2/18/2010 11:26:00 AM
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
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 Â£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
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
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
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
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
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
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.