Volume 11, Issue 4 - July/Augsut 2009

On the Go
Your Guide to Mobile Devices

SOFTWARE

eDirectGlass Upgraded for Compatibility with Mobile Devices
eDirectGlass has launched a new version of its software and support for the Apple® iPhone™, RIM BlackBerry® and Google Android mobile telephone devices.

“The new version of eDirectGlass Mobile Edition now includes real-time technician tracking, turn-by-turn job routing; AGRSS safety data recording including automatic current and historic weather conditions; enhanced custom pricing catalogue and NAGS lookup; and supplier cost and quantity on-hand for parts and supplies through select vendors.

eDirectGlass Mobile Edition also has many other features that allow the mobile technician to create and complete work orders, process payments and receive new work without having to go back to the office to collect paperwork or additional information.

“By allowing the mobile technician access to critical information such as supplier cost and availability, the glass shop will realize immediate gains in productivity and revenue,” adds Hart. “The ability to capture the replacement installation information for the AGRSS safety standards, while on the job site, ensures the data is being recorded timely and correctly. Additionally, the overall benefits from the Mobile Edition will allow glass shops to invoice more jobs on a daily basis and in most cases, increase their daily capacity for new work.” www.edirectglass.com

GlassMate™ 6.0 to Feature Mobile Integration Capability
The latest version of GlassMate™ available from Mitchell International will feature an enhanced user interface, as well on-the-go mobile integration capability. Scheduled to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2009, GlassMate 6.0 will provide technicians to access NAGS® vehicles and parts information along with work order schedule information via smart phones such as Blackberry® and the Apple® iPhone™.

“Everyday, more customers rely on mobile technology to access the information critical to running an efficient business, which is why we are committed to continuing to further streamlining the glass repair and replacement process through innovations in desktop, mobile and web applications,” says James Patterson, director of glass product management. http://glass.mitchell.com

Take Quest on the Road
Quest Software’s new GlassQuote Enterprise software is designed to allow glass shop owners and operators to receive instant glass pricing and ordering capabilities automatically. Likewise, it’s designed to prevent technicians from having to call a service center, or visit multiple websites, to price glass parts.

The system, which can be utilized online anywhere with Internet access, includes the ability to retrieve quotes and order parts from Pilkington North America, Mygrant, Pittsburgh Glass Works and all suppliers working on a Glaxis platform.

Rob Rust, national sales manager for Quest, says he finds customers using this technology while in the field more and more.

“What our software allows you to do is, with a laptop in your vehicle and an Internet connection, it allows anyone from anywhere at any location to access the point-of-sale software, and the point-of-sale software will allow you to query your suppliers and order your glass, and do all those things without ever having to call a supplier,” says Rust.

He is finding this option to be popular among mobile businesses especially.

“The smaller shops definitely don’t have to wait until they get home to work on their invoices,” he adds. “They can do everything on the road … These guys with a couple of shops or trucks can get a laptop, a power inverter, a portable printer and an Internet air card and they’re good to go.” www.questsoftware.com

GPS SYSTEMS

Get There with TomTom
The TomTom ONE 130S portable GPS system is an affordable option for small businesses and comes with pre-loaded base maps of the United States and Canada. It also features programmable waypoints to help you arrive at your destination and text-to-speech technology so you can keep your eyes on the road while driving.

Other features include a 3.5-inch color LCD touch-screen with 320x240 resolution; a 1 GB of flash memory for use of expansion packs for additional map routes; both 2D and 3D map views; and works with an optional traffic receiver to alert you to possible traffic jams in the area.

TomTom also features downloadable voices to customize your GPS use. The company also offers fleet-tracking systems and TomTom software that is compatible with various smart phones. www.tomtom.com


FLEET TRACKING

Keep Employees and Fuel Costs “OnTrack” with Telogis System
The OnTrack 6.1 system from Telogis is designed to help owners and managers track their fleets in an effort to optimize operations and fleet performance. The system also is designed to help improve fuel efficiency.

OnTrack 6.1 provides real-time access to on-board diagnostics of individual vehicles, giving business owners immediate access to mpg data, fuel tank levels and other data. The system also offers drive time optimization and turn-by-turn directions, two-way messaging and advanced maintenance reports, along with the integration of high-resolution satellite imagery and an easy way to track vehicle maintenance. It also can help monitor on-time/late arrivals, idling time and speeding concerns.

“It gives you real-time tracking, reports and many other options,” says one industry representative who uses the system. “It is a great option and it will pay for itself.” www.telogis.com


A to B: Choosing a GPS Unit
Michael Preston, a Safelite Auto Glass technician in Fayetteville, N.C., spends his days driving the back roads of North Carolina. Though he’s familiar with much of his area, he often finds himself heading to rural jobs off the beaten path. And, though Safelite equips its technicians with BlackBerry® phones through which jobs are even dispatched, sometimes the maps are small and difficult to read.

