Businesses using the BlackBerry 7520 Wireless Handheld from Nextel Communications Inc. have new ways to maximize productivity and increase their efficiency with a series of global positioning system (GPS) applications now available. These applications, which are an extension of services previously available on Nextel Assisted-GPS (A-GPS) handsets, enable users to locate and dispatch workers; manage work orders; process electronic time sheets; and monitor assets directly from their BlackBerry 7520 handheld devices. Moreover, these location-based services (LBS) can complement existing sales force management applications, such as Salesforce.com, making BlackBerry(R) an even more powerful business tool.
“For more than a decade, businesses have improved their productivity by using Nextel’s industry-leading voice services, including Direct Connect(R) walkie-talkie functions for instant communications. With the debut of wireless GPS phones two years ago, Nextel again differentiated itself from competitors with location-based applications designed to help customers locate and track assets and navigate to their destinations,” said Danny Bowman, vice president, Wireless Data Services at Nextel. “Nextel is again out in front of the competition with the launch of GPS-enabled applications for BlackBerry(R), which will extend management from the desktop to the field and become an indispensable tool for businesses of all types.”
Industry solutions partners debuting GPS applications for the BlackBerry 7520 include ActSoft Inc., Corrigo, Gearworks Inc., IT2ME LLC, and Xora Inc. These applications are designed to assist with business operations in a number of key industries including construction, field service, financial and professional services, government, health care, manufacturing, public safety, real estate, retail and distribution, transportation, and utilities.
BlackBerry users already are reporting cost savings, increases in productivity, improved customer service and more efficient dispatching with these GPS-enabled applications offered by Nextel partners:
— ActSoft Comet Tracker uses GPS to locate and track workers, maintain electronic timesheets and dispatch tasks. Managers also can use their BlackBerry 7520 while on the move to view the location of workers. “Comet Tracker on the BlackBerry 7520 is helping to increase the productivity of our drivers and ensure on-time delivery to our customers,” said Jeff Feldman, operations director for Advacare Systems, a Chicago-based provider of specialty medical supplies in nine Midwest states. “The biggest benefit to us is the Manager’s View feature, which allows our remote managers to view where our fleets of drivers are at all times. Since deliveries are guaranteed within two hours, we can ensure our drivers are on time. Also, the map on the BlackBerry is so clear and concise that we are able to zoom in to see the driver’s exact location, which allows us to provide them with directions if they need to be rerouted around congested areas.”
— Corrigo Connect is a wireless web-based work-order and dispatch management solution for service organizations with installation, maintenance and repair operations. “We’re very excited about the advances Corrigo is making with GPS tracking. Our field technicians are equipped with BlackBerry 7520 handhelds and CorrigoConnect with the GPS and mapping module,” said Ron Poelstra, Service Supervisor for Long Mechanical Solutions, Colorado Springs, Colo.-based HVAC service and repair company. “This is a great solution that enables managers to closely monitor technician and work order locations, so we can efficiently dispatch techs to their next job.”
— Gearworks etrace provides electronic time sheets and GPS-fleet maps to optimize field service operations. “With robust form validation and real-time data capture Gearworks’ etrace, running on the BlackBerry 7520 handset, has become a must-have tool for our mobile workforce,” said Stephen Coffey, director of the service division for National Energy Systems, a lighting and electrical company based in Roswell, Ga. “The e-mail capabilities of BlackBerry give our organization another simple way to stay in touch with the field.”
— IT2ME Silver, Gold & Platinum are GPS-based wireless business solutions that allow customers to track and monitor valuable assets and employees. “The use of BlackBerry devices from Nextel with IT2ME GPS service has allowed us to respond to customers’ needs faster,” said Jim Ditaranto, president of Commercial Electric Systems, a Sarasota, Fla.-based low voltage systems integrator. “Not only can we review driver history regarding sales stops and length of average calls, we have been able to streamline our sales staff while maintaining the much needed personal service our customers deserve.”
— Xora GPS TimeTrack is an application that combines employee hours, job/work order management, GPS location tracking and barcode scanning capabilities. “Since replacing our standard time clocks with Xora GPS TimeTrack on the BlackBerry 7520 from Nextel, I am now able to get real-time updates on my employees’ weekly hours for scheduling purposes,” said Tex Long, business operations manager for Aero Clean, an aircraft detailing company with 23 employees in San Jose, Calif. “As a result, our company has reduced our overtime expenses by $300 a week, which will result in savings of $15,000 a year. This, combined with BlackBerry wireless calendar synchronization, ensures that we do not over-schedule our jobs.”