Your experience with in-vehicle computing probably lands somewhere on the spectrum between the state-of-the-art CDW Technoliner and this parody from the friends of ours at Taylor and Gordon.
You are likely all too aware of a few limitations the mobile users of yours will love to eliminate. Whether on foot, in a vehicle, on a motorcycle, mobile command center, or perhaps a boat, mobility solutions should maximize safety, efficiency, and effectiveness in the industry.
Maintaining and creating a mobile work environment is actually no small task. Interconnected different vehicles and system components create a constantly moving target for mobility professionals. In the 10 plus years of mine of experience designing mobility systems for a great variety of users, I have seen a couple of trends that stand out. Basic tricks and even some general best practices can simplify and empower mobile users while making it easier for them to maintain and manage change. Allow me to share several of my favorites:
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1. AUTOMATE THE COMPUTER’S POWER BEHAVIOR WITH A POWER TIMER
With a timer like the Havis Changeguard, you can set a computer to boot up with a turn of a vehicle’s ignition key and power down hours or perhaps minutes after the car is actually shut off, saving you valuable time.
2. REALIZE VEHICLE FUEL SAVINGS WITH AN IDLE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
When vehicles are actually on the scene, often for hours, fuel costs can soar. Put a lid on operating costs by integrating an auto idle system like the Havis IdleRight that cycles the automobile on and off while keeping your batteries and electronics.
3. PROPERLY MOUNT AND DOCK ALL MOBILE DEVICES TO OPTIMIZE The SAFETY of theirs AND EFFECTIVENESS
Nowadays, there are lots of ways to mount and mobile devices and dock computers. How things have been done in previous years might not be the cost-effective or ergonomic most solution now. Devices like laptops, tablets, printers, and phones should all be mounted, docked, and powered properly to make sure they’re ready and safe for use when it counts.
4. SECURE THE MOBILE ENVIRONMENT
Today’s mobile users operate under a “mobile-first” paradigm. Tools and info are extended from the enterprise to the area as their main function, rather than an add-on feature set. Security, in the past considered a solution unto itself, is now pervasive at every level of system design. Secure virtual private networks, designed for mobile use, have session persistence functions to maximize connectivity uptime. Advanced authentication solutions and mobile device management platforms allow for securing the mobile environment to match the risk appetite and comply with security policies.
5. AUTOMATE YOUR VEHICLE DIAGNOSTICS SYSTEM
Many solutions on the market today offer auto alert and management functions for a vehicle’s diagnostics systems. These include valuable features like getting the system’s email error codes and maintenance warnings to fleet managers. A real-time fleet management program can track a vehicle’s location, fuel efficiency, and engine temperature, among other things.
6. USE A MOBILE ACCESS ROUTER (MAR) FOR COMMUNICATIONS
This’s the big difference between consumer and commercial wireless. For probably the best performance – including enterprise networking, over-the-air management, and security features – choose a MAR. A MAR provides fifteen to thirty miles of range on the cellular antenna versus the usual 3 to 5 miles. It’s also capable of multicasting GPS data to multiple devices and could create a Wi-Fi hotspot around the automobile. As more devices are actually integrated into vehicles, the ability of a MAR to connect everything and backhaul off a single wireless wide area network modem becomes the best choice from both a performance along a cost perspective. The MAR architecture also positions a fleet to easily light up advanced mobility services such as automatic vehicle location, radio frequency identification tracking, vehicle diagnostics, redundant communications, and video streaming.
7. KEEP DRIVERS SAFE WITH A DISTRACTED DRIVING SOLUTION.
No in-vehicle computing solution is actually complete without a means of preventing distracted driving. While use policies should be dictated and enforced, an automatic software-based solution should be integrated to improve safety on the road. Software such as AutoExec’s Screen Out allows for customizing computer behavior according to conditions in the industry.
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