Assets, trailers, vehicles, and people are the typical subjects of GPS tracking technology. Its effective and affordable implementation has made GPS tracking a standard tool for fleet industries worldwide.
A satellite-based positioning system that can pinpoint the location of practically anything at any given time, GPS technology has potential. Massive potential. You won’t believe what is being tracked today.
Here are five examples of innovative GPS technology uses that step outside the geo-fence.
Smart “thinking” shopping carts
Imagine that as you move through the aisles at your local grocery store, your shopping cart is tracking your speed, location, and stops to build up a “personal shopping profile” which gifts you with customized discounts. Last December, a Harvard Business Review reporter chatted with “Anders”, lead researcher for one of the largest shopping cart manufacturers in the United States, and discovered that this scenario is not too far off. Shopping cart manufacturers are experimenting with GPS-equipped prototypes to facilitate research of shopper’s buying patterns, and offer “a more flexible retail store-one which constantly adapts to the ever-changing moods and trends of the shoppers” (Lindstrom).
Golf balls that won’t get lost
With a pepper-granule-sized microchip implanted in every ball, this is one golf set you will not lose. For $200.00, swing-happy golfers can track a dozen microchip-implanted balls with a Radar Golf tracking device boasting a range of thirty to a hundred feet. As you get closer to your stray ball, the device produces an audio tone that beats faster and faster. Although the Radar Golf System has gone off the market, plans for a “new-and-improved version” are in the works.
Tracking down family pets
Dog-tracking solutions are becoming more prevalent on the GPS technology front, as an ethical alternative to electroshock boundaries and barbed-wire fences. Companies like Pet Tracker offer lightweight trackers that attach to a collar and notify owners by email or text message if the dog has stepped out of its geo-fence boundaries. How about some historical reports for where Spot hid his bone, or favoured fire hydrants?
Tennis shoes with a GPS device in the heel
Person tracking is not uncommon, particularly in fleet industries where employees can be monitored by smart phone devicesvehicle-installed hardware. GPS Shoe provides safety monitoring for persons with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Family and caretakers can track the GPS Shoe wearer from their smart phone device. Should the wearer wander from home or become lost, the GPS device implanted in the shoe will pinpoint their location for the smart phone carrier.
GPS drawing “combines art, traveling, and technology,” as artist Jeremy Wood explains on his website. He maps out a design or drawing on his GPS devi
ce. Then he hits the street, by any mode of transportation, and makes a piece of art with the history of his movements.
Michael J. Wallace goes strictly bicycle for his GPS artwork. Over the past couple years, Wallace has cycled through depictions of the Loch Ness monster, night-ride visions of man landing on the moon, and intricate scenes that fight the good fight for combining athletics with art.
How long before we see GPS art in the Louvre?
GPS tracking technology is not bound by conventions. Whether implanted in golf balls, tennis shoes, or shopping carts, GPS has the flexibility and reliability to create innovative new solutions.
The next question: how to make these solutions affordable and accessible to a wider consumer base? GPS-enabled smart phones will be the answer.
GPS-enabled smart phones are rapidly becoming foundational devices for a number of uses. Whether used as a docking station for integral solutions like GPS Shoe, or as the track-able device itself (like our own Scout PT), the benefits of smart phone tracking are clear.
Will your fleet be equipped for smart phone efficiency this year?
Lindstrom, Martin. “Shopping Carts Will Track Consumers’ Every Move.” 9 December 2011. Harvard Business Review