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BLE Saves Batteries for Mileage Tracker App

Motus has developed a beacon that, when placed in a user's car, can automatically turn a smartphone's GPS data on or off to help save batteries while tracking mileage throughout the workday.
By Claire Swedberg

So Motus looked to beacon technology for a solution. It developed a gumball-sized BLE beacon that is being built by a partner company. The battery-powered beacon transmits its signal at regular intervals. New users receive the beacon in the mail. To launch the system, a user downloads the Motus app, pairs the beacon with his or her phone and then puts the beacon in the glove box or other safe receptacle within the vehicle he or she drives for work.

When the individual enters the vehicle at the beginning of the day, the phone's app captures the beacon transmission, which prompts the app to turn on its GPS data-collection functionality. The app then tracks where the phone is as that person begins driving to the first client. Accelerometers in the phone and in the beacon identify when the vehicle has come to a stop, and that location is linked to that event.

Motus CEO Craig Powell
When the individual steps out of the car, the phone no longer receives beacon transmissions, and the app is prompted to switch off the GPS function. It also stores the time stamp with that location, indicating that the individual has arrived at the client site and is proceeding to a scheduled visit. When the employee returns to the car, the phone again receives beacon transmissions, relaunches the GPS functionality and stores a time stamp, thereby indicating the visit's completion.

The app also uses the location-based data to determine the customer for each particular stop, along with typical product usage. It then prompts the worker to respond if he or she would like to reorder a product that might have been used at that site. Employers can then view this data as well, in order to determine when client visits took place, by whom, and the mileage for which the worker may need to be reimbursed.

The Motus beacon and app saves workers considerable administrative time, the company reports. Instead of filling out paperwork about mileage, as well as the amount of time spent at each visit, a user can simply let the app and the beacon data provide that information automatically.

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