Fleetowner 2278 Earth2

Qualcomm offers details on next-generation satellite system

July 20, 2005
ATLANTA. With testing scheduled to begin before the end of the year, the successor to Qualcomm’s popular OmniTRACS satellite communications system was publicly demonstrated for the first time yesterday at an event in Atlanta for fleet customers

ATLANTA. With testing scheduled to begin before the end of the year, the successor to Qualcomm’s popular OmniTRACS satellite communications system was publicly demonstrated for the first time today at an event in Atlanta for fleet customers. Officially named OmniVision, the new platform will co-exist at least for the near future with OmniTRACS, which was first introduced 18 years ago and is the most widely used wireless onboard messaging system in the industry.

The all-new platform not only includes a more powerful computer processor and an integrated color display and keyboard, but will also introduce an entirely new pricing model for wireless service, according to Qualcomm spokespeople. While the current system charges users by the character for all messages and data transmitted over the satellite network, OmniVision will provide various applications and the wireless service to support them on a flat-fee subscription basis. Those fees should also include mobile and host software. Any new application, as well as upgrades, can be downloaded over the air to a single truck, group of trucks or entire fleet, according to Qualcomm.

Technical details include a WindowsCE operating system, opening the system to a wide range of new and future applications. There will be a separate “mobile applications server” housing a 400 MHz processor and offering a secure digital card slot and three USB ports for future expansion and peripherals. A color touch-screen display integrated with a full keyboard will be tethered to the server for the driver interface, and a remote control unit will also be supplied to allow drivers quick access to features such as text-to-speech messages and navigation directions.

When it is commercially launched sometime in the second half of 2006, OmniVision will be initially offered with three applications – a spoken, turn-by-turn navigation tool, an FMCSA-compliant paperless log, and automated arrival and departure notification.

Future applications could come from Qualcomm, third-party developers of WindowsCE products or in-house fleet IT efforts. Examples of possible applications include on-board access to electronic documents, driver email, remote diagnostics and even entertainment or games for drivers.

Like OmniTRACS, the new system will initially provide wireless service only over a satellite network, providing complete coverage in the U.S. and Canada. The company is also looking at adding land-based options over cellular networks and local wireless connections over WiFi in the future. Mixed operation with OmniTRAC and OmniVision units will be seamless to fleet users, although the advanced applications will not be available with the older existing systems, the company said.

About the Author

Jim Mele

Nationally recognized journalist, author and editor, Jim Mele joined Fleet Owner in 1986 with over a dozen years’ experience covering transportation as a newspaper reporter and magazine staff writer. Fleet Owner Magazine has won over 45 national editorial awards since his appointment as editor-in-chief in 1999.

Sponsored Recommendations

Reducing CSA Violations & Increasing Safety With Advanced Trailer Telematics

Keep the roads safer with advanced trailer telematics. In this whitepaper, see how you can gain insights that lead to increased safety and reduced roadside incidents—keeping drivers...

80% Fewer Towable Accidents - 10 Key Strategies

After installing grille guards on all of their Class 8 trucks, a major Midwest fleet reported they had reduced their number of towable accidents by 80% post installation – including...

Proactive Fleet Safety: A Guide to Improved Efficiency and Profitability

Each year, carriers lose around 32.6 billion vehicle hours as a result of weather-related congestion. Discover how to shift from reactive to proactive, improve efficiency, and...

Tackling the Tech Shortage: Lessons in Recruiting Talent and Reducing Turnover

Discover innovative strategies for recruiting and retaining tech talent in the trucking industry at our April 16th webinar, where experts will share insights on competitive pay...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!