Hardened Nextel phone ready for wireless Internet

Web browsing added to cellular, paging, and two-way radio featureThe ruggedized i700plus wireless phone offers digital cellular, text paging, and digital two-way radio service over the Nextel Communications national wireless network and also includes a built-in Web browser and display for future access to Nextel Web-based services now under development. The wireless Internet service will allow drivers

Web browsing added to cellular, paging, and two-way radio feature

The ruggedized i700plus wireless phone offers digital cellular, text paging, and digital two-way radio service over the Nextel Communications national wireless network and also includes a built-in Web browser and display for future access to Nextel Web-based services now under development. The wireless Internet service will allow drivers and other field workers to remotely connect with dispatching and other Web-based applications.

Built by Motorola, the integrated phone weighs just over 10 oz. with a standard nickel metal hydride battery and offers up to 65 hours of standby power or 4 hours of talk time between recharges. Features include black rubber grips for added impact resistance, a silent vibrating call alert, three-way calling capability, a missed call indicator, and one-button dialing.

Nextel says the retail price for the "industrial strength" i700plus in either yellow or black is $249, with promotional pricing as low as $149 through the end of March.

Schneider Logistics, an arm of TL giant Schneider National, has secured deals to deliver products sold over the Internet by two dot-com firms, PlasticsNet.com and iMark.com. The former allows plastics processors worldwide to order supplies while the latter is a global marketplace for buying and selling used manufacturing equipment.

Schneider will enable customers of both firms to arrange for shipping of goods purchased online just by clicking on a "ship now" button. The logistics operation will provide rates for multiple shipment options based on desired transit times and shipment characteristics. Schneider will also provide online tracking and automatic billing once a shipment is completed.

"The most successful Internet-market makers understand the importance of providing a strong transportation and logistics link," states Chris Lofgren, Schneider's chief information and logistics officer. "We will utilize our extensive freight-management experience combined with technology leadership to bring the best, most cost-effective options" to these online buyers and sellers.

The Hub Group Inc., a third-party transportation management services company, has launched an Internet service for managing the drayage portion of intermodal shipments.

The new Web-based system, called Vendor Interface, connects Hub with its drayage providers, automatically identifying the right carriers for a shipment based on cost, location, cargo type, and date. The system also tenders shipments to carriers, sets terms, and authorizes deliveries electronically, as well as automatically authenticates carrier identities and authorizes payments.

The new intermodal e-business system was developed and built for Hub by Cysive Inc., Reston, Va.

Peregrine Systems Inc., San Diego, has acquired KKO and Assocs., a provider of transportation planning and management information systems for public transit agencies. Peregrine is the developer of FleetAnywhere and e.fleet Internet-based fleet management systems.

The routing and scheduling system TruckStops is now available in a network version for multiple users, according to MicroAnalytics Inc., Arlington, Va. The system can be used for dynamic vehicle routing or for planning and updating fixed delivery routes. 279

After two consecutive years of losses, XATA Corp. reported a net profit of nearly $500,000 for fiscal 1999 on revenues of just over $11 million. Last year, installations of its onboard computer system increased by 26%, according to XATA president Stephen A. Lawrence.

Optimization systems to be part of new online business

The logistics applications business of Sabre Inc. has been sold to Dr. Yossi Sheffi and the investment holding company Internet Capital Group (ICG). Sheffi was the founder of PTCG, which was acquired by Sabre in 1996 and formed the core of its logistics businesses.

The new company, Logistics.com, will continue to market and support some 15 decision-support systems for carriers and shippers, as well as develop an Internet-based exchange for transportation and logistics services based on those systems.

Among the features offered by the Digital Transportation Marketplace (DTM) will be online access to its decision-support tools, as well as real-time spot market bidding for loads and bidding tools for annual service lane contracts. In addition, DTM services will be integrated with approximately 20 vertical industry exchanges such as PlasticsNet.com, E-chemical, and Paper Exchange, owned by ICG, according to Yossi.

