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2/21/2012 9:15:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

iTECH: Smart Phone Apps for Trucking

An Expanding Array of Downloadable Applications Keeps Fleets and Drivers Connected

By Greg Johnson, Staff Reporter

This article appears in the February/March 2012 issue of iTECH, published in the Feb. 13 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

When truck drivers grab their smart phones to search for the best chili dog or shower facilities, or to see how many hours on the road they have left, there’s an app for that.  There were almost 20 times as many transportation applications available for mobile devices in 2011 as there were the year before, technology experts said.

“In October 2010, there were 410 transportation apps available for Android; [now] there are 7,044 transportation apps on everything from finding cheap fuel to finding the closest bus or how to find a taxi,” said Christian Schenk, vice president for product marketing at Xata Corp., Eden Prairie, Minn. “Then, there are apps from companies like ours having to do with compliance, dispatching, EOBRs and fleet management.”

Schenk said that 86% of drivers already are carrying some type of mobile communication device, and 44% of those are smart phones.

“With the growing prevalence of smart phone use, and the innovative apps, devices and platforms that are on the market and under development, we know that drivers are leveraging the convenience and ease of use of these tools to conduct their business,” said John Sarto, senior vice president of business and product development for Qualcomm Enterprise Services, San Diego.

“With the evolution of fleet telematics, we anticipate these will become a staple supplement to in-cab devices, due to the versatility, portability and growing functionality of device platforms,” Sarto said. He added that, according to a survey from online transport marketplace uShip, 6,000 respondents disclosed they had increased their mobile use, with 54% of truckers using e-mail and 27% of them using mobile apps.

This explosion in apps for commercial transportation is expected to continue in 2012.

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