1/7/2004 - Trimble (NASDAQ:TRMB) introduced the world's most practical and affordable location device for consumer-oriented automotive applications-the TrimTracTM locator. With its low cost, small size and battery-powered operation, the TrimTrac locator is a complete end-user device that allows location-based service providers and system integrators to provide personal vehicle monitoring services to a broader range of subscribers.
The TrimTrac locator will be showcased at International CES, the world's largest consumer technology show.
Priced at two to five times lower than other comparable devices on the market today, the TrimTrac locator enables cost-effective automatic position reporting for personal vehicle monitoring, security and theft recovery. The device can also support select roadside assistance and concierge services with application server and call center capabilities provided by third-party service providers.
Trimble also announced a marketing and distribution agreement with Topp Data Solutions, headquartered in Miami, Fla., to offer the TrimTrac locator as part of its location-based services product line.
"Topp is very excited to work with Trimble to take this innovative location device to our mass market distribution partners," said Jaime R. Topp, Topp Group president and COO. "Adding TrimTrac to our SkyPatrol Asset Location Service offering will expand our presence in the commercial and consumer markets with its aggressive pricing. We see this relationship as the first step in bringing affordable peace of mind and asset tracking services to the mass market in the U.S. and abroad."
"The TrimTrac locator represents a tight integration of GPS and GSM technology to drive down size, power consumption and cost while providing application appropriate functionality," said, William Dussell, director of integrated products of Trimble's Component Technologies Division. "We chose GSM since it has the most extensive global coverage of any wireless air interface and we believe the TrimTrac locator is an ideal solution for the vehicle security and monitoring markets."
Compact and Affordable
The TrimTrac locator is a compact end-user device about the size of a white board eraser, which operates on 4 AA alkaline batteries. It is packaged in a durable, water-resistant housing that weighs only 3.6 ounces without batteries. Inside, a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver and tri-band Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) modem are integrated onto a single board and controlled by a common microprocessor. This high level of integration enables the device's small footprint, low cost and enhanced functionality. The TrimTrac locator periodically transmits position reports while the device is in motion, typically at 15-minute intervals, and then reports its last position once the vehicle has stopped. This promotes power efficiency and also reduces recurring communications costs. In addition, the device can be signaled to change the reporting frequency according to the application or end-user requirements.
The TrimTrac locator can be placed almost anywhere inside a vehicle passenger compartment--in a glove box or under the seat. The battery-powered device requires no external antennas or connections, unless the optional vehicle adapter module is used to connect to vehicle power. This flexibility greatly reduces or eliminates the need for expensive installations. The enhanced GPS sensitivity of the TrimTrac locator permits placement of the device in areas where conventional GPS may not work. It can be easily concealed inside a vehicle to prevent tampering or unauthorized removal, but still can be removed quickly.
Broad Coverage with GPS and GSM Technology
The TrimTrac locator uses GPS and GSM, the leading wireless communications technology with the largest geographical coverage and greatest number of subscribers. The locator device offers not only world-class, automotive-grade GPS performance, but features an enhanced GPS sensitivity mode that allows it to operate in some indoor environments and other places where traditional GPS receivers may not work. TrimTrac supports three major GSM frequency bands: 900, 1800 MHz (DCS) worldwide and 1900 MHz (PCS) in the U.S. where GSM coverage is comparable to other leading digital wireless standards. To optimize the TrimTrac locator's battery life and provide secure low-cost data transmission, periodic position and status reports are sent as SMS (short messaging service) text messages over the GSM network.
The TrimTrac locator incorporates GSM Protocol Stack software from TTPCom Ltd. Headquartered in Cambridge, England, TTPCom is one of the world's leading independent suppliers of digital wireless technology. The company's Protocol Stack software has approvals with over 70 major network operators across Europe, Asia, America and Australia.
Extended Performance with Power Options
Trimble's TrimTrac locator can operate for up to 90 days on 4 AA alkaline batteries during normal use with up to ten reports per day. A removable battery pack provides easy, low-cost maintenance and operation with the device automatically reporting battery levels. For applications that require position reports more frequently than what the batteries can support, the TrimTrac locator can be connected to external power by using the optional Vehicle Adapter Module. This plug-in module replaces the standard battery pack and operates off vehicle power for permanent installations. It includes a stand-by, rechargeable battery for continued position reporting if vehicle power is disconnected. In the event of vehicle theft, where disconnecting the vehicle's main battery often silences car alarms, the TrimTrac locator provides an extra measure of protection by quickly sending a status message and continuing to report position.
In addition, the Vehicle Adapter Module will allow the TrimTrac locator to monitor up to two external binary switch inputs to expand the number of applications that service providers can offer. For instance, TrimTrac can monitor other on-board systems and devices, such as car alarms and driver-operated switches, to report status and modify its operation. Additional security measures can be added, such as automatic notification and frequent position reporting in the event that a car alarm is armed or triggered, vehicle power is disconnected, or the driver activates a switch.
The TrimTrac locator is expected to be GCF (Global Certification Forum) and PTCRB (PCS Type Certification Review Board) approved and available in the first quarter of 2004.
Located in Miami, Florida, Topp Data Solutions is a business unit under The Topp Group umbrella, an ISO 9002-certified company with over 43 years of consumer electronics experience. The key elements of Topp Groups business are Topp Consumer Products, which provides turnkey distribution solutions including forward / reverse logistics, repair and remanufacturing to consumer electronics manufacturers; Topp Service Solutions, which works with cellular manufacturers and cellular operators to provide authorized repair service and support for the entire logistics chain; and Topp Data Solutions, an authorized business partner and distributor for many key industry manufacturers and developers in the areas of telematics and telemetry wireless data products, wireless applications and location services. The driving factors in Topp's business philosophies are, preserving the manufacturer's brand, providing excellent service and above all the flexibility to meet the many unique demands created by the different needs of each manufacturer and market.
For more information about Topp visit: www.toppcompanies.com.
Trimble is a leading innovator of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. In addition to providing advanced GPS components, Trimble augments GPS with other positioning technologies as well as wireless communications and software to create complete customer solutions. Trimble's worldwide presence and unique capabilities position the Company for growth in emerging applications including surveying, automobile navigation, machine guidance, asset tracking, wireless platforms, and telecommunications infrastructure. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., Trimble has more than 2,000 employees in more than 20 countries worldwide.
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