Quick look: Tracking utility for GPS phones

When you're responsible for employees dispersed over a wide area, it can be vital to know whether one of them perhaps broke a leg and got stranded in the middle of a national park.

The TimeTrack utility from Xora Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., keeps track of your work force. TimeTrack runs as a Java applet on the Nextel wireless network. We tested TimeTrack on an i58sr Global Positioning System phone from Nextel Communications Inc. of Reston, Va.

Employees open the TimeTrack utility when they start their working day. Their phones then begins to track their location.

Administrators or supervisors can log into the Xora Web site and track anyone who has the utility running. The Web site will show exactly where the phone traveled. It can also tell how long an employee stopped at a certain area and, if driving, whether he was speeding. It records all the data for the day and overlays locations onto a map. It will also show an employee's current location.

To test the utility, I rode the train to work and also drove around with the phone in my car. I found that the phone needs a line of sight to the sky to work properly; when I was on the train it did not work very well. In the car it worked fine, so long as I put it near the windshield. Otherwise, I did not get the best data.

Once employees learn how TimeTrack works'and presuming they carry their phones faithfully'it can be an excellent tool to keep tabs on them and make sure that everyone got where they were supposed to be.

Price: $24.99 setup fee, $11.99 monthly fee per user

Phone: 650-314-6460

[email protected] www.xora.com

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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