Satellite-guided Dolphins aid mobile workforce in Masternaut's HHP venture

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Masternaut is offering a new range of rugged mobile computers for use with the company's web-based scheduling, vehicle tracking and mobile resource management service. The Dolphin handheld micro-computers, which can incorporate special digital imaging technology, are being made available following a tie-up with data collection systems company HHP.

HHP's Dolphins are the most rugged devices of their type in the world. By connecting to Masternaut through an in-vehicle cradle, they become live data communication and navigation terminals for use by field engineers, delivery drivers and other mobile workers.

The Dolphins link to Masternaut's M-Schedule and M-Delivery despatch systems as part of a real time job booking, despatch and reporting system. New jobs pop-up on the Dolphin's screen with route details. With connection to onboard GPS satellite receivers, step by step navigation can be provided to the next location with added benefits such as traffic congestion avoidance.

Dolphins are fully-fledged mobile computers using a standard Microsoft Pocket PC platform. On arrival at a location, the devices collect data and then automatically update central management systems and websites, in real time, through Masternaut's always-on GPRS communications.

As well as their bullet-proof build, Dolphins are also designed as bar code scanners and can incorporate sophisticated imaging technology. The imager literally takes a digital photograph but then automatically processes components it sees such as 2D barcodes as well as capturing signatures. This unique ID information is transmitted and matched to central service systems for applications such as consignment tracking, parts ordering and service job closure.

"HHP's Dolphins are an exciting addition to Masternaut especially as we are increasingly moving into the live management of mobile resources. Many of our customers in areas such as construction, field engineering and delivery need a truly rugged device that they can use in-cab but also take onsite. In addition, the added functionality of HHP's imaging technology opens up all sorts of possibilities" says Charles Hewson, Masternaut Operation Director, who recently joined the company from IBM Consulting.

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