April 13, 2009, Updated September 19, 2012

For fleet owners today, keeping track of your vehicles and cargo is a vital task. Israeli company Pointer Telocation, knows all too well.

Keeping track of a moving target is a trickier task than observing a stationary one. This is something that Israeli company, Pointer Telocation, knows all too well.

Named after a species of tracking dog, the 10-year-old company has developed a range of high-tech security solutions that use sophisticated wireless communications technology, for vehicles on the move.

With Pointer’s small black devices concealed in a vehicle or container, bulldozers can no longer be snatched off construction sites, fewer crates of goods will go bump in the night, and even speeding wheels of stolen cars will be arrested to immobilization point.

Rosh Ha’ayin based Pointer was founded in 1991 as a spin-off of Nexus, a high-tech telecommunications company then involved in paging, automatic meter reading, and stolen vehicle recovery technologies. After a period of crisis in 2003, including mergers and acquisitions, private equity fund DBSI took over the company, and renamed it Pointer in 2006. That was the start of a turnaround.

Today, one of the company’s most established divisions is Cellocator, which specializes in two main sections of vehicle management and security – automatic vehicle location (AVL) and stolen vehicle recovery (SVR).

Tracking down drivers

AVL can help the trucking business with logistics and scheduling efficiency, and provide management solutions to problems of rental car or cab companies. Pointer’s Compact Fleet device tracks down and communicates with drivers.

The company recently added a new innovation, the Cellocator Handsfree unit, which includes a panic button for the driver’s use. Once activated, the button alerts a predetermined number that can listen in on the situation. Once a vehicle has been identified as stolen, the police will step in.

Apart from vehicle security, Pointer also tackles cargo management or asset tracking with its Cellotrack unit. Launched in February, Cellotrack can track mobile cargo, cartons, trailers, or be placed inside vehicles. If equipment or goods are moved, a small, self-powered, stand-alone tracking device immediately sounds a warning, providing precise locations of cargo or vehicles in real time.

Aside from this, Pointer recently added a new temperature sensor to its devices, enabling fleet managers transporting refrigerated or frozen items to gauge the temperature of cooled items and make adjustments if necessary.

Tracking technology is increasingly important on the roads today, not just for security, but also for saving money. Better management control means reduced operating costs for companies managing fleets of cars, trucks, and motorcycles and is a boon for their insurers. Aside from preventing theft, it can lead to reduced fuel consumption, better operational efficiency, and less manpower.

Pointer’s CEO is Danny Stern, a business maven with a graduate degree in economics and statistics, who has 20 years of experience managing engineering companies. Before joining Nasdaq-traded Pointer in 2005, the 56-year-old had launched two successful start-ups in the command and control field.

Strength in the market

Stern believes that Pointer’s strength in the market today is that it offers an array of software, hardware and services. “One of the key differentiators that Pointer Telocation has in comparison to other companies in the market is that it offers a complete and comprehensive range of AVL tracking units and control software,” he tells ISRAEL21c.

To date, Pointer (which saw revenues of $76.5 million in 2008) has installed over 500,000 of its units with over 30 countries around the world, including the UK, Europe, Latin America, Turkey and Russia. It is one of the country’s largest Israeli exporters in the field of fleet management and stolen vehicle recovery.

Last year alone, the company exported $22 million worth of products to Europe, South America and Asia.

Apart from its hardware, Pointer also has a well-developed services division, with subsidiaries in Argentina and Mexico providing solutions to AVL and SVR problems since 2001 and 2005 respectively.

Stern believes the company will do well in coming years, and there are plans afoot to expand Pointer’s presence in overseas markets in both logistics management and security. The global economy today is “savings driven,” explains Sterns, and consequently anxious to pursue efficiency in vehicle use and energy consumption.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director