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October 4, 2019 10:15 AM, EDT

Omnitracs Announces Rollout of Unified Technology Platform

Omnitracs Intelligent Vehicle Gateway unit Intelligent Vehicle Gateway unit by Omnitracs

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Trucking technology supplier Omnitracs announced the launch of its Omnitracs One fleet-management platform, which unifies its various in-cab and back-office systems into a single offering.

Omnitracs One combines the company’s traditional mobile communications business with other product lines it has acquired since its 2013 spinoff from Qualcomm Inc. Those acquisitions include routing software provider Roadnet, mobile software firm XRS and, most recently, workflow software vendor Blue Dot, which Omnitracs purchased in March.

In an Oct. 1 interview with Transport Topics, Omnitracs CEO Ray Greer said the next-generation platform will help trucking companies better manage their operations by more closely connecting the onboard technology they use to interact with their drivers and vehicles with the management software they use to plan routes and dispatch trucks.

“Omnitracs One is a convergence of those two worlds into a common platform that enables the customer to gain access to the full suite of services in a single experience, whether it be in the cab or in the back office,” he said.

Omnitracs first outlined its plans to develop the unified platform in early 2018, shortly after Greer became the company’s CEO.

While some fleet customers already have started migrating to Omnitracs One, the technology supplier is targeting early 2020 for broad deployment, given the industry’s immediate focus on peak season for consumer goods and compliance with the federal electronic logging device mandate.

Major tank truck carrier The Kenan Advantage Group already has committed to adopting Omnitracs One.

“We’ve been a satisfied customer of Omnitracs’ solutions for 10 years and have elected to reinvest in the Omnitracs One platform and specifically the intuitive driver experience,” Charlie DeLacey, KAG’s CFO, said in a joint announcement.

KAG, based in North Canton, Ohio, ranks No. 27 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.

Ray Greer

Greer

Moving forward, Omnitracs One will “accelerate the pace of innovation” by combining data that previously was held in disparate, stand-alone systems, Greer said.

One new application enabled by the platform will be an automated IFTA fuel-tax program that Omnitracs plans to launch in the coming months. That application will automatically incorporate toll-road and private-property exemptions and enable fleets to generate tax forms with the push of a button, Greer said.

Omnitracs also is developing an automated workflow engine for the back office that will utilize a range of information to help fleets resolve issues such as critical events on the road or late deliveries.

For fleet customers, the move to Omnitracs One may involve software and integration updates, and in some cases hardware changes.

Motor carriers that have deployed Omnitracs’ Intelligent Vehicle Gateway in-cab terminals will be able to convert those IVG units from Windows Mobile to the Android operating system in the first half of 2020, an upgrade that will enable them to operate in the Omnitracs One ecosystem.

Meanwhile, fleets using smartphones and tablets as their in-cab devices will be able to enable Omnitracs One by installing a new piece of onboard hardware, the AMG-C, or Active Mobile Gateway with Communications. While Omnitracs One initially will support Android devices, in the future the platform will enable Apple devices as well, Greer said.

Greer said Omnitracs anticipates that all of its customers eventually will move to the Omnitracs One platform in the coming years.

“We’re not going to force migration, but as customers near end of life on a given piece of hardware … that’s the time to support them in that migration,” he said.

In the nearer term, the company is focused on helping fleets make the transition to ELDs. A significant number of carriers continue to log drivers’ hours of service with grandfathered e-log systems classified as automatic onboard recording devices, or AOBRDs. Fleets have until Dec. 16 to update those systems to ELD software.

Greer said about 45% of Omnitracs customers were ELD compliant, with about an equal percentage running on “enhanced AOBRD” that already captures the data needed for the ELD rule and is designed to convert to the ELD ruleset with the “flip of a switch.” But that leaves another 10% that still needs to take action.

Greer acknowledged that some AOBRD users intend to wait until the very end to make the switch.

“We’re encouraging them not to do that because of the fundamental change of drivers having to approve log edits,” he said. “If you flip it last minute, you could encounter surprises and complications.”

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