Off The Wire

QUALCOMM, Symbol form strategic relationship First quarter 2000 is the target date for commercial availability of a new mobile vehicle computer and integrated technology solution from Symbol Technologies Inc. and QUALCOMM Wireless Business Solutions. The two companies announced the formation of their strategic relationship following the signing of a development and supply contract in excess of $14

QUALCOMM, Symbol form strategic relationship First quarter 2000 is the target date for commercial availability of a new mobile vehicle computer and integrated technology solution from Symbol Technologies Inc. and QUALCOMM Wireless Business Solutions. The two companies announced the formation of their strategic relationship following the signing of a development and supply contract in excess of $14 million.

According to Symbol and QUALCOMM, the deal represents the largest implementation to date of Windows CE computers for a vertical market. The common application programming interface of Windows CE was selected to allow for simplified programming and customization directly by the end user, they note, enabling customers to create and add operational functions without extensive integration or other operating issues.

"We look forward to providing our current and future customers with enhanced computing capabilities and flexibility that will give them the control to develop and integrate business applications without depending on us or another third party to provide it for them," explained Phil White, president of QUALCOMM Wireless Business Solutions. The new product will integrate with QUALCOMM's current satellite-based OmniTRACS systems as well as upcoming terrestrial-based products, White noted. It is intended to handle a wide range of applications, such as onboard electronic documents, including driver logs and hazmat control; rolling ETAs; freight and inventory tracking, including barcode scanning and signature capture; and work assignment manifests.

"Our huge network is a core competency. With this relationship, we're leveraging it in new ways - starting down the path to providing network solutions we haven't implemented before," noted David Brandos, vp-marketing for QUALCOMM Wireless Business Solutions.

"What we're really talking about here is an 'asset visibility system,' " observed Wayne Parkin, vp-transportation/logistics for Symbol. "This system is intended to help provide asset visibility the entire length of the demand chain, from the manufacturer to the end user. It should create opportunities to take time and cost out of the demand chain at every stop."

Trailer tracking interface standard There's more good news for carriers considering implementation of a trailer tracking system: an interface standard has been adopted by many of the leading dispatch and operations system vendors. The open architecture, dubbed Trailer Tracking Interface Standard (TTIS), will make it easier and more cost-effective for fleets to integrate trailer tracking systems with their dispatch and operations systems.

Developed by a committee including, AirIQ, ARINC, GemTrac, HighwayMaster, Innovative Computing Corp., Melton Technologies, PeopleNet, QUALCOMM, Randtec, Terion, Tom McLeod Software, TMI Communications, TMW Systems, and Vantage Tracking Solutions, the new standard defines required request and response messages and makes provisions for vendor-specific data elements within the context of the standard.

TTIS is platform- and system-independent, according to the committee, allowing for adoption by virtually any carrier regardless of its existing information infrastructure.

GEMTRAC offered as value-added GEMTRAC trailer tracking systems will be available from Freedom Trailer as a value-added service to its customers, according to Orbital Sciences Corp., supplier of GEMTRAC. Freedom Trailer, a division of Wells Fargo Equipment Finance Inc., will be able to finance the GEMTRAC units into their trailer leasing and finance agreements, noted Orbital.

The company also announced that truckload carrier Werner Enterprises has decided to pilot-test the satellite communications version of GEMTRAC in 50 of its vehicles along with cube, door, and hook sensors beginning on March 29. GEMTRAC will provide location status on tethered and untethered trailers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

The Scientific Atlanta Trailer unit will process the data and transmit the information through the ORBCOMM LEO (low earth-orbiting) Satellite Network.

Teletrac moves to Windows NT A fleet management and communications program for the Windows NT platform has been introduced by Teletrac Inc. Called Fleet Director Enterprise Edition (FDEE), it provides real-time wireless vehicle tracking, messaging, and two-way data for multiple users in a client/server network. FDEE uses a Microsoft Access database, making it easy to integrate with other fleet information systems, the company says. It is also compatible with all current Teletrac vehicle displays and terminals.

Teletrac provides land-based wireless communications services in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Detroit, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, Orlando, Miami, New York, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.

Freightliner debuts maintenance software Introduced in Orlando on March 2, Freightliner's new Fleet Assistant vehicle maintenance software is "a leap ahead" of previous versions, featuring 20 additional Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and a number of new functions, according to the company. The software runs on Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT operating systems and is designed to handle a wide variety of tasks, including scheduling preventive maintenance, tracking parts and labor costs by vehicle, and controlling parts inventory.

"Fleet Assistant is different from conventional maintenance software packages because it not only tracks the history of equipment, but also identifies solutions to help fleets save money," explained John Pangborn, senior vp-customer support for Freightliner Corp. The software is designed to analyze new vehicle and replacement parts warranties and create life cycle cost reports.

Users can also customize the system to meet their company's specific requirements, changing functions and switching features as needed, according to Doug Vakoc, director of Freightliner Software. "Fleet Assistant is designed for any size truck fleet, 10 to 100,000 trucks," he noted. "It is scalable to the size of the business and will grow as the company grows."

The software is a full 32-bit application and runs with SQL Server, Sybase, and Access ODB-compliant databases, notes Vakoc. Freightliner will also continue to offer the current IBM AS/400 version of Fleet Assistant.

Fleets are beginning to take advantage of Eaton's feature-rich Fleet Advisor system to also handle electronic DOT logs, says Bob Rohrer, national sales manager for the company's Trucking Information Services Div. Developed by Eaton, the integrated, scalable system provides onboard computing, real-time wireless communications, global positioning, logistics management, and enterprise-wide software networking capabilities, and can also handle electronic DOT logs.

ARINC Inc. says it will soon offer a dual-mode wireless messaging and tracking service. The newest version of the company's Dominium service will transmit data over both the ORBCOMM LEO satellite network and the land-based BellSouth Wireless Data system. The dual-mode service is scheduled to begin commercial operation during the second quarter of this year.

Cheetah Software Systems has added ESRI's ArcLogistics Route package to its wireless communications and handheld computer systems. The combination will allow fleets to make route changes on the fly and to update ETAs in real-time. 286

The Sabre Group announced the opening of an office in Berlin to help grow and manage the company's information technology solutions business within the European market.

Roadway Services Inc. now provides customer access to its freezeables protection service over its Web site. Shippers can fill out an online questionnaire to qualify for the special protective service, which is designed to handle temperature-sensitive freight in freezing weather.

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