22 May, 2013
Cycle alerts, tracking and scheduling integration in Navevo truck satnav
In a bid to differentiate itself from other satellite navigation specialists, UK-based Navevo has come up with a new truck-focused satnav unit with a range of extra features, including alerts at London junctions where there are likely to be a large number of cyclists.
The ProNav PNN420 also features a built-in vehicle tracking capability, which can be activated on payment of a modest monthly fee (a price of £8 to £12 has been mentioned). Alternatively, the unit can serve as the in-vehicle tracking device for third-party tracking systems, saving hardware costs.
Finally the device has been designed to integrate automatically with Transport for London’s Freight Journey Planner system, which already allows truck operators go online to the TfL web site to plan routes within and through London. These routes can be downloaded to the Navevo device, directing drivers automatically from one call to the next.
Third-party routing and scheduling software will also be able to feed routes to the device, producing a similar result.
Navevo has worked closely with Transport for London on the development of the PNN420. At the launch this spring, TfL commissioner Sir Peter Hendy commented: "We are very pleased to give the device our endorsement at the highest level."
It makes use of PIE Mapping (which featured strongly in the Olympics traffic planning), as well as data gathered through the INFORMED project, which aims to help fleet managers improve route planning and scheduling.
TomTom flags up partner solutions on 'apps' site
TomTom has created a new section of its web site where it flags up partner solutions that it describes as ready for integration with its Webfleet platform.
It is calling the site an App Center (spelled in US fashion), though these are not "apps" in the commonly-understood sense of downloadable mobile applications; often they are full-blown software product suites.
The common factor is that they require real-time telematics-style feedback from vehicles in the field, which TomTom can provide.
When we checked, more than sixty applications were listed, ranging from simple address validation systems and driver login to full vehicle routing and field service management products. Among big names are Paragon, DPS Logistix and Visitour.
TomTom says the move lies at the heart of its strategy to create added value for connected vehicle and fleet management solutions and expand its network of development partners.
According to managing director Thomas Schmidt, it wants the site to be seen as an "agnostic front end" for the products listed.
Microsoft smartphones 'will consolidate market share' – report
A three-way split in the operating systems market for smartphones will have emerged by 2017, according to consultancy Analysys Mason. Android will be the runaway leader by then, it says, with a 58 per cent market share, and Apple will follow, though with less than half that share at around 23 per cent.
The significant third player will be none other than Microsoft, Analysys Mason predicts. It says Microsoft Phone will be the fastest-growing smartphone operating system over the next five years, though it will still account for only 9 per cent of the market by 2017.
Putting figures on this, it says Microsoft’s OS shipments will rise from 11 million units in 2011 to 136 million in 2017.
According to Analysys Mason, network operators will welcome the increased competition in the OS market, as it will reduce the bargaining strength of Google and Apple.
However, it adds that the operators will have to offer increasingly attractive deals and added value to users to keep them on board. Users for their part will be increasingly encouraged to migrate between operating systems, the company says.
Paradoxically, one outcome of such a development could be that operating systems will become more alike in basic functionality. Learning two differing ways of using a phone is already a nuisance to some users, and adding a third way might not be tolerated by the market.
DHL chooses Microlise for Nisa logistics operation
DHL Supply Chain has rolled out a Microlise telematics-based fleet tracking and management solution across the 279 vehicles it operates on a logistics contract with Nisa, the member-owned supplier to retailers in the food and drink markets.
Working under Nisa management, DHL manages the organisation’s distribution of ambient, frozen and chilled products through four major warehouses, optimising the flow of product across the supply chain network.
The chosen package includes Microlise’s Fleet Performance telematics solution, which allows users to understand vehicle activity and utilisation and to monitor how economically and safely their vehicles are being driven.
Also included is Microlise’s Journey Management module, which allows vehicles to be tracked against delivery schedules (which in Nisa’s case are imported from their Paragon routing software).
A further component is Microlise’s voice communication system, which uses a stand-alone speaker and microphone with a small dash mounted "puck" for making and receiving calls. Calls from the cab are limited to pre-defined numbers.
Panasonic launches Windows 8 Toughpad tablet
The Toughpad FZ-G1 is said to take full advantage of the new functionality offered by the Windows 8 Pro. For instance, it includes two-way touch input, supporting capacitive 10-finger multi-touch input and a digitiser pen for tasks such as recording signatures.
The device is powered by third-generation Intel Core i5-3437U vProTM processor with 3MB cache. This is rated at 1.9GHz, but operates up to 2.9GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology. It comes with 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD as standard, and there is a 256GB SSD option.
The FZ-G1 has a 10.1in screen and uses Panasonic’s IPSα Panel technology, which is said to offer very good outdoor viewing, with extra wide viewing angles, strengthened glass, a high contrast ratio and an 800cd/m2 high-brightness panel with a Panasonic anti-reflection layer. It has a full HD resolution of 1,920 by 1,200 pixels.
The device comes with the usual connectivity features, and includes as standard a high-quality HD 720p front-facing web camera. A 3 megapixel rear-facing camera with double flash capability is optional.
The Toughpad FZ-G1 has a MIL-STD-810G rating for 120cm drops and an IP65 ingress protection rating for resistance to dust and water. Built-in battery saving technology includes an ambient light sensor.
Panasonic says the Toughpad FZ-G1 can operate for eight hours on its standard six-cell battery, and nine hours with an optional nine-cell battery.
Rugged smartphones from Seals launched by Varlink
They are very different products. The more highly-specified phone, the TS3, is also the more visually attractive, using an interactive touch screen for nearly all user input, and resembling a sleek consumer smartphone.
It features an unidentified processor operating at 650MHz, and runs the Android 2.3.6 operating system. Its capacitive 3.5in HGVA touch-screen display has a 320 by 480 pixel resolution.
Features include tri-band telephony with GPRS EDGE technology, micro-SD memory slot, Wi-Fi networking, Bluetooth 4.0 with EDR, FM radio with speaker, 5 megapixel camera, e-compass, pedometer and A-GPS.
The TS3 has a very high IP68 rating against dust and water ingress, and is said to be approved to MIL-STD 810G for shock resistance.
The VR7 has a smaller screen with separate keyboard, and runs a Java-based operating system. Built-in applications include satnav and e-compass, and there is a microSD memory slot.
This model again has a respectable rating for dust and water ingress (in this case of IP67), plus a MIL-STD 810G rating, and is also said to be resistant to petrochemicals. In addition, it has a wide operating temperature range of minus 20 deg C to plus 60 deg C.
Trimble takes over ALK Technologies
Trimble has acquired ALK Technologies, the company behind the CoPilot satellite navigation system, for an undisclosed sum.
The development brings one of the world’s leading satnav systems into the Trimble fold, as well as PC Miler, a truck-specific journey planning and distance calculation tool that is a market leader in the United States.
CoPilot too is especially strong in its native US, where it is said to be the satnav system of choice for 64 per cent of third-party carriers, including 98 of the top 100 largest carriers and 47 of the top 50 logistics companies. It is also popular in own-account fleets, where it is said to be used by 77 of the top 100.
According to David Wangler, president of Trimble subsidiary TMW Systems: "The combination of ALK’s routing, mapping, mileage and navigation capabilities with our enterprise transportation management software and the mobile communications solutions under the Trimble Transportation and Logistics umbrella supports our comprehensive and industry-focused technology approach."
The acquisition has echoes of that of satnav specialist Maptuit by Telogis, which describes itself as a location intelligence specialist. Both moves seem to reflect a perception that mobility systems require a built-in navigation capability, and that there are benefits in being able to offer this in-house.