Microlise has introduced SmartPOD, a downloadable application for Android smartphone devices that enables the cost effective use of e-POD within both sub-contract fleets and own fleet operations alike.
Whilst some customers are using consumer smartphones, there has still been a requirement to provide more rugged, but cost effective, Android devices to run Microlise applications. Microlise have answered this need with the introduction of its new DriveTab in-cab tablet.
The Microlise DriveTab is a 7" ruggedised, Android based, touch screen driver communications tablet which can be fixed in-vehicle or used as a hand-held device via a clever dedicated charging bracket.
The new tablet facilitates driver ID, text and voice communications, trip sheet, integrated satellite navigation, task management and unique driving style coaching & debrief functionality.
As DriveTab shares the same core software as the SmartPOD application, the device can be optionally removed from the cab to carry out hand-held e-POD with image & signature capture.
DriveTab can be "locked down", only allowing the driver access to the applications and functions on the device which they are required to use.
Where fitted, communications between a Microlise Telematics Unit and DriveTab are facilitated via Bluetooth communications. This means wiring & installation is simple.
Where a Microlise telematics unit is installed, the driver can automatically log-on via the digital tachograph unit, negating the need for manual log-on. Incidentally, where a customer wants just tracking, DriveTab offers this built-in – without the need for a telematics unit.
The Microlise DriveTab has voice communications with optional hands-free kit allowing drivers to use the phone to dial fixed numbers which are either permanently stored in the device or downloaded as part of a trip. Once again, based upon the customer's operational needs, drivers can be allowed to manually dial numbers.
As DriveTab is a 7" colour tablet, the integrated satellite navigation provides a great user experience to the driver. Satellite navigation can be launched automatically by selecting "get directions" for any site on the route downloaded to the device. The Co-pilot 9 software from ALK, who Microlise use as their navigation partner, helps to ensure vehicles are only sent on routes they can safely navigate.
Task management helps ensure that crucial information is captured during the driver's shift or journey. Tasks could include vehicle inspection, health and safety checks or customer questionnaires, all configured within the system by the customer according to requirements. Site tasks (like product installation or packaging removal) or return to depot activities (like mileage capture) can also be added.
Matt Hague, Product Strategy Director at Microlise comments, "We've seen great success in the couple of months since we launched our SmartPOD application for smartphones. Re-using this software but tailored for a new in-vehicle tablet, has helped us come to market with a cost effective, ruggedized, functionally rich and flexible in-vehicle communications solution for our customers".
"We've tried to make our pricing flexible too. With the customer only paying for the features they require on the DriveTab. These are paid for on a monthly basis with no upfront licence fees – this builds on the success of our pay as you go solution we introduced with SmartPOD. Developments like SmartPOD and now DriveTab continue to illustrate our ability to adapt to changing market needs, offering a cost effective and efficient proof of delivery & task management suite of solutions."