Logistics.com plans to offer its first online application, a fuel optimization system, by the end of the first quarter and expects to have the exchange in operation by the end of the second quarter, according to Yossi.

The Dept. of Transportation's Office of Motor Carrier Safety (OMCS) now offers real-time, online access to carrier safety performance and other safety records through its Web site (www.mcs.dot.gov). The site also offers similar information for freight forwarders and brokers. Other features for the site include online filing and payment for authorities and the full text of the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999.

The automatic vehicle location system ISR FleetTrack now switches automatically from analog cellular service for its wireless communications to less expensive cellular digital packet data (CDPD) service whenever coverage is available. Integrated Systems Research, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., says the multi-mode vehicle tracking system can run on a stand-alone PC and is compatible with most database applications. Options include two-way messaging and vehicle sensor monitoring.

Online grocer Webvan Group Inc., based in Foster City, Calif., announced they have selected Descartes' Web-based, customer self-scheduling and dynamic route optimization software system for the national rollout of its online shopping service. The software is already in use in the company's San Francisco Bay Area operations. Webvan's service features the home delivery of food and other household products within a 30-minute time window scheduled by a customer.

Drivers' medical records and other health information can be stored on a new Web site for secure instant retrieval by medical facilities throughout the country. The new site (www.rxdata.net) is working with fleets to issue ID cards for drivers explaining how doctors and other medical care providers can access the stored information in an emergency situation.

Crete Carrier Corp. and its affiliates Shaffer Trucking, Sunflower Carriers, Hunt Transportation, and HTL Truckline are now offering their 4,500 over-the-road drivers access to PNV Inc.'s in-cab telephone, cable TV, and Internet access services. Under an agreement signed last month, the truckload carrier will market the services to its drivers and allow them to pay through automatic payroll deduction. PNV's services are available through special plug-in connections at over 250 truckstops.

Prophesy Transportation Software announced the release of a new version of LogPlus, their Windows-based software for monitoring and maintaining records of drivers' logs. The program is designed to check printed logs for discrepancies, violations, and other information.

According to Prophesy, Version 6 contains several new enhancements, including enhanced log entry graphics, speedier and more comprehensive auditing, and more versatile reporting options.

PNV Inc., formerly known as Park 'N View, has entered a "strategic relationship" with a division of PACCAR that includes a $10-million investment in the new information network company. PNV offers drivers private access to telephone, Internet, and cable television services through plug-in connections installed in truck stop parking lots. Over 250 truck stops in 41 states are currently connected to PNV's private integrated network.

Paccar.com, the truck manufacturer's new Internet division, made its investment as part of PNV's initial public stock offering. At the same time, the PACCAR company signed a multi-year marketing agreement with PNV covering e-commerce efforts within the commercial transportation industry.

DP Solutions Inc. has released a new version of its fleet maintenance management software package. Enhancements added to FleetMaint2000 include cost center accounting at the work order line item level, capacity-based work assignment, and the ability to handle multiple companies, divisions, and departments

Updates for ArcView StreetMap 1.1 and StreetMap 2000 from ESRI include the most accurate and current U.S. databases for street-level geocoding throughout the entire country. Updated base maps are also included.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority is outfitting its fleet of over 1,600 buses and support vehicles with a wireless communications and dispatch system. The $30-million system is being provided by Orbital Sciences Corp.

MicroAnalytics announced the release of version 2.4 of its TruckStops Routing and Scheduling System, which features expanded driving directions options and a link to MileMaster, a road-networking package for the United Kingdom.

All required Mexico export forms in both English and Spanish are now available at the Roadway Express Inc. Web site (www.roadway.com). Forms can be printed, saved electronically, and in some cases completed online. Full directions for filling out the forms are also provided.

James K. Davidson has been named president and CEO of the National Transportation Exchange (NTE). The Internet-based exchange for transportation and logistics services also announced that it has raised $53 million in private equity financing, which it will use to develop additional e-commerce technology as well as expand sales and marketing efforts.

