SEASON 2, EPISODE 3
CES 2020 Jeff Cameron, Partner, Logistimatics
Logistimatics sells GPS tracking devices and services for individuals and businesses. They provide realtime GPS tracking for vehicles, fleets, assets, and people.
Track your assets with simple, easy to use GPS trackers and no contracts.
Joining Janet Kennedy on the podcast is founder Jeff Cameron.
About This Episode
Announcer: 00:00 You’re listening to Trade Show Live On the Road, featuring conversations with the people who bring trade shows to life, including attendees, exhibitors, sponsors and trade show, industry thought leaders. We attend trade shows around the country in a wide variety of industries from healthcare to consumer products and everything in between. The podcast is a production of the Trade Show Manager, a trade show consulting firm. And now let’s go on the road with Trade Show Live.
Janet: 00:27 Welcome to Trade Show Live On the Road. This podcast is a production of The Trade Show Manager and features an in depth look at the people, companies and organizations that bring trade shows to life. We’re headed again to CES in 2020 the Trade Show Manager has assembled an exciting group of North Carolina based startups and organizations. We’ll be in Eureka park, the home of some of the most exciting ideas from around the globe.
Janet: 00:53 Joining me on the podcast is Jeff Cameron. He’s a partner in and also handles the business development for Logistimatics. Logistimatics sells GPS tracking devices and services for individuals and for businesses. They provide real time GPS tracking for vehicles, fleets, assets and people. And I’m going to be really interested to hear about that. So Jeff, welcome to the podcast.
Jeff: 01:18 Thank you Janet. Pleasure to be here.
Janet: 01:20 Well you are a startup. So how early stage are you?
Jeff: 01:23 Well, we’ve been live since April of 2016 and we grew slowly over the last few years until we’ve had our own software product. And then we’ve been growing really dramatically about one to 2% week over week growth over the last couple of years. So it’s been a rocket ship of development of our products and getting customers using and supporting our customers with that product. So it’s been a great fun building the business
Janet: 01:57 Now it seems like GPS tracking is pretty much in a lot of places. What makes your GPS tracking unique?
Jeff: 02:05 We have a really wide variety of GPS tracking devices. A lot of our competitors focus on either their own devices or one or two hardware devices from other hardware suppliers. But we support a really wide variety of devices because not one device really supports all the various different applications people have for tracking devices. For example, in some cases you may want the device to last multiple years where you would only care about having the device report its location once per day. Let’s say if you’re tracking an asset that doesn’t move very often or if it’s a an air conditioning unit that is potentially could be stolen, it should really never move. So in this case, these devices report once a day and lasts for three to five years or you may want you to track a vehicle and you want to know where that vehicle is as it’s traveling down the road. You want a nice trace on the map every 20 seconds as the vehicle drives down the road and we can provide those types of solutions as well. So it’s really truly taking a wide variety of hardware devices and all having them all report to the same common software platform. It’s a software as a service to provide a internet of things solution for our customers, both business and consumer.
Janet: 03:31 So when you buy your device, are you paying for the device and then also paying a monthly service fee?
Jeff: 03:38 That’s correct. The devices range in price from $50 up to just over $100 in price for the hardware device and that comes with the SIM card installed and it’s ready to go right out of the box. Once you receive the device, you activate it for the monthly subscription service and that will range from $9 a month for a once a day reporting for location up to $15 per month for that vehicle tracking explanation for reporting every 20 seconds.
Janet: 04:12 So for instance, if I am a parent and I have a brand new driver in my family and I just want to have the comfort of knowing that they’re safe and that they’re heading to where they need to be heading, this would be the kind of device I would use.
Jeff: 04:27 That’s correct. We get a lot of parents, especially the ones with, you know, young teenage drivers, either first drivers in high school or probably more often it’s, it’s the kids that are going off to college for the first time and parents will, worried about their child being off by themselves and they want to be able to track the location of their driving and also be able to check to see if they’re going to places they’re not supposed to be going to or traveling at speeds. They’re not supposed to be going to or any sort of kind of suspicious activity that may be going on. So it’s a great tool to be able to, you know, enable parents to access their child’s location. You know, when they’re in the vehicle. And it’s sometimes it’s not just parents of children and it’s also, you know, sons and daughters of elderly parents where they be maybe, you know, early on dementia in a parent and they, you know, worry about the location of the parent as they get disoriented and potentially lost while driving. So we have a lot of customers that are attracting children kids. And a lot of customers who are tracking elderly parents,
Janet: 05:39 How big is this device and is it something that you wear something you plug in or where does it go?
Jeff: 05:46 Yeah, so there’s a lot of different solutions. If it’s a vehicle, the device can plug into the onboard diagnostic port of the vehicle. It’s called the OBD port. It’s the same port that the automotive technician will use to pull the diagnostics out of the vehicle for maintenance or repair. And so the device can just plug it in that port and it just receives the power from the electrical system of the vehicle. Or we have devices that you can physically wire into the vehicle. You can just wire it into the fuse box there at the base of the vehicle. And we also have devices that are completely battery powered and self contained. So you would recharge them every one week to every three weeks, depending on how often it’s used. And that device can just be placed in the car somewhere. It doesn’t have to be wired in or plugged into anything. It’s completely self contained.
