An alternative to the two-way radio can use Web-enabled phones—or any Internet-capable messaging device—for collection of various data. Utah-based software developer Trak-it customizes Java-based applications for phones, Palm devices—and devices that haven't even been developed yet. The software developer also is working on a system-specific device that'll be superior to a phone or Palm device.
Unlike global positioning systems (GPS), this technology doesn't rely on low earth orbit satellites, and accordingly, it doesn't require expensive hardware for processing GPS signals. The software-based application allows the producer to create a triangulation grid with status points at the plant or jobsite. The custom software measures the strength of signals sent out by any Web-enabled messaging device. It requires driver intervention only for some non-status applications and—like other automatic vehicle location (AVL) systems—it requires minimal dispatcher intervention.
The software has other customizable applications such as payroll, truck maintenance, text messaging, and safety. Punch-in and punch-out statuses integrate seamlessly with payroll software. The system also has some required driver inputs, such as a prompt that asks whether the driver was injured on the job. In accordance with DOT-required pre-trip inspections, the driver might have to enter the condition of components such as tires.
Like traditional signaling devices, the system allows dispatchers to send "canned" or custom text messages to drivers. The company can send its drivers messages telling them to not come in until a certain hour as the workload and weather dictate.