At the Truckload Carriers Assn. annual conference this March, Qualcomm Corp. introduced several new capabilities and initiatives, including a high data rate technology utilizing satellite communications, a portable computing solution for load management with electronic signature capture and transfer, and untethered trailer monitoring systems.
The high data rate technology will enable carriers to send large volumes of data at peak data transmission rates of up to 200 times the current rate, according to Glynn Spangenberg, vp. and general manager of transport logistics for Qualcomm Wireless Business Solutions.
Originally developed by Qualcomm for CDMA-based terrestrial applications, the company announced the successful testing of the high data rate technology over its satellite network. “This new capability will enable fleets to send a lot more data for essentially the same cost,” Spangenberg explained.
Qualcomm's new portable computing solution is also designed to help transportation companies optimize their fleet operations. According to Spangenberg, it enables secure, over-the-air transfers of load assignments and delivery confirmations complete with electronic signatures via Qualcomm's satellite-based mobile communications system. The delivery management software for this solution is from project partner Agentek, recently named by Qualcomm as a Certified Software Provider.
“Fleets will be able to transmit secure electronic signatures over a satellite in 60-100 byte message sizes, which provides a unique opportunity for automated proof of delivery and improved billing cycle times, load planning and customer service, while generating additional stops per day,” Spangenberg noted. The first customer for this new solution is Milan Express.
Qualcomm also plans to develop untethered trailer monitoring solutions to complement its existing system for tethered trailers called TrailerTRACS, which provides trailer location, status and refrigeration information when connected to an OmniTRACS-equipped tractor. The company will license its technology to third parties for development of a suite of untethered trailer tracking products.
In addition to this suite of products, Qualcomm reported that it has begun development of a tri-mode, untethered trailer-tracking system particularly suited to high-value or high-security loads. As planned, the new tri-mode system will operate on any of three bands based upon least-cost routing. It will offer the same features as the TrailerTRACS system plus a variety of other options such as door and cargo sensors, “geofencing,” over-the-air upgradeability, multiple delivery solutions to Web and AS400 platforms and visibility of assets and loads regardless of whether or not the trailers are connected to tractors.
Forty-five fleets either renewed or signed key agreements to deploy mobile communications systems units from Qualcomm, according to the company, including Mission Petroleum Carriers, RBX, Bavarian Motor Transport and others.
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