Product Overview - @Road

By Hal Reid

47071 Bayside Parkway
Fremont, CA 94538
Tel: (510) 668-1638

Early in December 2005, I had a discussion with Leo Jolicoer and Bob Stern about @Road. They provided insight into the products, applications, and the scope of @Road from an LI perspective.

Sometimes it is easy to focus on ‘the where’ and miss what is actually happening there. The @Road suite of products enables functionality to address the ‘what of where’ on several levels, depending on their customer’s needs. @Road is the largest provider of field force management software, with more than 6,000 customers and 180,000 end users, 150,000 of whom are in the U.S. In order to provide an understanding of what is happening where, the company uses a combination of wireless, GPS, and Internet technologies and even the existing data sources in contemporary vehicles (engine control computers, system services, etc.).

The company’s products range from pure Web solutions to cell phones to proprietary black boxes in vehicles for data capture, and, where needed, routing, field reporting, and re-routing on the fly. They also include network optimization, which accommodates service windows (time allocated), and the traditional geo-fences and time-at-stop reporting. They even have products that automate solutions to many of the resource allocation problems found in field resource management.

The company’s suite consists of the following.
  • GeoManager iLM - This product is the company’s enterprise solution incorporating business intelligence with mobile resource management.
  • GeoManager PE (pocket edition) - This is GeoManager for the cell phone.
  • @Road Pathway iLM - This is the company’s mobile resource management product, for routing, measuring overall field workforce performance, and business process streamlining.
  • @Road Pathway - @Road Pathway for the cell phone
  • @Road Portico iLM - Entry level mobile resource management product
  • Vidus Taskforce - This is an automated field service product designed to manage complex resources and integrate with an existing CRM system.
Regardless of the technology, @Road has the philosophy of going ‘beyond the field force,’ and putting CRM in place in the field. An example is the ability to incorporate RFID, or bar code reading, into a vehicle so that an inventory of parts is maintained in real-time. That way a mobile resource never gets to a customer’s location without the means to take care of the problem.

Another aspect of their philosophy is to support what they call the five rights of customer care.
  • The right technician (for the job)
  • Being at the right location
  • Having the right parts
  • Having the right skill sets to address the problem
  • Earning the right to service this customer again
This service begins with no upfront costs, no build time, and no setup costs because the service is provided on a subscription basis. All location services are ‘on-demand.’

@Road can use the customer’s existing mapping platform or database, update both in real-time, and even extend the data stream to include temperature, specific metrics from the source vehicle, and, as mentioned, RFID data.

One of the real values of mobile resource management and products like Vidus Taskforce is the ability to structure a field operation for the convenience of the customer. The example given is the proverbial appointment with the cable installer, but in this case a time can be set up that is convenient for the customer, not the installer.

Published Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

Written by Hal Reid

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