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How GPS Tracking Technology Exposed a Major E-Waste Problem

2 Jan

As technology has become a more and more essential part of our daily lives over the last few years, it has actually given rise to a fairly significant problem that must be solved sooner rather than later: e-waste. According to the experts at Earth911.com, e-waste is an issue that is only going to get worse before it gets better. The United States alone discards about 9.4 million tons of electronic waste every year. Only about 12.5% of that total is ever recycled. According to the EPA, there are 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver and an incredible 75 pounds of gold that can be recovered from every one million cell phones – provided that they’re properly disposed of, that is.

One nonprofit organization based out of Seattle is turning toward technology itself in an attempt to combat this issue head-on. A two-year investigation into electronics recycling was recently conducted using GPS tracking and similar devices to try to uncover the extent of the problem we now face as a society. The results were, in a word, startling.

The Basel Action Network (BAN)

The Basel Action Network used GPS tracking devices for two full years in an attempt to find out not only how much e-waste is being created on a regular basis, but where these items are actually ending up if they’re NOT headed for a recycling center. What they revealed was more than alarming – nearly 33% of all devices that are supposed to be recycled are often exported to developing countries around the world. Much of that equipment is then dismantled –  often by child labor – in an effort to acquire the valuable gold and other materials inside.

The major issue that this poses is one of health concerns. Not only does this type of work endanger the workers themselves, but it can also be a threat to their families and can even contaminate the areas surrounding the shops and the local environment.

The two-year investigation began after representatives from BAN noticed that, despite the fact that statistics associated with e-waste exports were dropping, the actual problem itself didn’t seem to be getting any better. After a careful analysis of the situation, they recommended to the federal government that GPS tracking devices be used to monitor e-waste as it moves from its origin to its destination – a recommendation that was largely ignored at the time. At that point, BAN decided that the best course of action to take would be to just do it themselves.

The Power of GPS

BAN representatives installed 200 GPS trackers into equipment that was delivered to e-waste recycling stations across the United States. What they found was that a huge volume of devices was being exported out of the United States almost immediately – roughly 65 of the 200 devices made their way out of the country. Of those, BAN estimated that 62 of them were shipped illegally. Most interestingly, it was revealed that e-waste recycling drop-off points were NOT the only source of this problem. Some of the tracked devices originated from Goodwill or other second-hand stores, while a few started their journey at major US retailers. The problem existed across ALL categories.

BAN revealed that Hong Kong has long been one of the major access points for e-waste into the rest of the world and “e-waste facilities” are now cropping up there in greater numbers all the time. Though BAN’s investigation does not solve the problem, it’s unique use of GPS technology sheds valuable light on an issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Not only can it help curb child labor issues around the world, but it can also help make sure that these devices are disposed of properly before they have a chance to cause potentially irreparable damage to the environment at large.

 

Want to Know What Your Cat is Up to at Night? Let a GPS Tracker Tell the Tale

12 Dec

If you made a list of all the qualities that people love about cats, their fierce independence would undoubtedly be right at the top. Dogs are inherently lovable, but seem to want constant attention during every waking hour. Cats love attention, too – but decidedly on their own terms. When a cat is done with you, it’s well and truly done – and it will go off to do… whatever it is that cats do… until the time comes when it remembers it loves you once again.

Because of this, cats tend to wander. When you realize that there are between six and eight hours each night where you’re completely asleep when your cat could be getting into who-knows-what kind of trouble, it might be cause for alarm. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be any longer, thanks to the wonders of modern technology. If you really want to know what your cat is getting up to at night, you can let GPS trackers tell the tail (pun very much intended).

The iTrail GPS Logger

If your cat is the type that likes to wander outdoors at night, always to return in the morning, the iTrail GPS Logger is the perfect tool for you. Thanks to its compact design, it can go anywhere – even comfortably inside your cat’s collar. With 40 hour battery life, this beautiful little GPS logger can keep track of your cat’s activities all night long. It’s even water resistant, allowing it to operate perfectly in just about all weather conditions. You can retrieve the GPS logger in the morning, plug it into your computer and find out exactly where your cat went while you were unaware.

