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|October 24, 1997||
Qualcomm may put railways on satellite tracking systemThe US-based $2-billion Qualcomm Inc is in talks with Indian Railways for installing a satellite-based system to track freight movement.
According to Tony Li, director (business development), Qualcomm, the introduction of the company's 'OmniTRACS' system will also help the railways manage the movement of track-maintenance vehicles in a smooth fashion.
Li said the company expects the railways to subscribe to 2,000 mobile units over the next two- three years. Li, who works from Qualcomm's headquarters in San Diego (California), was in Madras recently to speak at the Confederation of Indian Industries' Logistics '97 seminar.
Though Qualcomm expects the railways to be its most important customer for OmniTRACS in the country, it is also eyeing the trucking sector. "We are conducting a market research and will take a decision (to introduce OmniTRACS) by December. If we find there is sufficient demand, we can set up our systems and get started within six months," Li claimed.
According to him, 85 per cent of all trucks plying in the US have OmniTRACS installed in them. The company charges an all-inclusive monthly fee of $150 per truck. In the Indian road sector, Qualcomm is likely to first target transporters of oil and gas supplies and courier operators.
Li said Qualcomm are trying to convince the Department of Telecommunications to allow it to use the Apstar satellite (in association with Singapore Telecom) for operating its service instead of the indigenous Insat system.
He said that in order to set up OmniTRACS, the company would need Ku-band transponders - a commodity which is in short supply in India due to the recent collapse of the Insat-2D satellite.
Once it introduces OmniTRACS in the country, Qualcomm will look towards localising the system's hardware and software. Li said the company would like to outsource the development of local language versions of the OmniTRACS software and keyboards to Indian companies. "This is the strategy we have adopted in Japan and it has been quite successful. We will identify one of the leading Indian software companies for partnering us here," he said.
- Compiled from the Indian media
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