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 Post subject: Minimum numbers
PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2003 3:34 pm 
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OK, the offices in my town have not much more than a dozen cars max.

They all have radio, the feeling seems to be that none are big enough to justify data.

Do these data firms specify a minimum number of cars for going data to be economic?

And if so, do you believe what they tell you??

I work the streets, and have no intention of getting involved with an office, but I am curious.

Dusty :?:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2003 4:51 pm 
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I think the pinch point for data is an economic one Dusty. Auriga suggest that it becomes cost effective at around 25 cars.

If you have an office that needs only one controller, then, typically, that controller can handle around 12 cars without a problem if they are ALL working entirely on radio. When you add Hackneys working off the rank, the question is I think, how much work the controller needs to do to handle the extra cars. We run about 20 vehicles, and if, as usual, some are on long runs, and some are local, then one controller can handle it all no problem. On Firday and Saturday nights however, if everyone is working in town, the volume of our radio work is such that we need two controllers (or a controller and a telephonist). This is also becoming true of Saturday afternoons (one controller can often be tied up taking bookings/credit card jobs etc), and during the daytime peaks.

The question therefore, is what is the cost relationship between employing an extra controller/telephonist, and the cost of going data. I think, that as soon as you get to the point where you need two controllers full time, then the monetary case for data will make it justifiable.

There are other aspects too, including administration staff. If one's operation is admin heavy (eg loads of account work, varying driver payment systems, fleet cars and owner drivers etc) then having the system all computer operated makes life a lot easier. Not to mention the "more fair" approach of having jobs allocated to cars on a more equal basis than that of who the controllers friends are.

I dont think Auriga's 25 cars is that far out for a "typical" circuit. But, Auriga refer to 25 owner drivers. If you have a company with fleet cars, 25 owner drivers only equals about 15 double-shifted fleet cars.

The major point is that no two companies are the same. One may do more long work and contract work than another, thus requiring less controller time, while one may operate so much off the rank that one controller can handle 100 cars without a lot of radio work.

I would definately say that the break point is that of measuring when a second controllers wages become a higher cost than a data system.

Having said that, I now see GPS with integral radio stealing the thunder of Data. Autocab are working on such a system at the moment, and I presume others are too. Using the GPS carrier to transmit and receive data-bursts, eliminates the need for PMR radio, and gives almost world wide radio cover too. No more range limitations like you get with conventional radio and data. Having said that: the amount of data that you can transmit using the GPS carrier is limited at present, to around one line of text.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2003 5:02 pm 
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I think the systems coming that will use the likes of IPACs and PDAs, could well mean that they need only a few cars on the fleet to make them viable.

Surely all you will need is a ordinary home computer, linked to MSN, and some sort of receiver in the car, could be a flash mobile or an IPAC.

However if the market for the big boys is now saturated, then the data firms had best start looking at the little boys, or someone else will. :shock:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2003 5:05 pm 
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Absolutely right in your last comment Sussex Andy.

As for PDAs and PACs, I have as yet no knowledge of the subject other than what I have heard on here and TPH. If someone would care to expand on the subject, it would be most welcome.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2003 3:53 am 
Andy,

Not sure what you are talking about GPS with integral radio having nearly world wide range. GPS is receive only and doesn't extend your range. Perhaps I am missing the point. Coudl you explaihn further?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2003 8:12 pm 
I'd like to explain further, but not sure if I can. But I will try:

Basically, the US 4th Infantry Brigade have developed a GPS that also incorporated a universal SIFF transponder. The SIFF transponder is obviously two-way transmission. I believe they use the GPS - SIFF system they have to lacate individual soldiers (thus, the soldier is transmitting something on his SIFF), and to give them his position, while simultaneously telling the soldier his position on the ground, identifying him as friend of foe, and enabling short bursts of text to be uplinked to and from the bloke. "They" the US Army, call this GPRS. I got in a bit of a muddle a while ago, believing it was the same GPRS that the Datasystem providers were looking into. Apparently, however, it is not. The difference is that the US Army system is all satellite based, whereas the GPRS that is referred to by Diplomat and the like uses the GSM phone system, and is thus therefore, limited in range by aerial location etc.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2003 8:42 pm 
Hmm,

Bearing in mind that the MOD are spending 500m on SIFF and don't expect it to be fully operational until 2010, I suspect it may be a while before the technology finds it way into the cab.

