Romex ready to track smartphone explosion

Romex ready to track smartphone explosion
Romex sales director Jason Laight has great confidence in the company's new tracking technology, which operates through a mobile phone.

The technology can be used via Romex's Myfix application, which allows employers to track staff when they are out and about and to assign jobs based on their location. For example, it could be used by courier companies and cab firms. Romex is aiming to sell the app through distributors.

Laight's confidence is apparent from the way he talks about investment and development; he is quick to highlight that £1.5m has been invested in the business since 2008.

Analyst firm Strategy Analytics recently claimed that smartphone sales were up 30% in Q4 2009 in comparison with the same period the year before, and Laight's determination is fuelled by this ongoing boom of smartphone sales.

Laight explains: 'The Myfix application has been designed for the smartphone market. We have built an app to sit on the back of that surge in hardware.

'If the smartphone market keeps growing at the rate it is, it is only good news for us.'

The good news for Romex is that the majority of manufacturers are now including GPS as standard on smartphone devices - its tracking systems also use GPS - which means the market is growing.

The Romex tracking system is aimed at a wide audience. Laight explains: 'Romex covers the logistics marketplace all the way to the "shiny" handset market.'

And to cover all its bases, Romex has invested in developing its application to run on three operating systems: Windows, Symbian and BlackBerry. It has already become a BlackBerry alliance member.

Laight is keen to emphasise the accuracy of the system and the advantages of using GPS as the main tracking tool. He says: 'The application interrogates the GPS every five seconds and from that the customer gets very accurate information.'

But is it fair for employees' whereabouts to be monitored to that degree? Laight's answer is that the application is about effectively managing employees, automating processes and protecting staff.

Romex is acutely aware of the privacy implications of having the application on a phone.
However, Laight explains that those complications have been thought through and tracking information is sophisticated enough to categorise the information it collects.

The application has the ability to detect when a person is walking, driving and at what speed. It can then split the information into 'business' or 'private'. Working hours are registered on the application and any information collected out of working hours - such
as locations travelled to - remains private.

When the application is in full swing, employers can monitor their staff's activity through an online portal that can be accessed anywhere, and employees' locations are shown on Google Maps.

Another feature of the application is that it allows employers to mark out sites on Google Maps that are related to work, called 'geo-sites', and the application will notify them when an employee is not in the right place.

Laight believes there are many 'verticals' available for the product, which will be pushed through channel partners.

The company started recruiting in March 2009 and has already enlisted 45 channel partners spread across the country. Over the next year, one of its key aims will be to tell more channel partners about the product with the aim of recruiting them as sellers.

The advantages for a new partner distributing the product are that it 'makes existing customers' business stickier and it gives the dealer an opportunity to get through the door and talk to them', says Laight.

And one of the selling points is the low installation cost. In-car tracking has been around for several years, but is often based on 'black-box systems' installed in vehicles. Laight says Romex's solution 'takes away installation costs, hardware and subscription costs'.

The product is available on three different tiers for customers who want varying degrees of tracking ability.

Romex is also now looking at lone worker solutions, as it believes it will increase health and safety. One of the key features will be an alarm button, which allows employees such as care workers to notify their employer when they feel they could be in a risky situation.

The alarm system is supported by a 24/7 call centre that will take the necessary steps if a warning is triggered.

Laight claims there is a fair amount of traction growing for the product in the blue-collar market as professionals in the insurance industry and public sector increasingly look to their employers for some sort of safeguard.

As dealers look for more products to sell to their customers and move towards convergence as a way to retain customers, applications could be the next step to make that happen. Businesses and organisations across the board are looking at efficiency, and maybe Romex's Myfix is one way of doing that. The company has already started
to carve a niche for itself in the market.
Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today

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