STI-GL-300WT Wearable GPS Tracker System

For those looking for a solution a bit more advanced, the STI-GL-300WT will be right up your alley. This is also a wearable GPS tracker system, making it perfect for comfortably attaching to your cat before their night of adventure begins. With a two week battery life, you don’t have to worry about charging it. The key feature that cat lovers will enjoy is the fact that it allows for real-time tracking over an Internet connection. If you suddenly realize that you can’t find your cat, you’re never more than just a few quick mouse clicks away seeing their current location. You can even get phone and email alerts automatically sent to you so that you don’t have to worry about missing a thing.

The STI_GL300 Real-Time GPS Tracker

Finally, we have the STI-GL300 Real-Time GPS Tracker, another wearable device perfect for keeping a (virtual) eye on your cat all throughout the night. This unit also has a two week battery life and offers real-time tracking functionality over the Internet. At any given moment you can pull up the app on your smartphone or tablet and see exactly where your cat is and what they’re getting up to.

The thing that all of these devices share is their compact nature. They’re powerful devices, yet small enough to avoid hurting the cat or otherwise stopping it from doing whatever it wants to. Not that there is really any way to stop a cat from doing whatever it wants at all times, it would seem.

These are just a few of the key GPS trackers that you can use to get to the bottom of just what it is that cats do at night. Keep in mind, however, that cats are fiercely protective of their own privacy. It’s the cost of owning such an independent animal, so if you’re worried about accidentally creating trust issues between you and your furry little friend we may suggest some more covert surveillance options instead. Cats are also incredibly smart, so be sure you make the right choice as you don’t want to be discovered.

 

GPS Trackers Are a Form of Search and Seizure, as per the Supreme Court

5 Dec

GPS tracking has become so advanced and so affordable that just about anyone with a few hundred dollars can keep a watchful eye on someone if they want to badly enough. Even local and federal law enforcement agencies are getting in on the action, regularly using sophisticated GPS trackers to monitor unsuspecting targets as they go about their days. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, however, this may be a “bridge too far,” so to speak — a recent ruling indicated that GPS trackers are a form of search and seizure, and using one without following the proper procedures could be a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The Supreme Court

In the case of Torrey Dale Grady v. North Carolina, the Supreme Court essentially took a bold step toward updating the Fourth Amendment to take into consideration the advanced technology now on display in government agencies around the country. Though the case itself was returned to the North Carolina high court, the Supreme Court did take the opportunity to unanimously rule on the GPS tracking technology itself. Simply put, they indicated that if a law enforcement or other government official places a GPS tracker on someone’s person, in their car or on any other personal item they have, it counts as a search — end of story.

A senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group keeping a watchful eye on the technology that watches citizens each day, was very pleased with the decision. Asked about the case, Jennifer Lynch said, “It doesn’t matter what the context is, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a car or a person. Putting that tracking device on a car or a person is a search.”

The case itself is actually extremely interesting because GPS tracking was not done without Torrey Dale Grady’s knowledge. In 2013, Grady was ordered by a judge in North Carolina to wear a GPS monitor at all times so that authorities could keep a watchful eye on him. He challenged this decision, taking his situation all the way to the Supreme Court, under the basis that the tracking device absolutely qualified as an unreasonable search.

GPS Tracking in Action

Despite this ruling, GPS tracking as a concept isn’t going anywhere. Many sophisticated devices offer real-time tracking over the internet for $120 or less, making them perfect for both law enforcement professionals and concerned private citizens. The STI_GL300 Real-Time GPS tracker, for example, is billed as a perfect solution for tracking everything from people to vehicles to equipment and more. It allows the person doing the tracking to not only access the GPS information from anywhere using a tablet or phone, but it also supports automated phone and email alerts so no movement is missed.

The XT-2000 OBD Real-Time GPS Vehicle Tracker is another example, which is designed to plug effortlessly into nearly any modern car. It also allows for real-time tracking over an internet connection and supports automatic alerts and more.

It’s important to note that the Supreme Court ruling does NOT mean that GPS tracking is somehow bad or that it doesn’t bring with it a wide range of different benefits that can’t be ignored. Businesses who are concerned with things like employee theft or even operational inefficiencies regularly use GPS tracking as a form of asset management, for example. There is also a wide range of different (totally legitimate) reasons why home users would need this technology.

