BI ExacuTrack® One Q&A with Senior Product Manager Jim Buck
BI ExacuTrack One is the only device on the market that utilizes four GPS systems to maximize location accuracy. The Omni-directional antenna delivers superior signal reception, and the field-replaceable battery provides up to 80 hours of battery life with a single charge, helping to drive client compliance. In addition, the cordless transmitting device—the beacon—enhances the device’s reliability, reduces cost and saves on power consumption. When the individual enters an area where a beacon is located (home, school or even work) the system intuitively switches to radio-frequency monitoring. Officers also have the ability to communicate with clients through the device using a set of pre-defined, recorded messages such as directing their clients on how to charge their battery or call their officer, to name a few. ExacuTrack One enables officers to draw specific zones in any shape through using industry-leading mapping technologies. The device offers numerous tamper-resistant features, including the industry’s only GPS jamming detection capability. Officers can be notified via e-mail, PDA or a combination. Event pairing enables officers to focus on critical alerts and higher risk cases.
Jim Buck is a Senior Product Manager at BI Incorporated. He has more than two decades of experience with BI and led ExacuTrack One product development efforts. Below, Jim answers questions about the ExacuTrack One.
Q. Why is the beacon an important tool to use with the ExacuTrack One?
A. ExacuTrack One has the option of a RF beacon that can be placed in the home, treatment center, work or other location where a client spends time. The beacon acts as an RF transmitter while the ExacuTrack One unit acts as a receiver. When the two come within range of one another, client location can be monitored using RF technology. This helps to conserve tracker battery life while also eliminating GPS drift or false alerts. This is especially advantageous when supervising clients living in environments where they are in close proximity to neighbors, such as multi-floor apartment buildings or even trailer homes.
Q. What cellular networks does the ExacuTrack One use?
A. The ExacuTrack One uses the CDMA network provided by Sprint and Verizon. Like all cellular providers, there are areas with limited coverage. For example, if there is no Sprint or Verizon coverage, the device may use other roaming providers also on the CDMA network. However, when the device is attempting to use AFLT, it must be in the service area of the devices service provider (Sprint or Verizon). The unit’s service provider can be determined by a ‘V’ (Verizon) or ‘S’ (Sprint) printed with the serial number on the device.
Q. Does the ExacuTrack One work in areas with little or no cell service?
A. If the client either lives or works within cell coverage, the device will automatically download when he/she comes within cell coverage. If, however, the client lives and works outside of cell coverage and the unit is unable to download daily through cellular communication, BI offers the BI HomeBase 105. The BI HomeBase 105 works with ExacuTrack One and provides a means of downloading location data to the host system. The unit relies on a traditional landline connection to communicate ExacuTrack One messages. It is ideal for clients with poor cellular reception in and around their residence, such as those living in rural areas.
Q. How can you tell if a client is attempting to tamper with the system?
A. There are several ways to detect if a client is trying to tamper with the device. This might include no GPS for periods of time over an hour in length, a GPS jamming detection alert, no motion longer than four hours, strap tamper alert or missed callback.
Q. How can do officers communicate with clients through the ExacuTrack One?
A. With ExacuTrack One, officers are able to communicate with clients using pre-recorded messages and prompts. A waterproof speaker on the tracking unit allows for communication from the officer to the client. Once the message is received by the client, the message is acknowledged by pressing a sensor on the tracking unit. Officers can send these voice notifications immediately or at a future date. You can require your client to acknowledge a voice notification by touching the client acknowledgement sensor. These messages are available in English and Spanish. The following list details all officer-initiated voice notification messages:
- ”Call your officer now.”
- “Low battery, recharge unit.”
- ”Please pay your fees immediately.”
- ”Report to the office immediately.”
- ”Remember your appointment.”
Q. What options do officers have to determine offender location?
A. See below:
- The device will automatically call in on its regularly scheduled time (determined by service plan).
- The device can be located between regularly scheduled times by choosing “find client now” (often referred to as “pinging” the device)
- In the event of a client escape and an officer needing constant updates, BI TotalAccess® offers Pursuit Mode which increases the location acquisition rate of one point every 15 seconds and the reporting interval to once every minute for a period of 30 minutes. It eliminates multiple Locate Requests and allows locations to be received in near real-time. An icon next to the client’s name on the caseload snapshot and mapping page shows the client is in Pursuit Mode. Event messages are available on the Alert and Event page. Once Pursuit Mode has ended, the location acquisition and reporting rates return to previous values.
- The Point In Time map allows officers to view client GPS points during a specified time-frame. Officers can also center the map over a specific address to determine if GPS points are located within a search area. This feature can also be used as a crime investigation tool. Put in the address and time of a crime and it will return any ExacuTrack One unit that was in the vicinity.
Q. Can multiple offenders on GPS tracking live in the same house or apartment?
A. Each unit is assigned to one individual only. The units do not interfere or communicate with each other, they only communicate with the host. Multiple offenders assigned to the ExacuTrack One can live in the same residence or apartment building.
Q. What value is the “Low battery, recharge unit” message?
A. This message to the client can be set up to repeat and not be just a one-time message. The ability to have the message repeat multiple times at intervals (from once every 15 minutes to once every four hours, in 15 minute increments) results in clients recharging their unit rather than forgetting to plug it in. Statistics show that since this was introduced, the number of units going into a Missed Callback state was reduced by more than 40 percent. This means fewer alerts and notifications to officers.