Volvo offers integrated communications

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Volvo Trucks North America ( last month unveiled Volvo Link – a two-way satellite communications system that will be offered as factory-installed option on VN or VHD models. The system also can be retrofitted to any late-model (2000 model year and newer) VN or VHD.

“Volvo Link is a significant technological advancement because it offers a competitive advantage to Volvo owners by providing two-way communications as affordable as cellular technology, but with the coverage of satellite technology,” says Susan Alt, vice president of marketing for VTNA. Volvo Link, Alt says, gives Volvo owner-operators and small and mid-size fleets affordable access to the communications technology they need to be competitive.

The new system combines satellite technology, a proprietary design modem and Internet-based hosting and communication of data and messaging. In the cab, Volvo Link requires no keyboard to send messages. The system uses the windshield wiper control arm to scroll through standardized, pre-formatted messages or to create customized messages. The Driver Message Center, which has been incorporated into the dash of every 2000 and new model year Volvo, displays incoming and outgoing text. One of the side benefits of Volvo Link is fleet security and theft recovery, the company says. The Global Positioning System antenna is hidden, and the high-performance modem is placed inside the dashboard.

Dispatchers can use the Internet to send and receive messages and to retrieve critical vehicle information and operating parameters transmitted through the modem. Truck location, vehicle diagnostics and reports concerning mileage, fuel economy, engine running and idle time can be generated with a simple command.

Monthly operating cost will vary depending on individual usage. The monthly service fee is $14.95 plus per truck, and usage fees that typically range between 20 cents and 50 cents a minute.

Volvo Link complements the truck manufacturer’s Performance Integrated Systems Management, or PRISM, system, which is a comprehensive package of support services and products designed to improve and protect operations, increase efficiency, and enhance the safety and performance of drivers, fleet managers and technicians.