Friday, January 24, 2014

GEOTAB review

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing GEOTAB GPS System. They have given a lot of thought into making their platform accessible via their API and their Architecture is very nice. 

Recommendation / Summary
After reviewing their website in detail and attending a demo for GEOTAB, I would technically recommend this product.  The ability to integrate with their product is strong, scalable, and well designed. Their proprietary hardware has one of the lowest failure rates in the industry (or so they say) and provides additional information that adds value to the data. To get the best features, you should use their proprietary hardware. The system is extensible from a hardware and software perspective. You can readily integrate with their GEOTAB. 

GEOTAB has proprietary hardware, but also works with third party hardware. Their proprietary hardware appears to be superior to the competition because it uses accelerometers as well as GPS. This allows it to accurately be able to identify drivers that hard brake at low speeds, identify drivers that are distracted, etc. It has a high compatibility with most every vehicle. Installation is very easy (3 minutes they say) to install the device by plugging it into the data port of the vehicle. The hardware can be extended to interface with additional sensors, driver identification via RFID, and Garmin devices. With the Garmin devices two communication be done.

They have 30 reports, dashboards and pride themselves on productivity monitoring / reporting. Most vendors appear to record data at a periodic interval, but they do not. The reason is that some key data can be missed. This is actually a big benefit in recording the accuracy of the data.

The API is available in C# and JavaScript, but can also be called by any language that can make a HTTP GET or POST request via HTTPS (and most any language can). The API appears to be robust and they have a web farm so it should be scalable as well. The API is well documented and has many examples. There is a data integration Windows application they provide the source code for that extracts data from GEOTAB. It could easily be extended to import the data into your databases. You should be able to use this API to integrate with GateHouse GPS Portal if you want to or store the data in a database or file system. You can programmatically add users, devices, etc via the API as well.

GEOTAB Software Extensibility
Their web application UI can be extended using JavaScript to add calls to your own systems, or tweak their pages. The pages are unique urls so linking to their pages should be relatively easy.
Email notifications can easily be customized by users, but notifications can also be sent as texts. Their UI can also be embedded in your systems as well.

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