g3 Services

Dec. 1, 2006
PEOPLENET, Minneapolis, Minnesota, has launched g3 Services, an enhancement to the company's onboard communications and fleet management system. The company

PEOPLENET, Minneapolis, Minnesota, has launched g3 Services, an enhancement to the company's onboard communications and fleet management system. The company also announced its first three applications to be delivered through the g3 Services interface available for use by all PeopleNet customers and partners.

The first three integrated applications were set for rollout in late 2006 and early 2007. They include collision avoidance system integration, remote vehicle management and disablement system integration, and tethered trailer tracking system integration.

In addition, the g3 onboard system includes a new driver-friendly display that will be available in 2007 and includes both tethered onboard versions and a selection of portable, handheld wireless devices.

The g3 system multiplies the potential of onboard technologies by enabling third-party providers to share the power of the onboard system, including mobile communications and operational data, at the discretion of the fleet customer. g3 is PeopleNet's flagship transportation and fleet management system. g3 Services is enabled by an API (application programming interface) in g3's software.

“g3 Services is a giant step, not just for PeopleNet, but for the future of trucking technology,” said Ron Konezny, chief operating officer. “Going forward, trucks will be equipped with more and more onboard sensors and devices to generate performance and operational information. With g3 Services, PeopleNet is ideally positioned to centrally compile data on a truck, discern exceptions to predefined limits or critical warnings, and then alert managers in real time. g3 Services will provide PeopleNet customers the ability to select, install, and benefit from a wealth of trucking technologies, including many not yet on the drawing board.”

Driver display

As for the new enhanced driver displays, PeopleNet vice-president Brian McLaughlin said: “Driver recruitment and retention are perhaps the greatest challenges facing truck fleets today, so the driver was our first concern. Portable handhelds integrated with a powerful onboard computer can simplify a driver's job, and an easily read display is important, particularly when a driver faces multiple tasks at once.”

The g3 Services API permits third-party applications to access PeopleNet's g3 system and similarly allows g3 to access data from those applications. For example, a security device installed on a truck could be configured to report events in real time using g3 mobile communications. A security device might report an unauthorized door opening, an unauthorized driver, or an attempt to change a seal.

PeopleNet tethered trailer tracking will make it possible for fleet operators to be sure a tractor is hooked to the correct trailer. They also will know when a trailer has been dropped and precisely where it can be found. Sensors will enable fleet operators to know if trailer doors are open or closed, if the trailer is empty or loaded, and if the tires are properly inflated.

Commercial carriers using g3 Services can integrate a wealth of technologies from other providers into their essential PeopleNet systems.

Third-party applications

The enhanced driver display system will run on the Windows CE.Net platform and allow for third-party applications to be developed and run in conjunction with the core PeopleNet applications. This makes it possible for fleets to deploy and integrate virtually limitless trucking technology for general- or specialty-fleet operations.

The tethered, seven-inch, full-color display is easy and pleasing for drivers to use, with precise visibility and touch-screen versatility. The keyboard has a small, practical footprint and is backlit for ease of use under virtually all conditions.

The display and keyboard were improved after extensive consultation with customer fleets and drivers. The large, high-resolution display makes images and characters quickly discernable and enables key driver applications such as in-cab navigation. Similarly, the new backlit keyboard makes it simple to enter a reply.

The full audio and video capability of the display can be used to show videos or display reading materials such as eBooks. This makes it useful for both in-cab training and driver entertainment.

At the same time, PeopleNet will offer new-generation handheld devices with color, graphical displays that can be used by drivers both inside and outside the truck. Inside, they can rest in a cradle to remain easily visible to the driver for messaging, navigation, and other functions. Outside, the portable handhelds can scan barcodes and record consignee signatures for real-time proof of delivery, functions that can relieve drivers of paperwork and hassle.

Beyond keeping drivers happy, display options will benefit fleet operators. The touch screen and Windows CE operating system make the display adaptable to numerous systems, including such core PeopleNet offerings as eDriver logs, messaging, and geofencing. Enhanced Driver Display will enable applications such as real time out-of-route detection, graphically integrated vehicle inspection forms, document management, driver training videos, and digital imaging to document damaged freight and accidents.

The in-cab display and its keyboard can be mounted in a separated manner or together in stationary fashion to hold them steady. They can also be made extendable, for example, to a passenger seat or even into a sleeper.

Many of the same applications run on the optional handhelds, which come in a variety of configurations from leading handheld vendors that include Intermec Technologies and Symbol Technologies.