PeopleNet announces major enhancements

PeopleNet Communications has announced a list of new applications that have or soon will be available to fleet customers of its onboard computing and mobile communications system.

Some of the major enhancements — announced by PeopleNet during its third annual user’s conference in Chaska, Minn. — include the release of Pacos 2.6, the latest upgrade in its software system that integrates with leading dispatch software providers to automate dispatch-driver communications such as arrival and stops.

The company also announced Decision Tree Forms, a feature that enables users to quickly create and edit driver message forms and design intelligent message processes so that the questions the system prompts a driver to answer are based on the driver’s responses to previous questions.

PeopleNet also added Onboard Event Recording, a system that provides a second-by-second record of a vehicle’s operation that, in the event of an accident, can be used to assist fleets in accident re-creation and to improve their management of driver behaviors such as speed, braking and use of cruise control.

PeopleNet customers also will be able to use barcode scanning, the first application that utilizes the USB device in PeopleNet’s g3 onboard computer. Carriers can add the hardware for barcode scanning for less than $200, said Vikas Jain, PeopleNet’s chief technology officer.

A system enhancement planned in 2006 is integration with OBDII, the diagnostics system for medium- and light-duty vehicles. The company also announced that it is developing a program to open up to third-party applications. The applications running on PeopleNet’s g3 computer no longer will be restricted to PeopleNet applications, giving customers the flexibility to add applications such as in-cab navigation and custom handhelds, said Brian McLaughlin, PeopleNet’s vice president of marketing and product planning.

PeopleNet has introduced 15 new products since last year as a result of a product development process that includes input from a 20-member product advisory council that consists of customers representing all segments of trucking operations.