Back to

Archive for the 'Message from the Founder' Category

The future of wildlife telemetry.

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

From the manufacturing end of things wildlife telemetry has certainly gotten more interesting in the last few years.  When I started in this industry in 1979 it was just a question of how big your transmitter was going to be.  Then in the 80’s along came GPS.  Our friends in The Great White North broke that market open and slowly during the 90’s others jumped on that bandwagon.  Telemetry Solutions jumped on in 2006 with our own GPS wildlife tracking design. That was interesting for us but in 2007 it really started to get interesting when we developed a GPS unit that only weighed 15 grams.  But that’s just the electronic weight, with the battery it was over 25 grams.  Still exciting though, at least in 2007.

Then in 2008 a wildlife biologist from The U.S. Forest Service presented himself in our office asking for even smaller GPS collars.  I’ve told this story here before.  He asked to take a unit back to The Sierras to prove to his boss that the technology would work and he also asked us to reduce the product size and weight and add remote download.  He left, we exchanged a few emails and yada, yada, yada we came up with a product that would work for him.   So the answer to the question “Where is this all headed?” is this, -Wherever you tell us to head it!  You, the customers, are in the driver’s seat.

A few months later we got a call asking for GPS for quail.  The young guy on the phone asked his question and before I could answer he said, “I know, it’s going to be 3 more years right?”  I replied, “No, actually we can do that now.”  But I didn’t just pull one off the shelf, we had to put some effort into it.  Last week a bird biologist told me that our 5.9 gram GPS was “too heavy.”  Hello Betty!  I think I’ve blogged about this before too, I heard it at a conference once.  “Ok, what will it take?” I asked.  His reply – 4 grams!  This includes battery weight friends.

After we hung up, I waited for everyone to leave the office and sat here with the electronics on my desk, just staring at it wondering how we can reduce the weight.  It’s mostly battery, the GPS board only weighs 2.4 grams.  I used to ride motorcycles with a guy who would buy expensive carbon fiber parts to cut a few ounces off his Ducati.  He needed to lose 15 pounds himself but that would be too easy, so he bought carbon fiber instead.  But it’s that motorcycle racing mentality that I needed to be in so I sat down at a work bench and started in.  In 5 minutes I had cut .2 grams.  Not bad eh?  Then I cut another .3, that took a little longer.  Our engineers worked on it some more the next day and we’re at 4.2 grams right now so there’s only .2 left to go to get to that magical 4 gram number.

Bird GPS under 7 grams with automatic data download to your PC exists now because someone emailed me and asked for it.

I have a friend with a masters degree in psychology who likes to tell his friends that certain feelings, thoughts, behaviors, etc are “on them.”  Well now I’m telling you that whatever direction that wildlife telemetry is headed is on you.  So take 5 minutes and write an email, better yet, pick up the phone and tell us where you want this to go.

And check us out on YouTube at


Wildlife tracking and the mystery of the technology

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

As we have miniaturized and moved GPS wildlife tracking toward smaller and smaller species we find that there is some confusion about how the products can meet customers’ needs.  Without understanding the products you won’t know if our products are right for you or not?  Our website is chock-a-block with useful information.  You’ve come this far, give us a call, it takes 2 minutes to listen to your needs and point you in the right direction.  And we have an entire series of non Academy Award winning videos that endeavor to enlighten one about our products and their capabilities. Phone 1-925-798-1942 or email

Selling the idea to your boss

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Hey, you have a job, you’re getting paid, why go out on a limb with your boss?  If no one has used a GPS device in the way you are planning on using it why should you be first?  Possibly because you’ll have data vital to the work that you’re trying to do?

Have a new idea that no one has tried?  Found a telemetry company (that’s us) that is willing to customize a product to fit your needs?  Just think, when it works out you’ll be the hero.  If your boss is still on the fence, give me a call and we’ll see what we can do to help you persuade him.   In 2009 we made some bosses pretty happy.


New technology

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Over the holidays we installed a new and improved phone system in the office.  We anticipated that there would be some glitches so we set it up during that dead time between Christmas and New Years.  On the first day with the new system the phones basically did not work at all.    On the second day the phones worked but incoming calls all went straight to voice mail.  It has turned out to be a great system but it was frustrating getting it to work.  Then it occurred to me that this is how our customers  may feel sometimes.  There is a period of setting up all the software and hardware to work together and occasionally it requires the patience of Job.

However, in the past year we have made improvements to reduce these frustrations.  We have revised and improved the user manuals, started a FAQ section on the website, removed the password requirement from the software and manual download section of the website, improved the GPS antenna on the collars, improved and enhanced all product testing prior to shipping and made great improvements in our order forms for customized equipment.  There are several more things we did to make your life with our products easier but you get the picture.  Then, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, we have introduced a new activity data feature and the smart GPS feature.  Get your dialing finger ready boys and girls.  The difference between our experience with the phones and your experience with our products is that if you have a problem you can call (or Skype or email) and we help you right away………including weekends.


What we track at Telemetry Solutions.

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

The answer is you, our customers.  Twice every day we  meet about customers, what they liked and what they didn’t like.  What they need and what they don’t need.   An example:  recently we received a call from a customer who had lost his password and couldn’t log into the support page to download a piece of software.  He had to call us to get the password.  What a waste of time for him!  That was the end of that password requirement. Within 10 minutes that password restriction was gone forever……off the website.  Another example:  We used to send out calendars at the end of the year.  We did this for several years.  All of our customers received one.  They were nice, each month had a different photograph of North American wildlife.  On the last page, hanging down about an inch lower than the calendar proper was Telemetry Solutions’ name and contact information. Sitting in a customer’s office one day I noticed that he had our calendar on his wall but that our name and contact information had been cut off.  “Ah-hah!  Customers don’t like our name and contact info on their calendar,” I thought.  So that was the end of the calendars.  Oh, maybe that’s not the right story for this blog entry?

On a serious note, this is one big way in which the products improve, through customer feedback and our assessment of that feedback.  And we don’t beat it to death before we act, it happens quickly.  So loosen up those typing fingers or just give us a call, we would be happy to hear from you!  Compliment or complaint… doesn’t matter…..we want to hear it.