Client: Luck Stone Corporation
Luck Stone Corporation is a crushed stone producer for the Virginia area that has been around for almost a decade, and has always worked to not only improve their service but also to adapt to the growth of technology and apply it to their methodology. As a local business, Luck Stone prides themselves on how they positively affect the community of Virginia by delivering only the best products they can.
As we enter the era of the smartphone and tablet computing, companies are often forced to tackle the decision of whether or not it would be beneficial to implement these devices into their workflow. Luck Stone sought out to use these devices to allow for better communication and dispatching of not only their own truck fleet, but the fleets of clientele who handle their own handful of delivery trucks. The Luck Stone app they envisioned was one that would allow clients to track, dispatch, schedule and ticket truck drivers to make delivering rocks as easy as it sounds.
Over the course of seven months, Unbounded Solutions developed the Luck Stone app which tied in iOS devices with Luck Stone’s dispatch center while adding new tracking and response features between device and server. With the ability to receive GPS data, we were able to send location data to a central server, allowing Luck Stone to easily keep track of the location of each truck and where that specific truck is headed. With this type of data, a dispatch team is able to more easily direct drivers to either a dump-off location for their load, pile locations for their requested product, or weighing stations. If the server also has geo-fences set up, truck drivers and dispatchers can be given automated messages as to when a driver enters any geo-fenced location.
With tabbed navigation, users are able to easily swap through large amounts of data on the fly. What would otherwise be a large stack of papers on a desk or a mess of ticket stubs in the passenger’s seat of a truck is now all neatly organized in an iPad or even iPhone. Luck Stone app users are able to see current and archived tickets, request tickets while in the field, locate trucks, flag tickets as completed, send and receive messages from dispatchers to truck drivers, and even have clients sign off on tickets upon delivery.
The Luck Stone app paves the way for other delivery companies, not just stone producers, to using smart devices in handling their drivers. The amount of information dispatchers can send to drivers in an easy-to-read and accessible format is a powerful tool to have. Luck Stone has already experienced much success with their own fleet using an internal version of the app, and with their commercial release of the Luck Stone app, clients who have begun using the app had only positive feedback of its features.
There were also a few other features that had gone into consideration and had been worked on, but ultimately within the timeframe of the app and resources required, a few had to be dropped. They are still worth mentioning though, as the internal app that Luck Stone developed still uses them, such as using the SAE J1939 vehicle bus to extract more information about a specific truck such as vehicle speed, load, and various pressure settings. The app would connect to an adapter for the J1939 bus present in all trucks via Bluetooth and would be able to read info from the data stream similarly to the OBDII connectors found in commercial cars.
A feature implementing the robust ArcGIS library was also in the works. Clients could create their own specific maps using ArcGIS-friendly formats, upload them to a server, and then any connecting devices can download the custom map and not only view it, but also edit and mark it on their end by using simple gestures on their smart device. For the resources allotted, the ArcGIS feature had to be dropped because of budget concerns.
- Luck Stone App Functionality
- Periodically refreshes ticket list with up-to-date ticket information
- Automatically sends location data to a central server
- Saves up to three months of tickets in persistent memory
- Allows users to seamlessly request new jobs and designate drivers for the job
- iPhone has a much more streamlined interface compared to the iPad, as the iPhone screen’s size is significantly smaller, but still displays the same amount of information
- Built-in messaging system that allows dispatchers to message app users, and allows app users to reply to messages
- Alerts users when they have received a message or a ticket even when outside of the app
- Allows drivers to confirm job completion and obtain signature for each ticket
Additional iOS App Features
- Uses both Apple Maps, Google Maps (web-based or app-based) to give directions
- Communicates with a central server via SOAP-based methods
- Uses Coredata to save ticket information persistently
- Has a customized sidebar navigation system, similar to the likes of the Gmail app
- Parses JSON data for certain free-to-use features
- iPhone and iPad compatibility