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Track 'Em Down

Keep an eye on your employees in the field.

Where are your people? Have they made that sales call, delivered that part? GPS-enabled wireless communication devices from companies like DCS ( and @Road ( can give you precise answers to these and more questions on vehicle, personnel and inventory whereabouts. Ranging from $500 to $1,500, these devices can give you the miles, speed and route a vehicle has taken, and even the duration of a service call.

Up to
of all 911 calls from cell phones are dialed by mistake.

The information is broadcast over cell phone data bands to the Web, where you can see reports and map views on data that help analyze routing, gas usage and vehicle maintenance schedules. Vehicle tracking verifies the duration of a service call, and some systems include messaging and in-vehicle navigation. The principal benefit, though, is knowing the location of employees and equipment .

"The tools will get better," says Larry Waller, chief technology officer at DCS, "but the management aspect of being able to ensure that your assets are being put to their highest use will always be primary." For cheaper solutions, check out our "Wheels" column.

Mike Hogan is Entrepreneur's technology editor. Write him at

This story appears in the March 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »