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TracPlus Unveils ‘Beacon’: An App That Transforms Smartphones Into Powerful Tracking Devices

A wildland firefighter marking ‘Ops Normal’ via TracPlus Beacon. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

TracPlus, a global leader in aerial firefighting software solutions, today announced the launch of TracPlus Beacon, an innovative mobile application that transforms smartphones into advanced tracking devices. Integrated seamlessly with the TracPlus Cloud platform, this solution extends the trusted tracking, operational oversight and safety to more asset types across land, sea, and air. It is designed to meet the needs of diverse and complex environments, providing scalable, cost-effective tracking capabilities without the need for additional hardware for assets within cellular reception.

As the only commercial provider delivering a complete country-wide tracking solution for the aerial firefighting market, TracPlus continues to redefine emergency management worldwide. By leveraging a team's smartphone, leaders can now utilise these devices as sophisticated safety tools, providing real-time location updates directly within the trusted TracPlus Cloud platform. With just a tap, users can activate real-time tracking and use the phone’s GPS to send continuous location data, even caching data when out of cellular range to upload later and ensure uninterrupted tracking.

Todd O’Hara, TracPlus’ Head of Product says that this new capability is a game-changer because it extends the trusted TracPlus service to a connection that teams already carry with them—their smartphones.

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“The future of our industry hinges on connectivity, and embracing ‘cellular over satellite’ technology is a key step. The acceleration towards ubiquitous data access, even over fire fronts, is becoming more feasible and TracPlus Beacon represents our first step to capitalise on this shift."

"Looking ahead, its not unrealistic to see an app like TracPlus Beacon to become AFF-compatible, providing critical firefighting data—including images and streaming video from fires, alongside other telemetry and analytics—at volumes that existing satellite infrastructures simply cannot support."

With TracPlus Beacon, the company broadens accessibility to vital safety features by providing a straightforward way for customers to engage with the valuable insights and oversight capabilities of TracPlus Cloud. This integration with TracPlus Cloud delivers a unified operational view, offering real-time visibility that is crucial for managing remote field teams or coordinating complex logistics. As a result, customers gain a consistent and accurate overview of their operations, enabling effective safety management and operational efficiency across diverse environments.

TracPlus Beacon is now universally available to all organisations, regardless of their current aircraft tracking system provider. To showcase the groundbreaking advantages and ease of integration of TracPlus Beacon, TracPlus is offering one free license to any organisation that operates aircraft anywhere in the world, including those that do not yet use the TracPlus system. This initiative invites entities to experience a major advancement in tracking technology that sets a new standard in the industry. With its commitment to innovation, TracPlus continues to redefine what's possible in operational management and safety.

Company History

TracPlus was founded in the wake of a tragic event that highlighted a critical need for improved tracking technology. In 2003, off the coast of New Zealand's South Island, a boating accident resulted in three fatalities. The vessel was equipped with a traditional 121-style rescue beacon, which could only provide a basic locational signal. Due to the limitations of the technology, which required multiple satellite passes to determine a location, rescue teams were given four potential locations spread across the country. It took nearly three hours after the incident before the rescue team located the vessel, but by then, it was too late for three of the six occupants who succumbed to the harsh conditions.

This incident spurred a local helicopter pilot, who was involved in the rescue operation, and a technology enthusiast, to rethink how tracking technology could be improved. Their goal was clear: create a system that could provide real-time, continuous tracking, not just in emergencies but as a standard practice. By late 2005, their efforts culminated in equipping a helicopter with a small, satellite-based tracking terminal, paving the way for what would become TracPlus in 2007.

Since its inception, TracPlus has evolved from a concept born of necessity into a trusted global leader, particularly distinguished in the firefighting market. Today, we proudly serve clients across over 40 countries, and our systems have monitored and supported over 9.5 million service hours across a spectrum of critical operations, with a significant focus on firefighting. This specialisation has not only showcased our commitment to innovation but also solidified our position as the go-to provider for wildfire management solutions worldwide. Our advanced tracking and communication technology plays a vital role on the front lines of emergency and crisis situations, serving not merely as a tool for data collection but as an essential lifeline that enhances safety, coordination, and effective response in the most demanding conditions.

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