The press about Race: In the footsteps of cars.

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Yesterday, Megafon was the first among Russian mobile operators to announce the commercial launch of a mobile positioning system. The WebLocator system allows you to monitor the movements of cars with an accuracy of up to several meters, and also makes it possible to contact drivers to coordinate their actions. Vimpelcom and Mobile Telesystems (MTS) promises to launch similar services in the coming months.

Mobile object monitoring services are quite popular in the West. On their basis, dispatching fleet management systems are being built, which are mainly used by road carriers and large corporations. According to the British operator Actra Fleet, for a company with a fleet of 100 cars, such a system allows you to save about $2,000 per car per year by reducing the "empty" mileage by 15-20%. In addition, the car's location detection system can become an effective anti-theft tool.

In August of this year , all three capitals announced the imminent introduction of mobile positioning services GSM operator. Vimpelcom announced a joint AutoConnex project with the French company NEXO , and MTS even established a separate subsidiary, Mobile Telematics Positioning Systems (MTS-P). However , none .none of these systems has been put into commercial operation yet.

WebLocator was developed by Megafon together with the Race system integrator Communications. The total budget of the project was about $500,000. The revenue from the services will be divided between Race Communications and Megafon.

For now, the service will be provided only to corporate clients in Moscow and the region within 20 km from the MKAD. Kirill Kucherov, Megafon's leading specialist in product development and the introduction of new technologies , believes that in the first year of operation the company will be able to equip at least 1000 with the system of cars.However, the managing director of Race Leonid Lopatin hopes that soon the service will be used not only by corporations, but also by small firms and even private clients. "$23 per month per board seems to us to be quite an affordable price even for a company with a couple of Gazelles. We considered that our services pay off with the volume of cargo transportation of $5,000 per month," he says Lopatin. Other options for using WebLocator are also being considered. According to Kucherov, the aeroclub became interested in the system in Stupine, who decided to install the system on light aircraft.

According to the analyst of ACM-Consulting Anton Pogrebinsky, services; based on determining the user's location. 300,000-400,000 mobile subscribers in Moscow may be potentially interested. In MTS-P they give even more rosy estimates - up to 600,000 people.

Head of Corporate and Special Projects Department at Vimpelcom Oleg Belousov assures that his company will launch AutoConnex in January 2003. According to him, the delay in launching the service was caused due to problems with the supply of client terminals.

According to the First Deputy General Director of MTS-P Evgeny Agafonov, their mobile positioning system is used in experimental mode by about 1000 customers. But it is not ready for commercial operation yet . "We abandoned the Falcom terminal devices, as during the tests during the year we found out that they were poorly adapted to work in our climate. Now we have switched to exclusively Russian-made terminals and are working on bringing the system to the desired quality," explains Agafonov.

However, in Moscow, Megafon has a competitor not from among mobile operators, Since July 2002 , the company "Starcom Rus", the "daughter" of the international concern Starcom, has been operating in the capital and the region. It offers a similar WebLocator service. According to the CEO of "Starcom Rus" by Yuri Zakharov, now the company has several hundred customers. Starcom's prices are comparable to those offered by MegaFon: the equipment costs $1,485, the subscription fee ranges from $14 to $31 (it includes the cost of cellular traffic). Zakharov sees the owners of expensive cars concerned about security issues as the main consumers of his services. In his opinion, there are about 30,000 of them in Moscow.

HOW WEBLOCATOR WORKSThe location is determined using the American satellite system

GPS (Global Positioning System). It calculates and transmits to subscriber terminals their geographical coordinates with an accuracy of 10 m. This information is sent over the cellular network to the information center for positioning objects on a computer map of the area. The WebLocator terminal can be either a special device of the German company Falcom (the cost with connection is about $ 900), or a mobile phone Benefon Esc ($ 600). The subscription fee will be $23 per month plus traffic for negotiations on the "Locator" tariff.

Yuri Granovsky Vedomosti IN THE FOOTSTEPS CARS. // Vedomosti (Moscow).

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