Full speed ahead

AirIQ Inc. signed a definitive agreement to acquire the business of Aircept.com through wholly owned subsidiary AirIQ U.S. Aircept.com, a telematics services company based in Irvine, Calif., has more than 80,000 active subscribers.

Digital Dispatch Systems entered into a non-binding letter of intent to purchase all outstanding shares of transportation software developer Maddocks Systems Inc. The transaction, expected to close on Sept. 17, will allow Maddocks to expand its product offerings and customer base more quickly, said Maddocks Systems President Robert Maddocks.

Intermec Technologies Corp.received a contract from the U.S. Department of the Army to provide mobile computing, automatic identification systems and wireless networking technologies and services worth as much as $238 million to all branches of the U.S. military over the next five years.

Melton Technologies Inc. said it will incorporate the KonaWare Mobility Platform to allow customers of MTI’s Horizon fleet management solution to send and receive delivery data wirelessly through Pocket PCs while en route.

Truckstop.net signed Landstar to its Wi-Fi network, providing wireless Internet access at truckstops to the carrier’s network of 1,000 independent sales agents and 7,000 business capacity owners.

SkyBitz has added geofencing capabilities to its Global Locating System (GLS) platform. With SkyBitz’s InSight GeoFencing solution, fleet managers can predetermine geographic boundaries of trailers, allowing carriers to obtain alerts of arrival and departure times and out-of-route positioning.

Unicru Inc., provider of the Web-based Total Workforce Acquisition solution, formed an alliance with USIS/DAC Services to develop an integrated application, screening and hiring process for the trucking industry. USIS’s proprietary Employment History File contains information on more than 5 million commercially licensed drivers.

Teletouch Communications has purchased the paging assets of Paging Network Inc. The acquisition provides Teletouch with new licenses, infrastructure and 25,000 paging customers throughout Georgia and portions of Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi.

Xora, Inc., a provider of mobile workforce management solutions, announced the signing of its 1,000th Xora GPS TimeTrack customer. Managers of field-service organizations use Xora GPS TimeTrack as a tool to keep track of mobile workers’ activities and billable hours.

Imagine connecting to the Internet with a notebook or handheld anywhere you can use your cell phone – and at landline speeds or faster. With next-generation (3G) networks from Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and other major providers, the dream is a reality.

Sprint, for example, launched a 3G network two years ago that uses CDMA 2000 1X, a digital wireless technology developed by Qualcomm. Sprint’s network reaches peak speeds of 144 kilobytes per second (kbps) and averages between 40 and 60 kbps, says Qualcomm’s Jan Dehesh. Even at average speeds, the network is twice as fast as the familiar 56K dial-up connection, Dehesh says, since the actual throughput of dial-up is 19.6 kbps. “You truly do see a remarkable difference when downloading things,” says Dehesh, vice president of Qualcomm’s Enterprise Marketing Division.

Although greater bandwidth is a welcome convenience, it comes at a premium. So does 3G offer enough value to merit the premium price of about $80 a month? It just might if you are considering wireless applications that feature document imaging, file downloads, video conferencing, chat and Web browsing.

Phoenix-based Camping Companies Inc. (CCI) is an auto repossession firm that uses Sprint’s CDMA 2000 1X network to power a wireless software application called Re-Pros. CCI has 12 offices in five states – Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Oklahoma – that handle repossessions for lien holders such as banks, credit unions and the financing arms of companies such as Ford Motor Company.

For high-speed Internet connectivity between its tow trucks and the office, CCI equipped each tow truck with a ruggedized Panasonic laptop and a CDMA 2000 1X Sierra Wireless AirCard for Sprint. The Re-Pros system, developed by CCI in conjunction with Phoenix-based software developer AppsCafe, facilitates communication between collections departments and CCI over secure high-speed Internet connections, including the wireless data sent to and from its tow trucks.

