Travel tracking for business travellers was first introduced over a decade ago, prior to 2005. At the time, online, cloud based and mobile applications were nearly non-existent. Not to mention the fact that the smartphone revolution was yet to start, with Blackberry the dominant business email communications device for travellers. It therefore debuted, limited by the technology of its time. In many cases though, it has not evolved since.
Then – The First Travel Tracking
The first travel tracking systems “scraped” a traveller’s itinerary details from their travel booking details, primarily the Global Data System [GDS] used by the corporate travel management company [TMC]. This was often a ‘back door’ solution, taking what at the time was ‘free’ data already paid for by the company/TMC and repurposing it as travel tacking in the form of a map. It only took information based on what was “supposed” to happen on the journey. Not what actually happened nor any alterations not channeled through the GDS. It took a little while but the GDS providers and TMC’s realised they had missed the opportunity and revenue now directly taken by these travel tracking products and providers and quickly started implementing data usage fees for the information.
In order for the system to work, everyone had to be 100% vigilant and current with their data, technology and updates of the system or individual travellers. This was rarely the case and increasing minority reports started to appear as volume and travel increased.
The set up and technical nature of these first travel tracking systems was significant, with the cost past back onto the business, which was often substantial. Not to mention, businesses often had to buy one or more products before they we offered this ‘enhanced’ service, making it a solution only for the most cashed up companies or most determined to have access to this service/technology. Some companies that rushed into this boom market or sought to steal market share often never made a profit and ultimately gave the service away as a “loss leader’ or gateway conversion for other products/services.
The data taken, stored and displayed by these systems was essentially a spreadsheet scraped from a calendar and city database. Evidence of this was found when conducting a search of a location, flight or traveller which was then displayed and printed in a spreadsheet. This spreadsheet was essentially what then displayed the location on a proprietary mapping software, also paid for by the client in one way or another.
All this seemed impressive and high-tech until Google and Apple came along and changed the world…and starting giving it away for free!
Now – When Know Where You Are….Right This Second
Google came along and converted hundreds of millions of fixed locations, taken from a spreadsheet and displayed them on a map. They called it Google Maps. This in turned spawned an explosion of software and systems willing and able to capture and display fixed information on a spreadsheet. Then came navigation, then mobile location updates, then smart phones, then satellite navigation integration. All within a few years. What did these first travel tracking system do in the wake of these ground breaking technology developments. Not much really! They still took increasingly expensive or already paid for data from a calendar/travel booking and displayed it on a map….and charged a lot of money for it.
Apple then came a long and produced the first iPhone and soon smartphones where not exclusive to business travellers but now in the hands of teenagers and primary school children. Applications then exploded…with an entry price of $0.99…or free! Apple then made some strategic applications and it released its own mapping software and high tech integrations. History repeated and more applications and integrations were then spawned. What did the corporate travel world do? Many refused to allow iPhones to be event allowed in the work environment. What did many business travellers do? They flocked by the millions to free and cheap travel applications such as WorldMate and TripIt, despite expensive, restrictive and enterprise travel management purchases or agreements.
A ten year old can share their location and second-by-second movements with friends, family and even strangers….for free. They do not have to sign up for a year long commercial, enterprise agreement. They do not have to pay for software developers or programmers to connect them to their friends. The don’t need to use a company provided or approved device. They do not have to even travel or share a calendar but above all else, their specific location [not what their diary or calendar says they plan to do] is updated in real time, using multiple technology options, is shared as/when needed.
Travel Safety Monitoring
Travel safety monitoring and support is now what you want it to be. It is cheap, quickly available, does not take months of tendering to select and you control what is/isn’t shared. It can share location, status and assist in the mobile activity of worker’s routine movements, domestic or international travel. It is scalable, individual and sharable based on your needs and requirements. All available on the device of your choice, that you mostly likely have in your hand or pocket 90% of the time. You can even download and install it AFTER you need it in an emergency situation. It can also have nothing to do with travel or travel management.
Travel Safety Monitoring – http://travelsafetymonitoring.com/