UPS unveiled a new generation of wireless handheld computer used by its drivers, developed by Symbol.
The fourth generation of the Delivery Information Acquisition Device, or DIAD IV, incorporates new radio communication links that allow it to communicate almost anywhere, anytime; expanded memory, and a color screen that allows alert messages to be color-coded for drivers.
The incorporation of three different types of radio communication links in each unit will ensure that package delivery information is available to customers almost instantaneously. The color screen will make life easier for drivers as well as customers signing for deliveries. Urgent customer pick-up messages, for example, can be color-coded to alert the driver. And the 128 megabytes of memory positions UPS to provide future features, like customer preference notes, to enable drivers to personalize service even more.
The DIAD IV features a new link to Global Positioning Satellites that will allow drivers to easily verify customer locations for pickup or delivery of packages, particularly outside the United States.
UPS pioneered the use of handheld computers in the shipping industry in 1991 when it introduced the first DIAD. Since then, each successive generation of the device has broken new ground, opening the door to the comprehensive package tracking UPS customers enjoy today.
The DIAD IV will be the first handheld computer to include built-in wireless connectivity options for either personal, local or wide-area networks. The multiple options ensure maximum data transmission flexibility for UPS drivers, ultimately resulting in customers having the most up-to-the-minute tracking information available at all times.
Each DIAD IV will feature a built-in Global Packet Radio Service or Code Division Multiple Access radio (depending on the area of the world in which it is operating); an acoustical modem for dial-up access if necessary, and wireless local area network connectivity (WiFi) to enable transmission within a UPS center. The device also features a Bluetooth wireless personal area network and an infrared port to communicate with peripheral devices and customer personal computers.
Thanks to all the wireless communications technology, the DIAD IV confirms deliveries almost instantaneously. Drivers simply scan the package bar code; collect the receiverís signature electronically; type in the last name of the receiver, and push a single key to complete the transaction and distribute the data. There is no need to activate a cell phone or return to the vehicle to place the device in a transmission cradle.
Developed in conjunction with Symbol Technologies, UPS will begin deploying the DIAD IV in 2004 after completing extensive tests of the new device later this year. About 70,000 DIADís are used daily by UPS drivers throughout the world. The pioneering technology forms the core of UPSís wireless strategy and is an integral part of how the company conducts business.