Savage’s primary goals of bringing drivers into compliance with the ELD mandate and increasing safety and reliability have been met. Drivers need minimal training to use the devices properly, and adoption has been widespread. “If they can turn on their cell phone, they can work with the tablet,” Snarr said. “We are able to present our applications in a much cleaner way and add more applications, so the drivers can input their data in more of a real time way.”
The important secondary goal of controlling data usage and limiting the device to business use only has also been met. Data overages can be expensive, and Savage wanted to eliminate any ambiguity about the tablet’s purpose. Snarr said he uses Knox to install settings that let the drivers visit any websites needed for company work without being able to visit unauthorized sites and consume data for nonwork purposes.
“To give them access, we built an Android application that uses the internal Samsung browser to create a page where they can open up applications. We don’t have the URL exposed. Instead we have a banner across the top of the screen that is just the title of the application. They can open a site and navigate within it, but no further.”
The Savage IT team manages all the devices nationwide from Salt Lake City and has not had to add new staff. “What sells this for me is the manageability,” Snarr said. “We manage the apps from here, and I can send the same device to anyone anywhere and then just change the profile by changing one setting, and they’ve got the applications they need. We’ve been able to set up different profiles based on the work that that vehicle does. Even if somebody takes a tablet from their operation and ships it to someone else to lend them a hand, I can make a simple change from here, and the correct apps will download automatically. They’re up to date, and I don’t have to ask them to do anything. It’s really smooth.”
One pleasant surprise has been the durability and reliability of the Galaxy Tab E devices. “I am impressed with the longevity of the base model tablet,” Snarr said. “I had my doubts they would last, but we have devices that are two-and-a-half to three years old, and we have spent a minimal amount of money, compared to the old Windows CE devices. We thought we would throw these away every year and still save money, but they are lasting, and so we are saving even more. The tablets are very reliable too, and we do very little troubleshooting.”
Application deployment is easy, as well. “Before, we had several different devices, and we had to write applications specific to their software. Different trucks had different devices, different programming and different everything. As we are moving more to this singular platform, it is easier to support and manage our applications and we are able to do things with our applications that were somewhat limited by the other platforms we were delivering towards.”
Innovation has flourished with the Android platform. “There are so many ways we can connect to it and get feedback from it. Even the simple things like the way we can bookmark our applications and provide access to different websites. That wasn’t part of the plan initially,” Snarr said. “We found a way to make it work, and people don’t have to go back to the office and get their computer to send a job down to the tablet. They can just log into the device and send the job down to themselves.
“I am confident that there is more that we haven’t figured out yet,” he added. “There are much greater possibilities here than we had before.”