Plus the SIFF system is specifically designed for short range battlefield use so as not to compromise the location of the operatives being interrogated.

Who told you that somebody was working on using this in cabs? Not a salesperson by any chance?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2003 10:06 pm 
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Yeah, you would want some of that battle field stuff on a Friday or Saturday night !!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2003 11:43 pm 
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Hmmm,

As far as I am aware, SIFF has been in use for many years. I would refer you to its analysis following Operation Bright Star 1983. United States Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force (later Central Command). McDill AFB. Florida. Theres some papers about it on the net somewhere.

The recent developments you speak of, are, I think (and I only say think, as I am not an expert in this field), the change FROM localised IFF to satelitte based SIFF. The whole idea of using it via Satelite is so that the signal is a sorta strait up and down signal with minimal lateral spread. That way, the forces on the ground are not compromised.

It was the use of local high frequency conventional radio that compromised them. Radio could be RDF'd. Satcoms cant. Well, not in theory as far as I know, anyway.

Try Jane's Command and Communications yearbook. www.Janes.com

As to who told me they were investigating its use in cabs, it was a guy called Adrian, I think. And I do believe he was from Autocab. But it was a while ago, and in general conversation, so I may have miss-heard J.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2003 8:06 am 
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:? :? :? :? :? :? :? :? and a thousand more :?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2003 7:06 pm 
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Andy wrote:
The question therefore, is what is the cost relationship between employing an extra controller/telephonist, and the cost of going data. I think, that as soon as you get to the point where you need two controllers full time, then the monetary case for data will make it justifiable.



Thanks for the comprehensive reply Andy, I think most of the offices use only one controller at all times, so that's probably the crux of the matter.

If it's less easy to feed and keep this off computerised records then this is probably a big factor as well. :|

Dusty


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2003 10:30 pm 
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I went once to a firm in Portsmouth, to have a nose around.

They had one main controller, with more screens than NASA, but they had a least a dozen girls answering the phones.

Now how busy was that firm. :shock:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2003 9:57 pm 
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With a dozen telephonists, I would guess they were handling around 6,000 plus calls a day. With a dozen telephonists and data despatch, I would reckon they were doing nearer 10,000 plus calls a day.

By rough rule of thumb, thats somewhere in the order of 300 cabs!

Guesswork only. But a company near us, does around 400 jobs per telephonist per day, with each car doing around 30 jobs a shift, with each car taking between £140 and £200 per shift. Some top the £300 every weekend, but average over the week is the £140/£200 mark.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2003 3:54 am 
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Location: West Yorkshire
Computerisation is the key,
its a modern world for us to be,
to find a system good but cheap,
Midas is what you need to keep.

The system costs are per car,
so in no office is there a bar,
the rental quoted is per week,
so get on the phone and dont be meek.

GPS, CARD SWIPE, and mobile phones.
provide the data to cut the moans,
The drivers are buzzin to do the jobs
they come in with pockets full of bobs.

01623-442211 And ask for Richard Moore,
I assure you the systems not poor,
he will train your staff and cut the stress,
then you will feel there always at their best.

I work this system and it is quite good,
with problems I phone Gary, and hes my bud,
you are sceptical but take a look.
a system like this lets you off the hook.

Paddington Bill.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2003 12:20 pm 
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To answer the original question, it depends on how you do the justification.

If it's purely on whether the controller can keep up with the amount of traffic, or economics (the extra work paying-off the layout) then 25 is probably a good measure as Andy suggests.

If, on the other hand, you just want to use less radio traffic, and not have to repeatedly state a destination over the air, or want fewer arguments about feeding, you can use data on a smaller fleet. With us (Diplomat Data Systems), there is no reason why you can't have a one-car business on data.

However, the problem could arise that the RA may not allow you to have both a voice and data channel. IR2008 is intended to be a solution that allows small fleets to share the data channel in a co-operative manner. We are working on out IR2008 system, I believe Auriga have done trials with limited success. I'm not sure if the RA allow companies to share voice and data channels in a non-co-operative manner.

We are also working on a voice-only GPS solution as well, which may be more suitable if the RA do not grant you the two channels. It's a half-way house in which the controller doesn't have to get the drivers to tell them their location, and possibly their status.

In summary it's a luxury, not strictly necessary, but there's no reason why you can't have it other than the fact there may be a licensing problem with the RA.

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