May 2015

Fleet Management News & Business Info | Commercial Carrier Journal

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 51 of 116

50 COMMERCIAL CARRIER JOURNAL | MAY 2015 technology I f your job requires you to travel, a smartphone quickly moves from novelty to necessity – and no one travels more than truck drivers. Smartphones and larger tablet devices essentially are highly adaptable mini-computers. It wasn't long ago that users had to purchase and download highly specialized software in order to tweak computers to carry out specific operations and tasks. Today, tweaking a phone or a tablet is no more compli- cated than downloading an app and getting to work. But as adaptable as consumer phones and tablets have become, do they work well with complex vehicle systems and logistics demands? Or do fleet execu- tives and drivers need to rely on more application-specific devices to move freight efficiently? The answer, it appears, will be a little bit of both solutions, as truck- ing becomes a more fully connected industry. "The market for handhelds is defi- nitely growing in our industry," says Vikas Jain, chief operating officer for Zonar. Jain says this primarily is be- cause many fleets now require their drivers to complete activities outside the cab, such as taking photographs of vehicle maintenance issues or damaged goods, or obtaining approval through signature capture. "Increasingly, drivers have an expec- tation that they do not have to remain tethered to the cab in order to be pro- ductive and available," Jain says. Consumerization … Fleets can meet that expectation by pro- viding their drivers with handhelds to exchange messages with dispatch or to watch training videos from the comfort of their sleepers, hotel rooms or homes. "As a result, fleets create a better work environment by providing their drivers the necessary tools to help them be more productive," Jain says. Michael Riemer, vice president of products and channel marketing for Decisiv, believes the consumerization of mobile computing devices is inevitable except in areas where intrinsically safer demands are required. "Price point, ease of use and access to development talent are just a few of the reasons driving this change," Riemer says. Riemer says market forces already are shaping – and simplifying – the types of small computing devices that soon will be common in trucking applications. "The move toward QR codes instead of barcodes in industrial and heavy-duty industries removes the need to have proprietary and expensive barcode and RFID readers," he says. The major technology hurdle still holding back broader adoption, accord- ing to Riemer, is that many of the legacy tools for reviewing diagnostic codes and reprogramming electronic control modules still require a Windows PC or a CE device. "Unfortunately, Windows tablets have not been that successful, or it would have accelerated adoption even more," he says. Also, many manufacturers realize the need to support over-the-air repro- gramming, especially with the growing adoption of telematics and the value of remote diagnostics. "Once OTA is in place, use of these mobile devices will skyrocket," Riemer says. But Riemer also thinks trucking applications demand devices that are able to withstand a wide range of operational hazards, from inces- sant vibration while driving to the ability to handle impact shocks and perform outdoors and in inhospitable surroundings. "For a relatively small price, adding a reasonable degree of ruggedness to in focus: HANDHELD COMPUTERS Tough enough? Smartphones and tablets are making huge efficiency breakthroughs, but some basic issues still need to be resolved BY JACK ROBERTS The move toward QR codes instead of barcodes in industrial and heavy-duty industries removes the need to have proprietary and expensive barcode and RFID readers, says Decisiv's Michael Riemer. Devices optimized for the trucking market, such as the enterprise-grade Zonar 2020, bring added reliability and confidence in the product and its ability to complete critical steps, says Zonar's Vikas Jain.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of CCJ - May 2015