So, about a year ago, Preston set out in search of a global positioning system (GPS).

“I’d never used a GPS before, and I had to consider my budget obviously,” says Preston. “I didn’t want to get into all the bells and whistles. I started checking into what was available and what features were available at what price and what features would actually be useful to me.”

Preston chose a Garmin nüvi 200, which at the time was the company’s baseline model. He finds that the baseline model is perfect for his needs.

“The baseline models have so much information—I needed to find my way from Point A to Point B,” he says. “I use it to get from one job to the next. I’ve even used it to find restaurants while on the road at lunchtime.”

The simplicity of having a GPS—and only a GPS—also was important to Preston.

“I didn’t need Blue Tooth™ connectivity or MP3 capability,” he says.

Though Preston eventually chose a Garmin, he’s quick to note that all the brands have baseline models with similar, basic features.

“They all have great features to them,” says Preston.


SMART PHONES

The Latest iPhone: the 3GS
Just this June, Apple® introduced its latest iPhone™, the 3GS, which it says is affordable but also the fastest, most powerful iPhone yet. The company touts its long battery life, a high-quality 3-megapixel camera, easy-to-use video and audio recording abilities as some of its best features.

While the system comes equipped with a variety of functions, it also has available a number of applications to help you conduct business from the field. Along with its compatibility with the new eDirectGlass software system (see related story on page 50) and upcoming Mitchell system, another popular application available, ProcessAway, allows you to process credit card payments anywhere you can access the Internet. Other companies, such as Innerfence, also offer similar applications for iPhone.

For those who wish to purchase a GPS system and phone in one, the iPhone offers a built-in digital compass for instant navigation and mapping capability.
www.apple.com
www.processaway.net

RIM Introduces the BlackBerry Tour Smartphone
Research In Motion (RIM) recently introduced the BlackBerry® Tour™—a new 3G smartphone that features a built-in GPS system and advanced multimedia capabilities designed for those conducting business on the go. The BlackBerry Tour features a large, highly tactile, full keyboard for fast and easy typing in the field. In addition, the device includes a 3.2-megapixel camera that includes video recording; a full HTML web browser; 256 MB of flash memory; a low-distortion speakerphone for calls received on the road; Bluetooth support for hands-free use; pre-loaded Data Viz® Documents to Go®, which allows users to load Excel files onto the handset for tracking business expenses and more; and support for BlackBerry App World™, which includes a variety of applications to help the small business owner or technician in the field.

Several applications also are available for processing credit cars via the BlackBerry Tour, and ready e-mail and web access allows you to keep in touch with customers who might contact you via your website even when conducting mobile work.
www.blackberry.com

Safelite Equips Techs with Mobile Technology Solution
Safelite AutoGlass recently introduced a Mobile Resource Management (MRM) technology for use by all of its mobile technicians. The MRM tool, first deployed to a handful of markets in 2006 with the national rollout in 2008, allows the company’s field-based vehicle glass technicians to download work orders using BlackBerry technology. The technology also provides turn-by-turn directions and job-site credit card processing, real-time schedule updates, receipt printing and signature capture. The application utilizes Bluetooth technology by pairing a wireless printer and signature capture device directly to the phone.

The company’s MRM wireless printers utilize a smaller, 4-inch roll of paper and the technician only produces two printouts per work order.


Taking Your POS on the Road
For those businesses that wish to equip technicians with the ability to function on the road, but aren’t ready to take the smart phone plunge—and find that full-fledge laptops are a bit pricy, Mark Haeck of Mainstreet Computers suggests investing in “netbooks.” Netbooks, which have just made their way into the U.S. market in the last year, are laptop computers with limited capability and functionality that are mainly designed to provide users with Internet access.

“You can pick these up for a couple hundred bucks now,” says Haeck. “It’s helping the industry to re-address web interface issues for mobility.”
With Mainstreet’s GlasAvenue 8.0 software and its usability via the Internet, this solution can be ideal for mobile technicians.

“Some [laptops and smart phones] are very expensive, but when you can go out and buy a netbook with Internet access for $200, you can fully utilize the point-of-sale system from the road,” Haeck says.

“It’s the growing thing,” he adds. “We’re finding more and more businesses going to this.”

In addition, with portable printers, the possibilities are endless.

“There are some businesses that will even get portable printers very cheap, and if they did want to print an invoice or receipt in the field, they can,” Haeck says.


 

AGRR
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