Originally created 03/02/05

Company's tools aid in tracking employees



If you think sneaking in some errands after that business meeting is something your boss will never discover, think again.

Thanks to new technology, today's managers can keep tabs on their employees wherever they go.

One company that is giving supervisors the added edge is the Aiken-based AerComTec International Inc.

The company, founded in 1997, develops and implements software for several products, most of which hinge on keeping business efficient and secure through closely tracking personnel and products, said President and chief executive Javad Afshar.

"Everything we do has two parts: managing assets and addressing security concerns," he said.

The company's most popular product is the AerTrax V, which is typically installed on tractor-trailers and allows location, speed and mileage information to be remotely monitored.

Another component of the AerTrax can be integrated with an alarm system for alerting a vehicle's owner of a break-in, and then allowing the stolen vehicle to be tracked.

Logistics companies are warming to the new technology, especially in light of a push for greater efficiency in the industry and heightened security concerns in the United States, said AerComTec sales and marketing coordinator Ankur Pogula.

"Trucking companies really want to know where their trucks are," Mr. Pogula said.

The increasing popularity of Global Positioning System-tracking technology is making business boom, and the company expects that by the end of 2005 it will triple the number of its tracking units currently on the market to 8,000.

Although most of the devices AerComTec sells are built by a Canadian manufacturer, the software that runs the equipment is written by AerComTec programmers in Aiken, Mr. Pogula said.

The popularity of the AerTrax system, which has been a staple for AerComTec for years, has driven the company to expand its product offering beyond basic vehicle tracking.

One system, called CellTrax, allows GPS-enabled Nextel cell phones to be tracked.

The service could, for example, allow a supervisor at a plumbing company to track each of its service workers carrying a AerComTec-programmed phone.

One feature that works with CellTrax is geo-fencing, which can sound an alarm in the boss's office if an employee leaves a certain area, for example. Another feature allows job orders to be sent to the phone.

Another AerComTec system, called Trailer Tracking, allows for more sophisticated monitoring of a truck and cargo.

For instance, a manager could be remotely alerted through motion sensors, alarms on doors, temperature sensors and unexpected changes in cargo weight.

Although most of the company's sales are made to commercial clients, individuals have purchased tracking units for reasons that have little to do with business, Mr. Pogula said.

"Husbands and wives track each other," he said.

However, the company doesn't endorse tracking others without their knowledge, Mr. Afshar said.

Reach Adrian Burns at (706) 823-3352 or adrian.burns@augustachronicle.com.

At a glance

Company: AerComTec International Inc.

Founded: 1997

Employs: Seven

Location: Woodside Executive Court, Aiken

Product: AerComTec develops and implements software for a host of products that allow personnel and cargo to be remotely monitored and tracked using Global Positioning System technology.

Source: AerComTec International Inc.