Multi-use Key to Truck Computers

Birmingham, AL— The way Josh Webb sees it, onboard computers specifically designed for truck cabs attract more interest from fleets when they can be used to perform a wide variety of tasks, such as doubling as a radio and CD player.

Webb, national accounts manager for Pana-Pacific, which distributes the FleetOutlook truck computer originally designed by Freightliner and Delphi, told Fleet Owner here at the 14th annual McLeod Software User Conference that "multitasking" is the critical element for truck PCs today.

"It has to be able to do a variety of things," he said. "For example, we integrate the FleetOutlook PC into the truck's J-bus so it can monitor all of the vehicle's electronic systems -- and then transmit that data, if desired, via different communication modes back to the fleet if that's what they want to do."

Communication flexibility is also key, Webb said, as the FleetOutlook system is automatically programmed to find the cheapest mode available. "FleetOutlook can communicate by cellular, satellite, 'Wi-Fi,' you name it," he said. "So on the one hand, the system will use the least expensive communication band for the fleet. On the other, however, if a fleet needs to get in contact with a driver, it then has the ability to use any mode to do so— it covers all spectrums."

As an added bonus to drivers, it also offers full radio and CD player capability, along with the option to tie into satellite radio, makes it driver-friendly.

"The display screen uses aircraft-grade illumination, so it's easy on the eyes of the driver and also can be viewed clearly from any angle in any light— so they can find the station they want to listen to easily," he said.

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