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9/23/2008
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TeleNav Upgrades Its Enterprise GPS Services

The improvements to version 4.1 allow for remote time cards, image capturing, geofencing, and alerts.

TeleNav rolled out some new GPS products Tuesday that could provide businesses with real-time information to better manage their resources.

TeleNav Track, the company's enterprise-grade product, continues to offer businesses navigation services, but the 4.1 version adds remote time cards with which workers can clock in and out from the field, capture images, and be notified of events by an alert system.

These new features could potentially enable a business to save on gas and time. For example, the Team Timecard feature lets a business have one field manager electronically clock in a team of workers, saving the expense of getting individual smartphones. The service can also be used to limit when a mobile workforce can clock in or out, which could help control overtime costs.

There's also a desktop interface for managers to track employees, send out group messages, and more. From here, a manager could better analyze mobile workers' routes to maximize efficiency. There's also a geofencing technology that can automatically update an employee's timecard once they've passed through pre-set boundaries.

The company also introduced an enterprise server that sits behind a company's firewall, and it acts as a broker between the mobile data and the back-end infrastructure. The server is not necessary to integrate with third-party applications like payroll, and dispatch systems, but TeleNav said it shortens the integration time.

The updated service and server are already in use with the city of New York, according to city officials. Mayor Michael Bloomberg wanted to extend the city's 311 services and take a proactive approach to repairing potholes, and other city needs so New York's Street Conditions Observation Unit program was born. The service involved sending employees around the city and reporting problems via a mobile handset. The task of quickly implementing this program fell to Girish Chhugani, the city's executive director of technology initiatives.

Chhugani looked at some competitors' products and decided to use TeleNav's services because it offered the most features to get this program off the ground in a short time period.

"This seemed to be the simplest to implement, as all we had to do was create the forms," Chhugani told InformationWeek. "There were also little things like the built-in time card that were convenient. I didn't find anything else that worked for what we needed, especially in that time frame."

With the service, managers can track city workers' routes and adjust it accordingly, and workers are clocking in and out from the field. Chhugani said the program took about two months to set up.

The server product is priced starting at $3,000 for businesses with 25 to 50 users, and there's a $500 annual maintenance fee. TeleNav Track 4.1 costs $12.95 per user per month, and it's available on multiple BlackBerry, Palm, and Windows Mobile handsets, as well as other phones with Brew and J2ME.

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