again. This is based on the preset criteria of when reports should occur.
    • Tolerant of other uses of the phone e.g. making calls and accessing internet
      -The application has no effect on making calls or accessing the internet.
    • Ability to host our own service phones talk to a server/database within our firewall
      -Our enterprise solution allows you to host all data internally (provided you have a public IP that the blackberries can report to forwarded to the internal server.
    • Have a published API/service so we can integrate with our other corporate systems
      -Will need to be discussed.
    • Scalable to 10s of thousands of phones
      -We have stress tested our product to receive 5000 entities reporting @ 30 second intervals without failing.
    • Support Blackberries with internal GPS and Bluetooth GPS pucks
      -We support a wide range of products as listed on our website. We currently have a 8330 that I use on a regular basis that works perfectly fine as well as the Bold which we have tested as well.
    • Support other phones also including Android G1 and Nokia
      -Again it will depend on the phones that are in use.



    The battery drain issue is something that is very difficult to work around even with normal to heavy phone usage because the application is running in the background of the phone. Reporting parameters can be extended so that it does not drain it too much more, but if you are interested you can check out the company I work for @ www dot itracksolutions dot com. (I am still a new user to this site so it will not allow me to post links directly.
    02-11-09 12:21 PM
  5. razorz's Avatar
    Check out Corrigo and TeleNav track

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    02-11-09 08:03 PM
  6. mobiusp's Avatar
    lakepark, emacf1, JKMach, razorz,

    Thanks for the information and recommendations. I'm going to look in to all of these.
    02-13-09 01:43 PM
  7. fstbusa's Avatar
    instamapper sounds like it could work for the time being as a tracking software. It can be set up to run in the background and run each time the device starts. It also has an adjustable timed interval in which it reports back its location.

    As far as being a wide implemented within a huge corporation setting.... I guess will have to be determined by someone other than myself.
    03-07-09 08:08 PM
  8. mobiusp's Avatar
    It's been a while, but I thought I'd let you know how we got on procuring and deploying our chosen system.

    One of the recommendations above, WatchOverMe, ended up being our selected system. It was the only one we trialled that could scale to our requirements and run within our high security encrypted lock-down configuration.

    For security we are forced to own all our data, nothing is to leave our encrypted enclave. For this we deployed the Watchberry tracking servers within our own firewall on virtualised load-balanced hardware. Once our IT guys understood the components they managed to set the system to work quite quickly as we already had a little experience with virtual machines on a previous project.

    Our main business information system is able to pull through the tracking data using a published web service from our tracking servers. Joining these two systems was of great benefit and kept our management very happy.

    It's taken us much longer than anticipated to research and trial solutions. Now just on three months in we're very happy with the result.

    So thanks for all your feedback on this thread as it stopped us giving up and outsourcing a bespoke solution.
    09-08-09 04:02 PM
LINK TO POST COPIED TO CLIPBOARD