Suburban Propane, one of the country's largest suppliers of propane gas, is equipping its drivers with an onboard information system developed for fuel delivery fleets by TouchStar Technologies. The system, which gives drivers access to customer records, driving directions, and other information, will run on the TouchPC handheld computer. A vehicle cradle will connect the handheld to a printer and an electronic fuel meter.

National radio system will offer over 100 channels of programming

Starting in 2001, longhaul truck drivers will be able to pull in about 100 radio channels, with seamless coverage coast-to-coast, if XM Satellite Radio's development plans proceed on schedule.

According to the company, digital-quality news, sports, and talk programming will be available on a subscriber basis for $9.95 per month, including CNN-produced news and sports channels. There are even plans to have a channel devoted entirely to motor sports.

"With 100 channels, we really have the opportunity to do it all when it comes to programming," says Dave Froman, public relations assistant for the company. "And the commercial trucking industry is definitely a target market." However, formal plans for business or entertainment channels specifically targeted at truck drivers or industry managers have not yet been announced.

XM Satellite Radio is backed by a group of strategic investors, including General Motors, Clear Channel Communications, and DIRECTTV. According to XM, the company also has agreements with numerous consumer electronics companies to manufacture and distribute radios that can receive the XM signal, including Delphi, Delco Electronic Systems, Sony, Sharp, Alpine, Audiovox, Pioneer Electronics Corp., and others.

XM competitor, Sirius Satellite Radio, is planning to launch its 50-channel service by the end of 2000, also for a subscriber fee of $9.95 per month. Last month, Sirius also announced a content agreement with CNBC.

Both companies have also established Web sites: XM Satellite Radio is at www.xmradio.com; Sirius is at www.siriusradio.com.

The entire 1999 U.S. Federal Register (Vol. 64) is available on a CD-ROM from Solutions Software Corp., Enterprise, Fla. Provided in a PDF format, the register includes over 70,000 pages of graphics, text, and tables, and is fully indexed for instant searches and document retrieval. Cost is $99 plus shipping and handling with no additional licensing fees for LAN usage.

Meritor Automotive Inc. has announced it has sold its Tripmaster onboard trip-recorder business to a newly formed company, Tripmaster Corp. Based in Arlington, Tex., Tripmaster Corp. will market and support the product on a global basis.

Transport Technology Publishing reports that the total investment in electronic toll collection (ETC) will top $11 billion over the next ten years, as more than 23,000 toll lanes will be equipped with the traffic expediting technology. The publication, titled Electronic Toll Collection, Market Analysis and Technology Update, includes discussions of ETC markets and technologies, examining ETC systems by their major components, including AVI lane equipment, transponders, systems integration, back office systems, smart cards, enforcement systems, and classification systems.

Shippers using Con-Way Transportation Services' three regional LTL carriers now have access to on-time performance records through the fleet's Web site (www.con-way.com).

Customers using Con-Way Western Express, Con-Way Central Express, and Con-Way Southern Express had been receiving monthly paper performance reports.

However the new electronic versions will not only provide daily updates, but also increase the amount of information available to help both parties identify and correct problems.

Online reports available to registered customers include 13-month summaries of service activity and "drill down" analysis of late shipments that can even retrieve on-screen copies of bills of lading and delivery receipts.

Additional advanced information features, including access to inbound and outbound manifests, will be added to the Con-Way site during the upcoming months, according to a company spokesperson.

Other features of the Web site that facilitate business transactions are rate quotes, shipment tracking, transit time standards between zip codes, service center contact details, and download of the Con-Way price system for use in PCs.

The Kenwood TK-980/981 trunking mobile radios incorporate the company's FleetSync package, which offers alphanumeric two-way paging, as well as Caller ID, panic button, and automatic status response features. The new 800 and 900 MHz radios can also handle up to 32 systems in the trunking mode with multiple talk groups and can be remotely disabled or restored over the air.

Other features for the TK-980/981 include a data port for connection to portable PCs or mobile data terminals, a new dot matrix LCD display, and four programmable function keys.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.