What is location tracking?
Geo – If you’ve ever used Google Maps you’re probably familiar with the basics of GPS (Global Positioning Systems). The technology takes the location data of your smartphone and shows you where you are on a map. If your workplace uses job management software you can not only use GPS tracking for directions but also view the real-time location of your whole team. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities while also keeping your team safe, connected and accessible.
How does GPS tracking work?
GPS is the process of collecting information about the earth to use for location and movement tracking. While the overall process can vary between countries the basic gist goes like this:
- Satellites in space collect location information of the earth from all different angles and distances.
- The satellites send this information to GPS receivers on earth, like a car GPS system or a mobile phone.
- The GPS receiver compiles the data and calculates its (and the user’s) current position.
- The device then sends this location to a piece of software or an app.
Usually, mobiles send their GPS calculations over wifi networks, meaning that as long as the phone is on and has a signal, it will track and maintain its location at all times.
What information is able to be tracked through GPS?
As far as what information the satellites pick up, only your location in relation to other locations is tracked. Depending on the kind of software or app you’re using is how that information is displayed and used. For example, Google Maps will only show you your current location but not the location of other people. Whereas job management software may show you the location of everyone in your team who is logged into the software.
Why does job management software use GPS tracking?
GPS mobile tracking gives businesses an extra level of visibility into their team. If you’re out and about completing jobs throughout the day, knowing where you are helps the rest of your team in a number of ways.
- Keeps everyone safe and accountable
Travelling to and from various locations comes with its fair share of risk. If you have a breakdown or an accident and are unable to contact someone right away, you’re basically stranded. GPS tracking allows others to see your location and assist you. This is also great if management needs to check in to see how you’re going. Instead of being interrupted by a call or text they can just look up your location.
- Know ETA’s in real-time
If a customer calls the main office asking when to expect you, GPS allows them to look up your location and ETA. Not only is this more professional but it also means you’re not bothered while behind the wheel.
- Create more efficient schedules
By viewing the locations of your scheduled jobs on a map you can create routes ahead of time and plan out your day more effectively. This means you don’t have to look up locations and wing it throughout the day.
- Recovering a lost/stolen device
If a staff member can’t find their device another team member can simply look up its location and track it down. No more forking out profits for replacement devices.
Isn’t this just spying on workers?
Honestly? No. While GPS and location tracking can appear invasive and a breach of trust between business owners and staff, when you break it down it’s only dots on a map. No other personal details are being traced without you knowing.
There are a few ways to debunk any fear over GPS tracking in your workplace:
- Be transparent
Management should explain to everyone what GPS tracking is and how it works. It’s also worth asking them to show you exactly how everyone’s location is displayed in the software. It’s also important to open the floor for all questions and concerns and instil trust among the team.
- Supply work phones to staff
A big concern is being watched while off the clock. If your workplace supplies you with a separate phone just for work you can switch off at the end of the day and no longer be tracked. This means you can maintain a clear distinction between work and free time.
- Remember the benefits
GPS tracking is not in place to make workers miserable. It’s important to never forget that it’s there to help keep everyone safe and maximise work time as much as possible.
And to be frank, no manager is so obsessed with their workers that they spend their free time looking at dots on a map. They don’t care what you’re up to every second of the day, they just want to know you’re on schedule and safe.
Are all GPS systems the same?
Definitely not! While different software providers and app developers may collect similar data from the same satellites, the quality of the data and how the data is used can vary greatly. If your workplace is considering management software its important to think about what you need it for and what will be the most useful to you.
- The quality of the GPS receiver
There are tons of different companies who manufacture receivers. The kind of phone you have, and the current version of its operating system, can impact how easily you can access and use GPS tracking.
- The features available in the software
As stated earlier, how a software provider uses and displays location data is up to them. Does the software show street names? ETA times? Traffic congestion? Navigation? Can it store destinations you regularly visit? Does it have voice commands? All these features may or may not be included so it’s worth checking.
- How often the data updates
The earth is constantly changing! New buildings appear, street names change and customers might move offices. Using out-of-date satellite information could lead to all kinds of mistakes and delays to your workday. That’s why it’s important to check if your management software is constantly updating its information.
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