Janet: 06:37 That must mean that battery long life is important.
Jeff: 06:41 Yeah. So that’s the, that’s really the trick of GPS tracking is that a lot of people think that they can track a cell phone, but you know, the cell phones are designed for high speed data communications. You’re streaming videos and those kinds of data intensive applications where the GPS tracking doesn’t have that need for really the high speed data. And so the radio that’s inside that communicates to the cell towers can consume a lot less current. And so the battery life can be much longer. So that’s really the trade off of, you know, essentially using something like your cell phone to track your child versus having a device that’s specifically designed to do GPS tracking that can be optimized for a long battery life and ease of use for that application.
Janet: 07:31 I don’t suppose you have any anecdotes or stories that you can share about how your device has been used for helping seniors.
Jeff: 07:39 We do have a few stories about, you know, tracking elderly patients, either in hospital environment or more often it would be a son or daughter worrying about their aging parents. There are just a variety of people who really care and love their parents that want to keep track of them and worry about them. And you know, it comes from all walks of life. We’re in the Southeast of the United States, in North Carolina and we have a lot of customers around the country who use these devices for their parents and also for their children.
Janet: 08:15 I have a friend who lives in Australia whose father is elderly and he’s also blind, but he’ll go on walkabouts and that’s really, really scary for the family. He doesn’t usually get very far, but he will be multiple houses away from their home. And it is something that has caused them a lot of concern.
Jeff: 08:36 That’s right. And then it just happens all the time. You know, these devices are, some of them can be large until it can be fairly small. And if it’s something that they can charge on a regular basis, like every one or two days, the device can continuously update the location. You many times, people try to hide the device, you know, in the clothes of their child or on the clothes of their parent and it doesn’t really work out that well. Like it’s not something that can fit in their shoe or anything like that. So you just need to have them put it in their pocket and hopefully be able to get them to keep it in their pocket as they take these walkabouts, as you described.
Janet: 09:17 I think the geofencing alert is really interesting.
Jeff: 09:20 Yeah. So that’s a, that makes it easy. So you don’t have to keep a watch on the website 24 seven you can use the computer to let it do its work to alert you whenever a device has exited a specific to a fence. So you can, you can draw this polygon on the map and it can be any shape or size. And you know potentially it’s just a circle and you just draw a circle on the map and say, just send me a email or a text message, you know, every time the device enters or exits that geofence. And it’s just a really easy thing to implement and you can draw as many fences as you want and you can get all the alerts that you need for your application, whether it’s you know, a child leaving house area or of lead by also or or parent or if you’re a business and you want to track your supply chain and you care about when goods leave one manufacturing site and go to a distribution center for example, or go from one distribution center to the next is, you know, really do to drive your business processes through those use of geofences.
Janet: 10:31 Neat. Tell me a little bit about the team at Logistimatics.
Jeff: 10:34 Yeah, so there’s three of us as founders of the company as partners and we’ve grown to about 14 total lows. Now we have, you know, many people who do the customer support email and chat and phone calls. And we also have a couple of people who help up version devices and get them out the door and other individual focused on shipping. So we have a really strong team, great team that puts out a lot of devices. We probably shipped about 50,000 devices over the past couple of years. This has been great to see the team work hard to get these devices out the door.
Janet: 11:14 Okay, that’s awesome. Well, what do you hope to happen at CES? Have you ever been to the show before?
Jeff: 11:21 Yes, I’ve been to CES, you know, many times in other roles before I started Logistimatics. I had attended there in the past. It’s always a great fun for me to see all the things and I especially like going down into the Eureka Park area. That’s to me is the most interesting part of CES. You can see the, you know, the larger companies having the really big displays. But if you want to see, you know what’s really new that’s unique and going on and CES has so many ideas and with these smaller companies down there in the Eureka Park area there at the Sands Convention Center. So I always enjoyed going to that, to that section in the past. We also went to, last year myself and my two partners within the company and we met with a lot of our suppliers there, CES is just a great location to meet with a lot of suppliers and a lot of customers and do a lot of really good business to move our companies forward. And so this year is the first year we’re actually displaying at CES. So we’ll have a booth as you mentioned in the North Carolina pavilion in Eureka park. We’re really excited to be able to support that location, you know, for, for our state and for our company. And so we will be showing our software platform that we have or our GPS tracking will be showing some of our standard products that we have there. And we’ll also be showing some of our new developments or some new devices that we’re developing on our own.
Janet: 13:02 Oh, that’s exciting. Well, that’s the life of an entrepreneur, right? You’re constantly doing R&D and looking for new ways to expand and extend your product. So what do you think is on the future path for Logistimatics coming up in 2020 and maybe even 2025?
Jeff: 13:21 So when we first started the company, we focused on shipment tracking because we thought that that was just a really large opportunity that was untapped and it was mainly untapped because the price point was pretty high to justify that. So we’re working on different business models. We have some unique ideas for business models in the, in that area for making really cost effective shipment tracking. And so I anticipate that we’ll continue to focus on shipment tracking and see that market expand as we’re able to drive down costs for our customers. Another area that we see a lot of potential in is on asset tracking for businesses as well. On that asset tracking side, there’s just a lot of customers who have equipment, you whether it might be a large company that does repair work on power generation systems or it could be medical equipment or you know, demo units for test equipment.
