Mobility on speed dial
Smartphones expand technology options
Smartphones are spreading like wildfire throughout the transportation industry. Executives, managers and drivers are consuming new apps that increase their connectivity and productivity.
The cloud computing model – a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet – quickly has become the mainstream for how businesses choose to process, store and manage their data. The power and affordability of today’s consumer devices and cloud computing have opened a wide menu of options for deploying new technology using a wide range of compatible devices, wireless services and apps that meet specific needs.
A major consideration of using smartphone technology is what to do about electronic driver logs. Due to recent rule changes, electronic logs increasingly have become necessary to avoid common mistakes and penalties associated with using paper logbooks.
Giving smartphones to drivers can be a cost-effective way to fulfill a need, such as automating driver messaging or capturing pickup-and-delivery details. But if deploying a U.S. Department of Transportation-compliant electronic onboard recorder also is on your priority list, the range of options narrows.
J.J. Keller offers an onboard recorder for $199 that is compatible with Android smartphones to record hours of service and driver vehicle inspection reports through its Encompass E-Logs online reporting service, which starts at $3 per month.
By upgrading to the Encompass Compliance Edition for $6.50 per month, fleets can use an expanded set of compliance tools for vehicle maintenance, a Compliance Safety Accountability dashboard and BASICs management. The Encompass Premium Edition is $25 per month and includes a performance dashboard with fuel usage, GPS location tracking and other driver metrics.
Greg Gossler, safety and compliance manager for Hercules Transport – a Choudrant, La.-based hazmat hauler – says J.J. Keller’s onboard recorder and Encompass system have improved his company’s compliance and dispatch efficiency.
A wide range of compatible devices, wireless services and apps meet specific needs.
“We now have the capability to give a driver his dispatch over a handheld,” Gossler says. “We wanted something to be able to tell a driver that ‘Your dispatch has changed. You don’t need to leave at 6 a.m. as you were previously told. You need to leave at 3 a.m. ”
Xata Turnpike’s RouteTracker service combines DOT-approved electronic logs with GPS tracking, engine diagnostic reporting and electronic driver inspections for $35 per month. A small device captures satellite tracking and engine data from the vehicle and connects to a mobile app on devices using Bluetooth.
Another example of how smartphone apps can lower IT costs is with electronic proof of delivery and signature capture.
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