UPDATE: Domino’s new GPS tracking app launches amidst theft accusations

Domino’s launch of its GPS Driver Tracker, which allows customers to track their orders ‘from store to door’, has been soured by accusations from Precision Tracking, an Australian IT firm, that say the technology is stolen from them.

“We invented Domino's GPS driver tracker and installed the system into 50 of their stores,” says a webpage dedicated to the accusations on the company’s site.

“We put our livelihoods on the line and spent three years working hard to get it working right and make it great.”

“Now Domino's are now claiming our hard work and innovations as their own! They breached our Non-Disclosure Agreement and gave confidential information to a foreign company, with whom they made a knock-off of our product.”

“Protecting our Intellectual Property is important to us. We have been granted a patent on our technology and have another one pending.”

“Domino's is well aware of this, but for some reason doesn't seem to think Domino's Pizza Enterprises (ASX:DMP) shareholders need to know about it.”

“In May this year, our R&D manager attempted to write to Domino's shareholders to raise concerns about Domino's management.”

“Domino's refused to provide their shareholder contact details, contrary to their obligations under subsection 173(3) of the Corporations Act 2001.” 

“We wonder how Domino's shareholders would react to learning that their company had spent heavily on patent-infringing technology subject to litigation that could prevent its use or impose licensing costs detrimental to Domino's future earnings?”

Idealog contacted Domino’s NZ general manager Scott Bush for comment on Precision Tracking's claims. A spokesperson for Domino's supplied the following statement:

“Throughout the initial planning stages Domino’s conducted trials and workings with a number of GPS suppliers to establish the optimal GPS tracking solution suitable to their business.”

“During this process Domino’s found the Navman Wireless solution to be significantly superior in all areas to any other potential supplier, including Precision Tracking. The appointment of Navman Wireless as the preferred supplier was based on a number of factors, including technical capabilities, usability and price.”

“Domino’s confirms Precision Tracking was one of the suppliers being trialled and, as such conducted a trial of their solution in selected Domino’s stores. Navman’s GPS solution developed for Domino’s is in no way based on or uses the Precision Tracking solution or technology.”

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Original story continues below:

Domino’s Pizza has launched its GPS Driver Tracker, which will allow customers track their orders ‘from store to door’ and the company to carefully monitor driver behaviour.

Trading on the hipness of a certain unnamed ride-sharing platform, the company is describing the new tracking tech rollout as the ‘uberfication’ of their delivery system, and says that, by Monday, the GPS system will be up and running across the country.

“In the past,” says Domino’s NZ general manager Scott Bush, “you’d order by phone, online or with a device, place an order, and you’d be given a tiny little bit of vague information, like an estimation of how long it’s going to take for you order to be delivered – that was using a program of our own design, our pizza tracker.”

“We’re taking it to the next level,” enthuses Bush. “Now it’s genuinely interactive. You can track the driver, know the driver’s name, ask a number of questions, find the nearest store and see the fastest route, and you’re in control the entire time. It’s a whole new degree of transparency”.

Image: Domino’s NZ general manager Scott Bush

Bush, who started as a Domino’s driver himself in 2003 says the new tech has been in development for the last three years in conjunction with Navman Wireless.

“We’d noticed the GPS technology that was being used with truck drivers that could track their behaviour and safety, so it became a case of us saying ‘how can we make this work for us and improve the customer experience?’”

“We certainly did have a look around to see who had the best technology available,” he says. “The system needed to be able to talk to our legacy software, and obviously [customer] security is a big thing for us, and Navman could provide that. For a tool like this you have to be able to guarantee that security.”

The tracking technology has been trialled in fifty Domino’s stores in Australia for 18 months and the company says that during that time they have seen the number of driver incidents reduce by 50%.

“We’ve always been a tech-savvy team, but we realised that we’d never really had any control over our drivers once they leave the store. The safety of our team members really is paramount to us, so this technology will allow us to monitor unsafe driving and more general team safety at the same time.”

With the launch of the app Bush says the company is projecting an increase in sales and a new demand for drivers once the technology is established.

“We’ll probably do, I’d like to say around 20 to 30% [more business],” says Bush, “but we’re not too worried about that right now. At this stage were just focused on making sure we’re getting it right initially, but yes, I do think it will be a key driver in our growth.”

“We’re certainly going to need a lot more drivers and I think we’ll get them, especially now that we’ve got these elements around safety. The big challenge for us is that we’re going to need them so fast, in such a short space of time. I think, with this, our delivery business is going to grow exponentially.”

Fundamentally though, Bush says the prime motivation behind the app is driver safety, first and foremost.

“We’re going to launch with a number of alerts – speeding, reckless driving, and we’re going to take a firm stance on that immediately. I really believe we can get pizzas to people’s doors quicker, but we can also do it safer too.”

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Faster pizzas and less car crashes are a good thing of course, but there's a dark side to the global positioning system phenomenon too.

To find out more, check out this paranoia-inducing Ted Talk from Todd Humphreys: How to Fool a GPS.