New Zealand-based vWork’s new free GPS dispatch iPhone app is another tool aiming to simplify the inherently chaotic field of fleet management. Requiring an iPhone for each worker and a central dispatch computer, vWork not only allows field service managers to track the locations of their mobile work force in real time, but also maps out the addresses of jobs in the queue and allows customers to track their orders. The app is less robust than other fleet management tools on the market, but at $75 per iPhone, the price is right for managers whose primary need is technician dispatch.
By using the iPhone’s built-in GPS, fleet managers can forgo expensive specialist software and keep better tabs on their mobile fleets with the tools many field service techs already have. “We could see the writing on the wall for traditional GPS hardware companies,” says Brendon Petrich, CEO of VisFleet, the company that produces the vWork app. “GPS tracking has become a commodity thanks to the iPhone.”
Here’s how it works: Dispatchers create new jobs from custom templates and enter the details of the work order into the system. Unassigned jobs and worker location are plotted on the same map, allowing the dispatcher to see which worker is geographically best suited for which job. Once the dispatcher assigns a job, the details of that job are sent to the worker’s iPhone, which alerts the worker. Once accepted, the dispatcher is notified of the job progress. A limited version of the app is available for free trial, while the full version costs about $75 per phone.
As we’ve covered previously on The SmartVan, the number of smartphone apps and add-ons for the mobile worker and robust fleet management programs is keeping pace with the expansion of the mobile workforce. In an increasingly crowded market, vWork has taken the lower price, fewer features angle.