A product that some service providers bought for business reasons is having a side benefit: reducing their carbon footprint.

SageQuest provides GPS fleet tracking and management. Its software is used by fleet dispatchers and executives to provide real-time information about vehicle and driver activity. Managers can tell when a vehicle is driving at a high rate of speed or when it’s sitting still with the engine idling. The software also tracks vehicle location, of course, and can also be used as a tool to conserve fuel.

SageQuest will be exhibiting its fuel saving features in the SCTE’s Green Pavilion at CableTech-Expo in Denver. (For more, click here).

Some cable companies that are using SageQuest’s fleet tracking include Time Warner Cable, Buckeye Cable, and Bend Broadband, according to Doug Engerman, VP of business development with SageQuest.

“Most bought it for other reasons…creating visibility as to how their vehicle operators were performing,” said Engerman. “Reducing their carbon footprint has turned out to be a byproduct.”

That wasn’t the case, however, at Cox, which purchased a GPS system from Trimble for environmental reasons. The MSO has a Cox Conserves program focused on reducing Cox Enterprises’ carbon emissions 20 percent by the year 2017.

“To date, the company has invested in efficient heating and cooling systems, hybrid fleet vehicles, renewable energy sources and more,” wrote Mark Leuenberger, director of fleet operations, Cox Enterprises, in an article for Communications Technology. “This same commitment to more sustainable fleet and field operations is what has motivated the company’s investment in GPS solutions for its vehicles and a new intelligent field service dispatch system.”

Regardless of a service provider’s initial reason for implementing GPS tracking, GPS reports can provide a scorecard on fuel consumption.

Engerman said by comparing the EPA’s estimated miles per gallon for a specific engine type with the actual miles per gallon, SageQuest can score a driver on fuel efficiency and also generate a report on actual carbon ouptut.

Drivers who waste fuel by gunning their engines or sitting in their vehicles with the motor running (or making too many donut runs) can be re-trained to increase their miles per gallon.
 
And that leads to another side benefit: fuel cost savings.

In a pilot program to reduce vehicle idle time, Cox and Trimble sent alerts to a control group of drivers when their engines were idling and compared that to a non-controlled group.

“We discovered that triggering the behavior we wished resulted in an average engine idle time of 11 minutes per field service rep per day,” wrote Leuenberger. “Without proactive triggers, the engine idle time average was 96 minutes per day.  The difference of 85 minutes per day reduction was the result between the groups. For the Cox Communications dispatched fleet, at $3.00 per gallon, this translates into $6 million of fuel savings per year and annual CO2 emissions reduction of 43 million pounds.”

Trimble will also be exhibiting at SCTE’s Green Pavilion next week in Denver.

-Linda Hardesty

The Daily

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