By: Phillip Klumper
A major car accident has occurred on the expressway in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which required a Puerto Rico Police officer to request the services of an ambulance for a critically injured driver. Since 2008, the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has required to have installed the SkyTrackers’ Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system in all ambulances in Puerto Rico. Using this system, the ambulance company finds the closest ambulance and sends it immediately to the accident scene saving the driver’s life.
The SkyTrackers’ AVL system is a GPS (Global Position System) vehicle tracking system which is developed and designed by a Puerto Rican company, Skytec, Inc. 1998, Skytec, Inc., is formed and expands to approximately 60 employees in order to manufacture, install, monitor, and repair the SkyTrackers’ units and AVL system and to market other products. It is located at Barrio Palmas, 500 Royal Industrial Park, Building E 1, in Cataño, Puerto Rico.
In August 1997, Miguel J. Carbonell, the co-founder and half-owner of Skytec, Inc., came up with the idea of the SkyTrackers’ AVL system. Although his main occupations are Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and managing partner of the San Juan accounting firm, Carbonell & Co. LLP, Carbonell said that he has always been “looking for something into technology.” With the assistance of Carbonell, its other co-founder, half-owner, and President, Henry L. Barreda III, and its Chief Research and Development Engineer, Victor Maldonado, Skytec, Inc., has developed the innovative SkyTrackers’ AVL system which uses information from GPS satellites to determine the longitude, latitude, speed, and direction of vehicles. To connect to the satellites, a GPS-antenna and wireless data-modem (unit) is installed on the vehicle and programmed. In return, Skytec, Inc., maintains a “central network based on a computer program language called ‘Python’ where we capture the data and publish it to our clients,” Carbonell said. The computer program provides the clients with the ability to use a regular computer or system to remotely determine on a digital map the location of its vehicle(s) in real-time via the Internet. Skytec, Inc. also has the ability to monitor all of the clients’ vehicles and it maintains the data related to the vehicles’ units for up to six months on the central network.
In addition to showing a vehicle’s location, the SkyTrackers’ AVL system has many other valuable features. The Skytec client can monitor the status of the vehicle (moving or stopped), the engine (on or off), and the doors (open or closed). If the vehicle is transporting frozen or refrigerated merchandise, the client can check the temperature of the vehicle’s refrigeration unit. If desired, a client can even request to have it programmed so that the vehicle’s engine turn off when the vehicle goes above a certain speed.
In order to obtain the SkyTrackers’ AVL system, the client has to pay two different costs. The client has to purchase a SkyTrackers’ unit which has a cost that “ranges from $250.00 to $1,500.00 per unit depending on the usage and sophistication required by the client,” said Carbonell. The client also has to pay a monthly fee for each unit which ranges from $19.95 to $69.95 depending on the number of times he/she wants the system to track the vehicle. It costs more to have the system track a unit every five seconds than it does once every hour.
Skytec, Inc., and its system, caters to companies, local and federal government agencies, and private individuals. Although it does business primarily in Puerto Rico it has expanded its business to Panama, Colombia, and the mainland United States (i.e., Iowa and Montana). In Puerto Rico, Skytec, Inc., has a number of governmental and corporate clientele who use the SkyTrackers’ AVL system including, but not limited to, the Puerto Rico Police Department (FURA), Puerto Rico Telephone Company, Puerto Rico Senate, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (AEE), Puerto Rico Water and Sewer Authority (AAA), Ports Authority, Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTOP), Metropolitan Bus Authority, One Link Communications, Caribbean Restaurants (Burger King), R..J. Reynolds Tobacco, V. Suárez & Co., Proctor & Gamble, Jose A. Santiago, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Goya de Puerto Rico, Pepsi Co., Dueñas Trailers, Sedco, Efraín Nuñez Bakery & Food Service, Squibb, and others.
These companies, government agencies, and private individuals have installed the Skytrackers’ AVL system in their vehicles for a variety of reasons. Some have had or want to avoid security problems (i.e., the theft of vehicles and/or detention and theft of the products/items from vehicles). Others have determined that there is a need to reduce response time or cost by improving the deployment of their vehicles, and/or monitoring the location of their vehicles in order to determine whether the employees are actually doing their jobs. Some individuals are just concerned parents who have installed the system in their vehicles in order to monitor the location of their children and/or to avoid their children from speeding.
If you or your company is interested in finding more about the SkyTracker AVL system, you can contact directly Skytec, Inc., at (787) 275-5454 or (787) 275-1111, or look on the Internet at the websites: http://www.skytecpr.com or http://www.buscamicarro.com. If you are adventurous, “you can also visit us at our facilities in Barrio Palmas, Cataño and see firsthand how we manufacture our AVL product,” said Ms. Marinil Astor, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Skytec, Inc. “We’ll be more than glad to greet you!”