PeopleNet announces new product updates and strategy

At PeopleNet’s fourth annual user conference in Chaska, Minn., executives today, Aug. 2, presented a product roadmap for PeopleNet’s G3 onboard computing and mobile communications platform for the remainder of the year and beyond.

In the third quarter of 2006, the company plans to release up to 17 available “hot keys” for driver-initiated forms. By pressing F1 on a keyboard, for example, a driver can quickly complete a trailer change form, rather than scrolling through a menu. PeopleNet also announced an upgrade to deliver vehicle and engine fault codes (both SAE and OBD-II for heavy-duty, and OBD-II for medium- and light-duty vehicles) through its PerformX driver and vehicle performance monitoring application. It also plans to offer an automatic keyboard lock while the vehicle is moving, for driver safety.

Also scheduled for release in 2006 is widespread use of CDMA 1xRTT networks to utilize the best cellular bandwidth available today from providers such as Verizon, Sprint and Alltel. The G3 platform, launched in 2004, was designed with the capability to utilize multiple wireless networks, including digital and analog cellular and satellite. The company also plans to release a next-generation, driver-rich display to leverage the communication capacity of G3. The new display, which will be available in 2007, will use the Windows CE .NET framework, says Vikas Jain, PeopleNet’s chief technology officer.

PeopleNet Chief Operating Officer Ron Konezny introduced a new term, “openicity,” to describe PeopleNet’s ongoing strategy to offer new fleets management applications through system integration with various third-party application providers. The first three systems to integrate directly with G3 will be the Eaton Vorad collision warning system, handheld applications and tethered trailer tracking. Konezny told fleet attendees that, moving forward, he envisions the onboard computing platform, G3, will be the core router for a low-power, wireless vehicle area network (WiVAN). Examples of integration include portable interaction with drivers and assets such as trailers, sensors such as tire pressure, and systems such as lane change and collision warning.

“We believe with G3 as the core, we’ve found a way to realize this dream and this vision,” Konezny says.