All the Supreme Court has done is taking a small but significant step toward protecting the Fourth Amendment rights of an entire generation who will grow up surrounded by this type of technology on a daily basis. As the Constitution is a document that was always meant to be updated as time goes on and as contexts change, this is very much a good thing and should be celebrated.

 

How Do Jewelry Companies Transport Their Jewels?

28 Nov

Many people don’t realize that when it comes to jewelry companies, one of the biggest costs that businesses face have nothing to do with producing the items themselves – instead, it’s the massive cost associated with safely and securely getting them into the hands of customers all over the world. Transportation costs are massive, particularly when you consider the value of the items being transported. To this end, jewelry companies have successfully leveraged modern technology in a variety of ways to help make sure not only that everything goes smoothly, but to also make sure that the cost of their goods versus the cost to transport still allows them to remain competitive.

Transporting Jewels: A Logistical Enterprise

There is an entire industry devoted to helping jewelry companies transport their jewels as safely, as securely and as cost-effectively as possible. Point2Point Global Security Inc., for example, offers a wide range of different services including:

 

  • Off-duty police officers to watch shipments wherever they go.
  • Secured transport, both on the ground and in the air, to make sure that no items are tampered with or stolen in transit.
  • Armed delivery of products to private residences, as well as armed escort for sales people who may be traveling with expensive merchandise.

Transporting jewels is quite different from a normal retail shipment process. Things go a great deal deeper than just moving merchandise from a factory to a retail environment and into the hands of customers. An almost unprecedented level of visibility is necessary at every step of the way. Nearly every jewelry item passes through an incredible number of hands before it arrives in a store – from dealers to grading institutes to wholesalers and polishers and beyond. Losing track of something at any one of those points could create a nightmare of liability for everyone before and after.

Think about the last time you went to a jewelry showcase at something like a hotel or other public event – there are systems in place that are constantly informing businesses where those items are, how they got there, how long they’ve stayed and so much more.

The Power of Modern Technology

To that end, jewelry companies use a wide range of state-of-the-art tools to help keep a watchful eye over their products, especially in transit. GPS-equipped security vehicles are constantly visible via an Internet connection. But this involves a lot more than just being able to log into a website and see exactly where a truck is, although that itself is very important.

The log of data that GPS and other asset protection devices create also helps keep transportation as secure as possible. If an item goes missing, business representatives can see its entire history up to that point. If a truck stopped when it wasn’t supposed to, they can see exactly where that happened. They can see exactly how long the truck was “off route.” They can see precisely who was driving that truck, who they were interacting with and more.

The biggest benefit is that by investing in the security of their jewels, they’re able to make sure items get where they’re supposed to as inexpensively as possible. However, taking complete control over the supply chain also brings with it the equally important benefit of a stronger reputation. Every company responsible for a piece of jewelry at some point during its lifecycle should absolutely embrace these types of tracking methods, as if a problem DOES occur they have concrete, actionable and analytical proof that they weren’t responsible. This only strengthens their reputation in an industry where this is maybe the most important quality of a business moving forward.

http://www.brinksglobal.com/Sectors/diamonds_jewelry.aspx

http://www.p2pgsi.net/industries/jewelry.html

 

Ways Companies Use Asset Tracking to Monitor Their Shipments

14 Nov

One of the many ways that technology has made the lives of business owners easier has to do with asset tracking and the monitoring of shipments. The process of preparing and shipping an item to a customer isn’t necessarily a difficult one, but it is one that involves a lot of steps. Every one of these steps represents a potential hazard or delay that could cause an organization’s investment to drop considerably.

Being able to access real-time, accurate GPS information about where a shipment is at any particular moment, however, goes a long way toward relieving these issues as quickly and as inexpensively as possible.

Asset Tracking Helps to Eliminate Gaps in Documentation

One of the many ways that companies use asset tracking to monitor their shipments has less to do with where the shipment eventually ends up and more to do with how it is prepared in the first place. Many businesses document every step of a shipment’s lifecycle – from the various stages of preparation to who is doing the preparation in the first place and more. The problem is that sometimes this documentation comes up short, leading to waste and costly delays in the process.

