Electronics Production | September 29, 2006
Punch Telematix selects Telit's M2M module
Punch Telematix is implementing the powerful and yet reasonably priced GSM/GPRS module from the Italian M2M specialist Telit in its automotive solution CarBox.
The module's broad range of functions together with the reliable collaboration with Telit met Punch Telematix's high expectations and convinced the Belgian firm to choose Telit. Punch Telematix develops all-in-one solutions enabling transportation, logistics and car rental companies to track and communicate with every vehicle in their entire fleet anywhere and at any time. The secret's solution is the CarBox. This device constitutes the security and fleet management's mobile interface making it the ideal basis for any fleet and field service application. CarBox can be built easily into any vehicle and comprises advanced mobile telematics functions such as a fast-track GPS receiver for positioning and a GSM/GPRS modem for wireless connectivity. Connected to the ignition, this intelligent box transmits data to the back office, keeping it constantly informed of whether the vehicle is moving or parked. Thanks to a connection to the odometer, this device also facilitates mileage monitoring providing the back office with valuable information about how many kilometres the vehicles has already been driven, how much this costs and when the next inspection is due. After all, regular service and maintenance of a car increases its service life and resale value. To satisfy the latest security requirements, the CarBox is equipped with automotive sensors which can detect crashes or when a car is being towed. All events and data are forwarded in real time to the back office via GPRS. A web browser and Internet access are all that is needed to monitor the entire fleet and manage goods on the move over large distances. Firmware updating and programming can be performed remotely. The CarBox consumes very little power and, even in sleep mode, is always available for incoming network requests. To ensure that no information gets lost in the event of GPRS failure or flat batteries, all messages can be buffered. As many businesses have vehicles or other equipment (e.g. containers, trailers and cranes) spread across a region, their fleet managers, risk managers and security service operators need to be kept informed about the whereabouts and condition of these assets. CarBox tracks the movements of all vehicles and goods, compiles comprehensive reports and transmits business-relevant data, e.g. on the position, velocity and start-stop events. All data is automatically collected and processed, thus enabling the recovery of vehicles, products and goods after theft and ensuring driver safety. This helps to answer customer queries on the whereabouts of the goods which are to be delivered, forecast their arrival time exactly and promptly confirm their successful delivery. In addition, it enables optimum resource planning. CarBox allows managers to be immediately informed of abnormalities in their daily business, thereby facilitating improved insurance cost management. Seamless communication is assured - at a fixed price: the Airtime package from Punch Telematix provides the user with a reliable monthly cost calculation - avoiding nasty surprises in the phone bill. To ensure reliable GPRS communication between the CarBox and the back office, Punch Telematix selected Telit's proven GSM/GPRS module GM862. Measuring only 44 x 44 x 6.7 mm and weighing just 23 grams, this extremely temperature-resistant module (-30°C to +80°C) from the Italian M2M expert has proven to be very stable. "The excellent price/performance ratio and the reliable support from the distributor Round Solutions as well as from Telit themselves must not be underestimated," says Mark van Quickelberghe, Director of Product Management at Punch Telematix, outlining the decisive factors for choosing the Telit module. At the start of the collaboration three years ago, Punch Telematix used the GM862-PCS. The company now uses the latest generation of quad-band-enabled Telit modules, the GM862-Quad. Supporting frequency bands ranging from 824 MHz to 1900 MHz, the module can be used anywhere - making it suitable for the American market as well. Additionally, it meets the RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) requirements. According to this directive, which came into force on 1st July 2006, the use of certain substances during the manufacturing process of electronic devices and components is forbidden. "With the GM862, the CarBox is equipped with an extremely powerful GSM/GPRS module which completely satisfies our high demands in terms of functional range and quality. Moreover, Telit has proven to be a very reliable partner. Whenever we had a question we got help right away," says van Quickelberghe.
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