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Frequently Asked Questions.

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What vehicle data can be monitored and what can I determine from the monitored data?

GPS information (date, time, longitude, latitude, speed, heading and altitude) is monitored as a standard feature of all Bigmate data loggers and monitoring devices.
In addition, Bigmate can accommodate a variety of external sensors to monitor such things as:

  • Temperatures
  • Hydraulic pressure
  • Engine RPMs
  • Engine hours
  • Switches on/ off
  • Brake action
  • Acceleration, deceleration
  • Vibration

From this information the following can be done via a web-enabled user-friendly interface:

  • request a map that shows exactly where the equipment has been at any time during a selected period, as well as a full audit trail that shows the path of the vehicle during the period;
  • choose any combination of GPS and sensor information to be displayed in graphical format on a timescale. The performance of the vehicle can be accurately tracked to determine what caused problems, how sensors performed relative to each other.
  • switch between map-based, graphical and tabular reports.
  • view Derived information (customer-specific information calculated from the raw GPS and sensor data)
  • display trip details, either for a single vehicle or fleet, to investigate vehicle performance between your defined points of interest (e.g., depots, workshops or offices).
    Standard Trip Reports include:

  • travel time (mean time, minimum, maximum and standard deviation)
  • stop time (mean stop time, minimum, maximum and standard deviation), where you can decide what criteria is used to register a stop
  • time at destination (mean time, minimum, maximum and standard deviation)
  • exception summary and detail for events that you define (such as speeding, overheating or geofence violations).

How frequently is vehicle position on the map updated? What update frequency options do you offer?

For certain Bigmate units (“monitors”), the data is updated in near real-time via CDMA 1xRTT or GSM GPRS transmissions.

For others (“data loggers”), the data is logged to onboard memory at an interval that can be set at any value from one second to thirty minutes (this can be changed at any time). For these units, the information is downloaded to the website:

  1. at regular predefined intervals. For a 1 minute logging interval, which we find most customers prefer, a regular download of once per 24 hour period is sufficient. This can however be changed to any download interval you prefer (e.g., 4, 6 or 12 hours).
  2. when an alarm is activated on the unit. This is where you set limits for the information that is monitored — if any of the limits you specified is exceeded, a download will be initiated at that time; and
  3. upon request by the web user.

In what ways can reports be customised?

There are certain report customisations that can be performed by the user, and others that can be performed by Bigmate on a project basis.  Typical user customisations include:

  • changing vehicle descriptions
  • filtering data by vehicle type or date
  • selecting different combinations of available data to be displayed
  • switching between graphical and tabular displays
  • exporting data to an Excel spreadsheet.

Can I produce a history for a specific vehicle?

Yes. A comprehensive database of the health and performance of all vehicles is hosted on one central database. The customer can thus trace and audit vehicle performance back to any time from subscription to the Bigmate service.

For example, if a vehicle was subscribed from January 2005, it means that the customer would be able to trace its performance as follows: at 10.20am, 30 seconds into that minute, on 29th January 2005, for the week beginning 28h January, or for the month beginning on that day. All of the parameters that were monitored (e.g., location, speed, rpm, water temperature, engine temperature) are available at the push of a button, in user-friendly maps, graphs, reports and tables

Does your system use web browser-based tools or PC application-based software to display the map?

The entire Bigmate service is web-enabled, including all maps, graphs, reports and data tables.

What mapping software does your system use?

The web service makes use of MapServer. Standard features include zoom in and out across Australia, path replay for each vehicle, definition of GPS points of interest to be displayed on maps. If the customer supplies application specific maps (such as road or rail lines, paddocks or terrain displays), these can be overlayed on the standard maps.

Does your system work with other manufacturers’ hardware?

Yes. Bigmate’s open Automated Web Service enables the formation of development alliances and rapid incorporation of complementary technologies. Bigmate is thus a link in a far-reaching value chain – a chain that combines best-of-breed technologies, best practice software engineering and a nationwide network of service providers to form solutions that are bigger than the sum of their parts.

This unique strategy has three significant, direct impacts on our customers:

  • Because Bigmate is not tied to a single hardware manufacturer, we are free to choose the components best suited to the customer’s needs. In some cases, this means simple GPS, simple sensor trackers for large numbers of service vehicles; in others it means sophisticated condition monitoring, integration with OEM systems or state-of-the-art data loggers with onboard memory and integrated battery backup. This translates into a more flexible pricing structure: You don’t pay the premium to have all the “bells and whistles” on every vehicle.
  • Because we can quickly respond to advances such as in-cab user interfaces, keypads, PDAs and prioritised satellite communications, we can remain, with our customers, at the forefront of technology. This means that you can start small with GPS tracking and basic condition monitoring, and phase in operator authentication, on-road defect reporting, pre-start checklists, driver behavior monitoring, dispatch and job status reporting all on the same powerful, web-based platform.
  • Bigmate’s open architecture enables business-to-business applications.Data transfers to and from the Bigmate servers are carried out via industry standard protocols. This means that in-house applications can easily incorporate data collected or derived by Bigmate, and Bigmate can incorporate data from in-house applications to make its web reporting even more powerful.

What customer care does your company provide?

Bigmate provides an end-to-end service. Our monitoring devices and data loggers come with a standard manufacturer’s warranty. We provide secure data storage and web hosting facilities and 24×7 information access. We can also help you:

  • prioritise assets and monitoring needs based upon expected business outcomes;
  • create a realistic roll-out schedule;
  • select, source and calibrate sensors, peripheral devices (like user interfaces, controllers and operator id systems) and accessories (like high gain antennas and special purpose cabling);
  • install when you find yourself short on resources;
  • train your staff in how to administer and make the best use of the system;
  • overlay standard maps with application-specific ones;
  • implement advanced system features such as OEM interfaces, Derived Channels and security hierarchies (for example, defining which groups are authorised to see which information);
  • diagnose and correct problems, both on-site and by phone and email;
  • build custom reports and data extracts;
  • integrate with in-house ERP, maintenance, invoicing and fleet management systems.

Is the system purchased as a standalone setup for the customer to operate and maintain, or is the data logged and supplied through Bigmate?

The full service, including the logging of data, is supplied through an automated, user-friendly web-enabled system. Since we operate and maintain the system that enables you to monitor the health and performance of your assets via a web interface, your risk is minimised.

Will we need to purchase a LAN, WAN, modems or other hardware or software in order to use the Bigmate system?

As long as you have browser-capable PCs, you also do not have to organise any special hardware, modems or associated network connections or airtime contracts. The modems are built into the units we supply. We activate, maintain and operate the web application and then charge the communications cost back to you on the monthly invoice.

Can you provide a customisation to the service if there is a special monitoring need?

Yes. Bigmate maintains a full staff of hardware and integration specialists, developers and project managers that can either supplement a customer’s team or take on an entire project.

Do you offer trials?

Yes. However the service is based upon a monthly subscription, which the customer may cancel at any time. This means that, in effect, Bigmate is always on trial, and we strive to ensure that our customers are continuously getting enough value to keep renewing month after month, year after year.

What warranty arrangements are in place concerning system hardware replacement parts and labour?

All Bigmate monitoring devices and data loggers come with a full one year manufacturer’s warranty.

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