Qualcomm unveils new mobile platform with in-cab training option

Qualcomm unveils new mobile platform with in-cab training option

ORLANDO. Qualcomm Inc. chose the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) Annual Convention here to debut its new Mobile Computing Platform 200 Series (MCP200)

ORLANDO. Qualcomm Inc. chose the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) Annual Convention here to debut its new Mobile Computing Platform 200 Series (MCP200). The new platform does not replace the company’s current in-cab Mobile Computing Platform (MCP), which has reached an installed base of some 33,000 active units.

The new MCP200 is designed to deliver even greater functionality to the cab with an expanded set of OmniVisionSM Transportation Services, including Wi-Fi, in-cab training, Internet access, video and multi-mode capability. According to Qualcomm, the premium capabilities of the MPC200 will enable fleets to transform their cabs into mobile operations centers, moving office data such as targeted customer information, payroll information or even training lessons to the field.

“The MPC200 Series is part of an end-to-end solution that enables transportation companies to migrate functions previously confined to an office to the mobile environment of the cab,” Norm Ellis, vp of transportation and logistics sales and service for Qualcomm Enterprise Services, told FleetOwner. “Drivers can now access a wide range of information when they need it.”

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ORLANDO. Qualcomm Inc. chose the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) Annual Convention here to debut its new Mobile Computing Platform 200 Series (MCP200). The new platform does not replace the company’s current in-cab Mobile Computing Platform (MCP), which has reached an installed base of some 33,000 active units.

The new MCP200 is designed to deliver even greater functionality to the cab with an expanded set of OmniVisionSM Transportation Services, including Wi-Fi, in-cab training, Internet access, video and multi-mode capability. According to Qualcomm, the premium capabilities of the MPC200 will enable fleets to transform their cabs into mobile operations centers, moving office data such as targeted customer information, payroll information or even training lessons to the field.

“The MPC200 Series is part of an end-to-end solution that enables transportation companies to migrate functions previously confined to an office to the mobile environment of the cab,” Norm Ellis, vp of transportation and logistics sales and service for Qualcomm Enterprise Services, told FleetOwner. “Drivers can now access a wide range of information when they need it.”

Ellis sees a generally expanded role for in-cab communications, especially Wi-Fi and video. “Wi-Fi will get more prevalent in the future,” he said. “You could use Wi-Fi to allow drivers access to the company intranet, for example. Just think about what you could do with that—driver payroll, access to human resources services or to load boards. You could do all the things fleets do with driver kiosks now, except right in the cab. Wi-Fi has been used extensively in warehouses and other controlled environments, but it will gain a lot of momentum [in mobile applications] in the near future.”

One of the first things Qualcomm will be offering on the new Wi-Fi capable MCP200 is in-cab driver training from Instructional Technologies, Inc., (ITI) developer of the Pro-Tread series of interactive, driver-training lessons. In the case of Pro-Tread, the lessons will be loaded onto the computer at the factory, according to ITI CEO Dr. Jim Voorhees. An access code will turn the lessons on for those who want to activate the training. “Once a driver completes a lesson, the test results can be sent back to ITI via Wi-Fi 802.11 [if the truck is in a hot spot] or by cell phone,” Voorhees told FleetOwner.

“We have been testing the MCP200 and it looks really good,” Voorhees said. “It has tremendous resolution and a very bright screen; it just looks great. We are finishing up writing some custom code now.”

ITI’s Pro-Tread training uses a “mastery-based” approach (first developed for the military for use in advanced pilot training), which requires students to demonstrate understanding of each point in a lesson before advancing to the next, providing fleets with a level of verification and accountability for their training efforts. “You are a lot better off in court if you can prove a driver satisfactorily completed a specific training lesson,” Voorhees said. Some 185 fleets in the U.S. and Canada are already ITI customers.

“The Qualcomm/Pro-Tread collaboration allows a company’s drivers to receive safety training in a timely manner, which could help to prevent accidents before they happen and decrease the company’s liability,” said Ellis.

Pro-Tread will be available on the MCP200 when the platform becomes commercially available in the summer of 2009.

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