Routing assistance goes cellular
Sep 1, 2003 12:00 PM, [Compiled by Gary Macklin • email@example.com]
No one in distribution or for-hire carriage has time to be lost. “Go six blocks south and turn left when you see the taco truck,” is just not specific enough for tightly scheduled delivery appointments. Besides the taco truck might not be there that day.
Routing software with mapping and the ability to communicate directions to drivers on the road has been available to large carriers and distributors for a number of years. But small and medium sized businesses probably need routing help for drivers as much as any other. To make routing available to smaller users and give them the ability to communicate with drivers on the move, @Road and Nextel have teamed to provide a routing and communication service that allows users to plan and verify routes and monitor stops and work schedules. The system combines @Road's PathwaySM software application with Nextel's i58sr and i88 cellular telephones made by Motorola. The phones have onboard assisted global positioning capability.
@Road, headquartered in Fremont, California, is a provider of mobile resource management services to integrate wireless communications and asset location systems for 109,000 workers in the US. Its products are offered on a hosted basis, allowing users to gain the benefits of the services without investing in expensive and complex information technology equipment. The subscription service allows users to recover the return on their investment rapidly, the company says. For more information, visit the @Road web site at road.com.
Nextel is based in Reston, Virginia, and provides integrated wireless communications services across a digital network that serves 293 of the largest 300 markets in the US. Nextel and Nextel Partners service are available in an area with a population base of 242 million people.
Cellular telephones provide an economical method for remote communication for the small businesses that do have the resources to invest in larger remote vehicle tracking systems. Using cellular telephones, the system can be upgraded as businesses grow.
@Road's Pathway system provides maps that can be configured to meet customer specifications with notation of user defined landmarks as well as the landmarks built into the system for all users. The system provides locations and routing information to any Internet connected personal computer. In addition the system stores recent location information to allow monitoring of mileage, transit times, and stop/start reports. Location information for workers is available by phone.
The system operates across Nextel's digital network as a hosted service, combining wireless communication with fleet tracking information using a secure @Road web site. The subscription service is available in blocks of one or two years. Costs for the system include the Pathway service plan at $14.95 per user per month plus an activation fee. Users also pay for a Nextel GPS-enabled cellular telephone and for a Nextel voice and Total connect data plan.
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