Truckers Taking to Mobile Technology – The Journal of Commerce

When it comes to technology, truckers are going mobile, with 70 percent of drivers surveyed by uShip.com saying they use mobile phones for business.

The number of truckers using apps jumped to 43 percent, a 16 percent increase from last year’s annual mobile usage survey, according to uShip.com.

More than half of the truck drivers surveyed said their smartphone could or already has replaced dash-mounted GPS-based navigation equipment.

The survey, now in its third year, provides data that underscores the effect of mobile consumer technology on businesses, including transportation and logistics.

More and more trucking companies are using smartphones and tablets to deploy software once solely on proprietary in-cab devices or desktop computers.

That evolution, enabled by the rapid spread of wireless networks, was a focus of discussion at the ALK Transportation Technology Summit last April.

“The truck driver is a consumer,” Christian Schenk, senior vice president at XRS, said at the summit. “He or she is going to buy devices and apps just like you.”

“There are a lot of things mobile technology is enabling,” said Dean Jutilla, director of marketing communications at uShip, an online transportation “auction” site.

“A lot of drivers are using their phones to take photos of shipments and uploading them to the cloud,” either for customers or their own companies, Jutilla said.

Having a photo of freight as it was received can certainly help a truck driver or carrier in cases where damage is claimed by a customer after a delivery.

Jutilla said uShip sent surveys to about 26,000 of its registered transport operators and received responses from about 1 percent to 2 percent of the truckers.

The survey shows “there’s a greater dependence on mobile technology,” Jutilla said, with smartphones and standalone GPS navigation devices on a “collision course.”

Fifty-two percent of the drivers said they use their phone’s GPS feature, a big leap from 24 percent of respondents in 2011, Jutilla said. And 53 percent said they use their mobile phone’s GPS as much or more than their traditional GPS device.

“What’s driving this is that you don’t need to buy several devices to accomplish what you need to do,” said Jutilla. “Technology shouldn’t be about juggling.”

Contact William B. Cassidy at wcassidy@joc.com and follow him at twitter.com/wbcassidy_joc.

Posted on November 20, 2012 at 2:01 am