Vistar's GlobalWave asset tracking and monitoring system began commercial operation through its subsidiary Vistar Datacom in Canada/U.S. in late 1999. By the end of 2001, operations will also be underway through Regional Operators in Australia, Europe, South Africa and the Middle East, with others to follow. GlobalWave is a proprietary wireless, end-to-end satellite-based packet data system, which operates with a variety of existing L-band geostationary satellites. This system provides tracking, monitoring and control and short message services to a wide variety of fixed and mobile assets, including trailers, railcars, heavy equipment, ships, fixed tanks, pumping stations, meter reading, a variety of fixed and mobile security applications, among others.
User terminals for this system are characterized by exceptionally low power consumption and low latency, thereby providing near-real time monitor and control. The end user business or Value Added Reseller (VAR) very often accesses the GlobalWave system via Internet, which requires a GlobalWave Value-Added Application Server (GWVAS) to interface GlobalWave data with the back-office business operations of the company.
Initial development of a prototype GWVAS for the GlobalWave DGS System was undertaken in early 2000, but it became clear that the feature set was inadequate to serve specialized market segments (e.g. custom web pages for marine use), was difficult to in
Key issues associated with the development and test of this GWVAS application server are:
- completion and acceptance of GWVAS SW on schedule
- completion of Pilot Trial arrangements and the actual trial on schedule
- user acceptance of the features offered by GWVAS
- subsequent conversion to full commercial service
This GWVAS application server development will provide convenient and easy to use end-to-end connectivity between the desired terminal sensors(for a variety of applications) and the VAR's particular back office business processes. This in turn will better meet user and VAR requirements, and facilitate the sale of GlobalWave systems and terminals. The GWVAS SW developed will be immediately incorporated in the commercial GlobalWave system during the course of the work, after suitable acceptance testing.
The GlobalWave system architecture which will be employed in the Pilot Utilisation activity is that for the commercial system illustrated above. The GlobalWave Value-Added Server (GWVAS) platform provides the following functions and has the architecture as shown below.GWVAS Functions:
- store and update message content
- disseminate alarms to customers
- generate & deliver value-added reports on messages
- generate and serve www pages
- receive control and configuration messages
- provide back office terminal, customer and billing info
This application server is a generic platform of the GlobalWave system, interfacing on one side with the GlobalWave Packet Processing Centre(PPC), and it must be customised to interface on the other side via Internet with specialised back-office application servers which reside on customer premises. The Pilot Utilisation architecture can also be illustrated as below.
The Project Plan includes the following major work elements:
- GWVAS Development for Regional Operators
- GWVAS for Messaging
- GWVAS for Marine Application
The last of these involves the development of a marine application I/F to work with Ray Tech, followed by a marine Pilot Trial with that company involving 5 marine terminals and an evaluation. The planned project duration is 7 months.
Both the GWVAS software development and the marine Pilot Trial have been extremely effective in moving GlobalWave marine services towards a commercial reality later in 2002. Through this ESA contract, Vistar was able to develop critical GWVAS application software, obtain valuable feedback and experience through a Pilot Trial, and help establish strategic relationships in the marine electronics area, on which to build a broad base of marine telematics services. Vistar is confident that these new marine services will enjoy increasing commercial success over the next decade.