Janet: 14:25 You know, all those things where you have these, you know, expensive items either for shipment or they’re provided for a service team out in the field. And keeping track of all those items is hard for these businesses. And it’s mainly just done on a spreadsheet. And so it comes time, it was like, okay, we know we fixed a problem at the site in Florida and now we’re going to ship this thing to Texas. And then two weeks later it’s gotta to be up in New York. And so, just the management of where is that equipment and is it laid? And what you don’t want is your expensive service team to be sitting there waiting for the equipment to arrive. So integrating that in to our software that provides location information and their software that manages, you know, whatever materials they have, you know, in their company using API integration techniques for that. I see a lot of growth in that. We’re in the thick of that right now. We’re dealing with a lot of companies who were working to integrate our software data into their internal platforms.
Janet: 15:29 All right. I’m fascinated with using this in a commercial standpoint. We had a company in our North Carolina startup pavilion last year that did asset tracking, like within a warehouse down to the 12 inch level. It was really amazing micro-tracking, but Holy cow, I can’t imagine what it would be like trying to track dozens if not hundreds or thousands of items over the United States of America. I can see tracking a personal tracker on my phone, but if you’re dealing with a business, what kind of software support do you have? What kind of dashboard are they working with when they’re trying to figure out assets that are all on the move?
Jeff: 16:08 Yeah. So there’s a lot of different technologies for tracking. The ultra wide band technology that you just mentioned is great for, you know, sub meter tracking, you know, within a warehouse or controlled environment because it requires a network of antennas to be installed to support that really fine, almost 10 centimeter level tracking. And there’s also a tracking that you can do via Bluetooth and Bluetooth tracking, like the tile and other solutions, you know, require that a cell phone be nearby to receive the Bluetooth beacon information and then transmit that information, you know, through the phone that they saw that specific beacon at this location. So it just requires that that some other device be available nearby for Bluetooth tracking. Whereas the GPS tracking uses the infrastructure of two main services and one is the GPS satellites. And then the other one is the cellular network infrastructure.
Jeff: 17:13 So the device on its own determines his location through receiving GPS. So it doesn’t have to be confined in the warehouse with an antenna structure or doesn’t have to be near a cell phone to work. It can just be out on its own, receive the GPS signals, determine its location anywhere on the planet. It’s not limited by range. And then then communicate that location information through the cellular network. And so the maturity and consistency of those two services, our services are built upon those two major platforms. So you know each device uses both GPS that cellular service for its functionality. And so the complexity rises when you have thousands or tens of thousands of devices that are all reporting its location. And so we can show a dashboard with a map of the world and show you all the devices that are reporting on that map of the world.
Jeff: 18:11 We’ve made it easier to use by making a, let’s say a heat map showing you’ve got three devices in the UK and you’ve got, you know, 45 devices in India and you’ve got 30 in the Southeast U S. So you can separate it that way. But really when you’re trying to manage thousands or tens of thousands devices, you want to be managing those by exception. And not by just keeping treating them all equal. So we have the ability to create rules in our software. So you can say, show me all the devices that haven’t moved in the last seven days. Assuming that all the devices should be moving or show me all the devices that have moved in the last three days. You can narrow down on the list of devices that you really care about or show me all the devices that haven’t been into a geofence. Of all the geofences we’ve defined, show me all the ones that either are in the geofence or all the ones that are out of the geofence. So you can, you can manage by exception instead of by all. It’s a lot easier.
Janet: 19:15 I also think it’s fascinating that some of your devices have live audio monitoring. That is very cool.
Janet: 19:21 Yeah, so our consumers value that capability. You know, some of our devices have a two way audio capability and some, or just listen only. It’s not really so much for business applications, but a lot of our consumers use that for keeping track of their loved ones.
Janet: 19:37 Well, I think this is an amazing product that you have and I hope CES is going to be a home run for you because I see so many good applications for it and a real need for it as well.
Jeff: 19:49 Yes, we’ve been really fortunate to have a really wide variety of customers. Large companies come to us and ask for help to track their assets and we just continue to grow really rapidly as we work with these large companies. So it’s been, it’s just been a great, great fun for me to work with these wide variety of customers and to be able to listen to their application requirements and be able to understand the exact feature set that they need and what’s the exact hardware that they need to be successful with it. Because sometimes it’s something that’s not easy to tracker on and the battery life is hard to optimize so we can, we can work with each of these customers and optimize the devices and the software for their specific application. It’s really great to see when it all works and your customer is able to recover a stolen asset or a customer is able to understand where all their shipping containers are. It’s a really exciting to work with all these different customers.
Janet: 20:49 Well, I look forward to getting a personal demo when we’re at CES. Jeff, thank you so much for joining us and for everybody listening, I want to remind you that you can go to the show notes for this podcast episode and we will have a link to Jeff’s LinkedIn profile and we will also have links to the website where you can find out more about Logistimatics.
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