Qualcomm officially announced the commercial availability of the new OmniVision System for Transportation mobile computing platform at the American Trucking Assns. annual Management Conference & Exhibition in Dallas.
Some customers, however, already have the new system, according to Norm Ellis, vp & gm of transportation and logistics for Qualcomm Wireless Business Solutions. “We have been shipping the new system for over a month now,” Ellis told FleetOwner, “and most OmniVision beta customers have converted to production versions of the new platform.”
The OmniVision platform is a framework of hardware, software and network infrastructure that enables “delivery of two-way data communications and value-added services to enterprises in a mobile environment,” according to Qualcomm. The new transportation system incorporates “industry-specific features and capabilities into that framework.” For example, it will allow for advanced text-to-speech capability so drivers can listen to and replay messages, eliminating the need to stop the vehicle and pull over to read a text message. The platform also features an integrated, color touch-screen and a remote control device, providing drivers quick access to critical information such as messages read by the text-to-speech feature.
OmniVision also supports automated arrival and departure notification, hours of service and SensorTRACS performance monitoring, along with a new navigation service that will offer turn-by-turn directions that can be read to the driver using the system's text-to-speech capability and features truck attributes and truck-approved routing, further enhancing safety and productivity, according to Qualcomm.
Even though the company considers OmniVision to be “a major step forward in optimizing transportation efficiency,” Qualcomm's current OmniTracs customers will not be forced to switch to the new system, according to Ellis. “We have absolutely no intention of ending OmniTracs,” he said. “If you have a great customer base like we do, you have to keep them happy and let them incorporate the new technology into their operations on the schedule and in the way that works best for them.
“The new system is backwards compatible with OmniTracs, OmniExpress and the T2 Untethered TrailerTracs,” Ellis explained. “That is extremely important. Eventually, of course, some of the hardware for these systems is bound to become obsolete, but even then we will be able to support customers who want to continue using what they have with refurbished hardware.”
Customers may not want to wait that long, however. According to Ellis, initial response to the new system has been very positive. “One of our major goals with OmniVision was to help improve the quality of life for drivers,” he said. “They are telling us they particularly like the color touch screen and the advanced text-to-speech capability. The upcoming Navigation Service with turn-by-turn directions that can actually be read to the driver by the text-to-speech system should also be very popular with truck operators.”
Ellis also expects the OmniVision System to bring new customers. “This system is flexible and scalable,” he said. “It will give us the opportunity to serve new customers in the trucking space, even smaller specialized market niches.” One of the first such new markets will be utility companies, he noted, especially rural utility companies where Qualcomm's satellite coverage can be mission critical. www.jillknowsOmniVision.com