If you THINK that you don’t know where a particular item is because documentation is lacking, you might think that the problem is that the item in question is lost or stolen. This could wind up costing you time that you don’t have only to determine that everything was proceeding as it should – it was the documentation itself that was lacking.

If you had the ability to log into an interface on a smartphone or tablet and get a real-time update on that item’s location from anywhere, however, you’d be able to see the cause of the problem in seconds and could avoid those delays altogether. This would also uncover the fact that your organization had a documentation problem, something you could take steps to further correct by way of continuing education.

Accurate, Actionable Information

One of the biggest benefits of using asset tracking to monitor shipments, however, comes by way of the reams of analytical information that it can provide. Asset tracking gives businesses an almost unprecedented level of visibility into not only where their assets are going, but HOW they’re being utilized. This can be a great way to better monitor the actual needs of an organization, making certain adjustments to increase productivity and streamline efficiency along the way.

Even if you’re only talking about asset tracking in terms of physical location information, the data you’re given can still help uncover patterns that can shed insight on how to make your operation stronger. If you know where your shipments are at any given moment, you actually know a great deal more than that. You know how long they take to prepare. How long they take to get from “Point A” to “Point B” to “Point C” and beyond. You can see what might be causing unnecessary delays and, more importantly, what you need to do to cut down the amount of time required for this process as much as you can.

Improving Customer Service

Finally, many companies use asset tracking to monitor their shipments to unlock the most important benefit of all: the ability to provide a better service to their customers. If you have complete visibility over your shipments, including how long it took to get them to where they are and how long it will continue to take to get them where they’re going, you have the data you need to improve the way your information performs.

You know which resources you need to use to allocate for improved efficiency. You’re able to reduce unnecessary spending by eliminating superfluous steps in the process. You have better control over your shipments and related assets than ever before, allowing you to provide superior customer service AND increase your revenue at the same time.

Sources

https://www.tradegecko.com/blog/6-benefits-of-asset-tagging

http://www.networkfleet.com/the-benefits-of-asset-tracking/

 

Using GPS tracking to track senile elderly people who live on their own

7 Nov

According to the National Institute on Aging, there were 524 million people on Earth in 2010 that were 65 or older. By as soon as 2050, that number is expected to climb to 1.5 billion – or approximately 16% of the world’s total population. This in and of itself is not newsworthy, as we’re all getting older every day. But unfortunately, an aging population also brings about increased issues due to complications of elderly life like dementia and other chronic cognitive issues.

According to the World Health Organization, there are currently 47.5 million people with dementia worldwide – a number that will increase to 75.6 million by 2030 alone. This means that as the population continues to get older, dementia and other issues associated with the senility of elderly people are going to become more pressing and more a part of our lives.

Because of this, it’s important to embrace technology to help keep these people safe. Living on your own is one of the last refuges of independence that many older people have, yet at the same time things like dementia make it incredibly difficult to do so. Using GPS to track senile elderly people who live on their own, for example, is a great way to preserve this independence without sacrificing safety at the same time.

Why GPS is So Important

One of the most common symptoms that affects people with not only dementia but also with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease is wandering. Senile elderly people tend to wander off due to confusion and, coupled with the disorientation the disease brings with it, can make even something like a simple trip to the store incredibly dangerous for everyone involved.

Being able to accurately pinpoint exactly where an older loved one is at any given moment goes a long way toward mitigating this risk in the first place. At best, it can help preserve someone’s independence and allow them to stay in their home for as long as possible as you’re less likely to have your older loved one wander off and get into a dangerous situation. If you suspect that your loved one is regularly wandering off and getting confused, the activity-tracking functionality provided by the GPS can also help confirm this to you. You will then have the most accurate information possible to use to make the best decisions regarding their health and safety moving forward.

The Power of GPS in Action

One example of a device that can be incredibly valuable in terms of tracking elderly people who live on their own is the STI-GL300 Real-Time GPS Tracker. This powerful little device monitors location-based information with a laser-focused accuracy and is small and discreet enough to go just about anywhere. Real-time updates are provided, including in the form of phone and email alerts so you never miss anything. With a two-week battery life and the ability to track via a Web browser, it’s easy to see how this can help keep older loved ones as safe as possible at all times.

