Fleet News

Telematics boom as new bureaux open

TWO new telematics-based vehicle tracking and fleet management information bureaux have opened in the UK as Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott hails the technology's key role in solving Britain's traffic crisis.

Global Telematics launched its Chessington-based Orchid Response Centre for the 24/7 tracking and fleet management of vehicles, while Cybit, claiming to be Britain's first telematics super-bureau, has moved into a 400,000sq ft building with the capacity for 50 staff in the Cambridgeshire town of Godmanchester.

In the next two years a national Traffic Control Centre will open transmitting up-to-the-minute advice on which route to use if there are problems on the network. A Traffic Information Highway will also be established which will provide data for use by the public and commercial companies - such as Trafficmaster and Global Telematics - providing services to drivers and transport operators.

The Orchid centre has around 20 operators waiting to receive calls from subscribers via a dedicated telephone number for details ranging from traffic and travel information including road conditions and weather to re-routing assistance to information on banks, restaurants, petrol stations and tourist attractions.

Orchid customers include Allied Pickfords, Parcelforce Worldwide, Smiths Distribution, Unifleet, Anglian Construction, Lee & Plumpton, Oxfordshire County Council and Avis Imperial.

Commercial director Richard Horsman said: 'This market is about to explode. We are growing very rapidly and the range of our services will increase tremendously.'

Later this year Global Telematics expects to expand its fleet management service to encompass the delivery of congestion-busting information direct to fleet managers, who will then pass details on to drivers.

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