Anycom Inc., based in Irvine, CA, is implementing a Bluetooth-based wireless communication system for Bofrost, which sells and delivers ice cream and frozen foods to private households throughout Germany.
Bluetooth is a microchip embedded with a radio module that can send out 780,000 bits of data per second, allowing machines within 100 meters of each other to communicate. It allows vehicles to shuttle diagnostic information automatically to a garage computer, for instance, telling it that its fan belt is showing wear and needs replacement without the driver or mechanic getting involved.
Anycom said its Bluetooth-based system will help reduce transportation costs through increased efficiency in the electronic data exchange between Bofrost’s sales/delivery personnel in their trucks and their central warehouse. En route, Anycom’s wireless system permits the dispatch center to send current orders through a GPS cellular phone to the Anycom Bluetooth PC Card installed in a Panasonic notebook computer inside the cab of the truck.
The Anycom Bluetooth PC Card also makes it possible for the driver to take the notebook computer into the customer’s house to confirm or modify their order, then transmit the delivery sheet directly to the printer mounted in the vehicle. By the time the driver returns to the vehicle the delivery sheet is printed, which in turn can be given to the customer with their frozen food order to eliminate claims, Anycom said.
Also, during the night, through the Bluetooth PC Card connection, the notebook computers in each vehicle connect to the local server through a Bluetooth Local Area Network (LAN) and exchange all relevant data. The next morning, the drivers are ready immediately to start their route with all the up-to-date data for that day's deliveries, said Anycom.
The company said it expects to equip "several thousand" Bofrost vehicles with this system and install 800 Anycom Bluetooth LAN access points so the computers in the vehicles can communicate with the servers in the dispatch centers.