If a device like the STI-GL300 is placed in an elderly relatives pocket or handbag, you can essentially see exactly where they are whenever you need. If grandpa suddenly decides to leave his home in the middle of the day, not only can you check in and find his exact location, but you can get an alert about it automatically. If he’s not supposed to be leaving at all, you’ll know about the problem as soon as it happens allowing you to do something about it as quickly as possible. While certain public initiatives like the Silver Alert are designed to help get elderly people back safe and sound in the event that they wander off, GPS tracking like this can help make sure that is a step that isn’t entirely necessary in the first place.

How to Use GPS Tracking to Monitor New Teenage Drivers

10 Oct

Many people don’t realize that if you had to make a list of some of the most dangerous groups of people who are on the road at any given moment, “new teenage drivers” would absolutely be right at the top. According to DoSomething.org, an incredible 33% of all deaths among those aged 13 to 19 in 2010 occurred as the result of motor vehicle crashes – a higher percentage than any other age bracket. Likewise, 16-year-old drivers have a higher crash rate themselves than drivers of any other age, including the elderly.

 

Part of this comes down to troubling statistics like this one: Over half of all teens surveyed by RMIAA.org said that they talk on the phone while driving, and not all of them use hands-free devices.

All of this is to say that for parents, in particular, keeping track of teen drivers and how safe they are on the road is always of paramount importance. GPS tracking devices can be an efficient way to do exactly that by providing state-of-the-art functionality that extends far deeper than just being able to see where a teen is at any given moment.

The Benefits of Real-Time Location Updates

The major benefits of real-time location updates involve more than just being able to see exactly where someone is at any given moment. Because geolocation information is being transmitted by a device to a satellite and to the end-user in real-time, it’s also able to provide other valuable data like direction and even speed. For a parent, this is huge: You don’t just get an accurate reflection of where your teen is, but you can also see where they’re headed, where they end up, and how fast they got there.

Hardwired Trackers vs. Battery-Powered Trackers

One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make in terms of determining which GPS tracking system is right for you involves hardwired trackers vs. battery-powered units.

Battery-powered units run on their own power and tend to be small, compact units that are perfect for concealment. Likewise, if your family has more than one car that the teen uses and you need the flexibility to move the unit from one vehicle to another, a battery-powered unit is absolutely the way to go.

Hardwired units can also be concealed for discreet use, but, as the name suggests, they’re hardwired directly into the inner workings of the car. While it’s true that they’re much more difficult to remove or to move from one vehicle to another, they are perfect for monitoring driving patterns along with information like location. If your teen is prone to extreme breaking or tends to speed more often than not, a hardwired unit will provide you with the analytical data you need to do something about it.

Encouraging Positive Driving Habits

Another reason why using GPS tracking to monitor new teenage drivers is so important leads directly into their most important benefit of all: They give parents a new and effective way to encourage positive driving habits with their kids whenever possible.

One of the reasons why teenage drivers make poor choices in the first place has to do with a lack of accountability. If a teen gets a cell phone call while they’re driving in the car by themselves, they might answer it – however, they likely wouldn’t even think about doing so if their parent were in the car, as well.

In many ways, GPS tracking devices act as a type of “virtual parent” or, at the very least, allow parents to maintain a constant presence with teen drivers at all times. If teen drivers are aware of the fact that their parents are never more than a few quick button taps away from seeing where they are, where they’re going and how fast they’re getting there, they’re much more likely to make good decisions – even if begrudgingly so. These good decisions then give way to good habits that stay with a teen for a lifetime.

In the end, using GPS tracking devices to monitor new teenage drivers goes far beyond just providing parents with access to raw data. They provide a valuable peace-of-mind that only comes with knowing that you’re doing whatever you can to help make sure that your teen isn’t one of the 2,823 teenagers nationwide who died in a car crash in 2012 alone.

 

Source

http://www.rmiia.org/auto/teens/Teen_Driving_Statistics.asp

https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-teen-driving