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February 2, 2016 9:45 AM, EST
Omnitracs Introduces Next-Gen Telematics Platform
Includes Voice Recognition, Standardized Hardware
Omnitracs' new Intelligent Vehicle Gateway platform by Seth Clevenger/Transport Topics

DALLAS — Omnitracs has unveiled its next-generation telematics platform, which introduces voice recognition software to the company’s technology offerings while expanding wireless connectivity within the truck.

The Intelligent Vehicle Gateway, or IVG, features voice-command software that allows drivers to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel while interacting with the system, Omnitracs said here at its 2016 user conference.

Drivers can use this voice-recognition technology, dubbed the Intelligent Voice Interface, to perform a variety of functions, such as checking their remaining hours of service or accessing messages, simply by speaking commands to the in-cab unit, similar to Siri on Apple devices.

Chief Technology Officer Dan Speicher said Omnitracs’ new telematics platform also will act as a “communications hub” that will connect with a growing number of sensors and devices on the truck, including smartphones, tablets, onboard cameras, wearables and fuel monitors.

The IVG, which will begin shipping in March, is the successor to Omnitracs’ flagship Mobile Computing Platform line of onboard computers.

Unlike the MCP line, which is available in a variety of models — such as the MCP200, 110, 100 and 50 — the IVG uses one standard set of hardware, which allows for faster development of new features and functionality, Speicher said.

The IVG also features a larger display, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi hot spot capabilities, as well as high-powered speakers designed to be audible in a noisy trucking environment, he added.

Omnitracs also outlined plans to release its own onboard video system in the months ahead.

Fleets will be able to download video captured a few seconds before and after a crash or other critical events to re-create the incident, Speicher said.

Other development plans include an application to help drivers locate available parking spaces.

With the launch of the IVG platform, Omnitracs has introduced its first wave of major product releases since the company’s spinoff from Qualcomm Inc. in November 2013.

CEO John Graham said Omnitracs has ramped up its investments in product development. The company spent $50 million on research and development last year and plans to increase that to $70 million in 2016, he said.

Graham also recapped Omnitracs’ move to consolidate the technology firms it has acquired in recent years, including XRS, Roadnet, Sylectus and Omnitracs Analytics, under a unified brand.

“We’ve brought the company under one roof, one house, and we envision interoperability amongst a lot of those technologies,” he said.

Omnitracs has approximately doubled its global employee base over the past two years to nearly 1,100 workers, Graham added.

For more coverage of the Omnitracs user conference, see the Feb. 8 print edition of Transport Topics.