Re-Pros eliminates paperwork between all parties and provides real-time recovery status to CCI and its customers, says Walt Camping, the company’s president and CEO. To date, the system has improved driver productivity by more than 50 percent and office productivity by 30 percent, he says.

Before implementing Re-Pros, drivers came to the office every morning to get the paperwork for the current day’s jobs and transcribe their notes from the previous day. As a result, drivers were spending about three hours a day at the office, Camping says.

Drivers no longer come into the office. When they turn on their laptops, the Re-Pros software automatically syncs and downloads the jobs into a queue that is updated throughout the day – including when jobs are canceled due to vehicle owners making last-minute payments, Camping says.

In addition to having a real-time job queue, drivers can bring up information on the spot without looking through paper folders. They can review the original faxes from lien holders and download and print documents from Pentax portable printers to show to an irate vehicle owner. When drivers deliver repossessed cars to auctions, they can scan-in a delivery receipt to update the system as well as enter any notes.

CCI’s drivers are given an allowance to have cell phones, which they use to call the local police to notify them when cars are taken into repossession. But the company is working with law enforcement to accept e-mail instead, Camping says. Since CCI’s drivers are paid a base salary and commission, the productivity gains as a result of the paperless system have helped to increase driver pay by more than 50 percent.

“Every time a driver touches a file in the truck and does work, it automatically e-mails and updates the system,” Camping says. “We have documented evidence that we have had a job completed within 18 minutes of having a job come in and checked out. That’s the name of the game.”

Despite the competitive advantage the company has gained through its use of the new wireless applications – including an increase in revenues by 20 percent – Camping isn’t keeping the Re-Pros software a secret. He’s looking to sell software licenses to other “repo” companies.

“When we did this, we found out that we were the only one in the world with a system like this,” Camping says. CCI has proven the worth of high-speed cellular networks by creating mobile, paper-free offices on wheels.

Thermo King offers Pocket PC application
Thermo King Corporation has introduced Pocket Wintrac software for Pocket PC devices running Windows Pocket PC operating systems. Pocket Wintrac is an extension of the Wintrac download, data management and report generation utility for Thermo King truck, trailer, container and rail microprocessor controllers.

Data can be downloaded from multiple data loggers and controllers for transfer to Wintrac or FleetWatch management software. Because Pocket Wintrac allows for easy data downloading, diagnostic reports can be accessed quickly. The increased flexibility of Pocket Wintrac allows drivers to verify cargo temperatures at the point of delivery, download the last trip and either display the temperature information as a graph or transfer the data to the customer’s PC for instant verification, the company says.

SCI Distribution LLC announced the release of FleetLog03, a wireless vehicle monitoring system in North America. Vehicle location and data is sent wirelessly to a company’s server equipped with SCI’s WinFleet software application. The data is stored by WinFleet and used to provide critical information, including time and attendance reports for co-drivers and other passengers, mileage reports, real-time vehicle location, crash notification, driver behavior, remote diagnostics and 60 other report classifications, the company says. FleetLog03, which uses cellular and/or short-range wireless communications, was designed in conjunction with E-Drive Technology and is used by the United Nations worldwide with an installation of more than 60,000 units, says SCI President Tal Ezra.

Terion introduces FleetView 3
Terion has launched FleetView 3, its next-generation trailer-tracking system. FleetView 3’s new hardware and software design integrates GPS and digital CDMA cellular technology. The system intelligently switches among 1XRTT, SMS and circuit-switched digital service with AMPS cellular capability to ensure maximum digital coverage, Terion says.

FleetView communicates real-time trailer location and event status when the trailer is tethered or untethered, including an accurate determination of loaded or unloaded status with FleetView’s Cargo Sensor. The system supports over-the-air software downloads for device settings and upgrades, eliminating the need to take trailers off the road for manual updating.

What is it? Middleware
Software that helps separate application software talk to each other. For example, there are a number of middleware products that link a database system to a Web server. This allows users to request data from the database using forms displayed on a Web browser, and it enables the Web server to return dynamic Web pages based on the user’s requests and profile.