Fast Company writes:
What’s remarkable is how quickly commercial and civilian applications of GPS have outstripped military uses. In 10 years, GPS has quietly become an indispensable tool across the U.S. economy. Truckers use it, of course, as do fishermen, hikers, and surveyors. But so do the terrestrial- and cellular-phone networks. Power companies and farmers use GPS, as do archaeologists, the Buffalo Bills, police departments, school districts, and concrete companies. NASA uses GPS to navigate spacecraft, construction firms use it to navigate bulldozers, and several big seaports use it to guide robotic cranes that load and unload shipping containers. Wall Street banks and brokerage houses depend on the satellites more than they depend on CNBC.
And the technology is just taking hold. It’s predicted that, in 2003, just as many GPS devices of all kinds will be produced as in the previous 25 years that the satellites have been in orbit — and that, in 2004, the number of devices will double again.
“This business is not about the cost of moving something,” says Chris Hance, a regional sales manager who just spent three years as a regional account executive for Con-Way NOW. “It’s about the opportunity cost of not getting it there when you need it.”
To a big manufacturer, spending a few thousand dollars to move equipment is nothing compared with letting an assembly line sit idle at a cost of $100,000 an hour. “We are Big Brother,” says Hance. “That’s what we are selling to our customers. They always know where the shipment is. We’ve got what it takes to let them sleep at night.”