New federal law, management capabilities get trucking company to buy into Android smartphones

New federal law, management capabilities get trucking company to buy into Android smartphones

Wiseway Transportation Services, which specializes in long-range delivery of furniture shipments, is giving its drivers Motorola Droid Razr smartphones for one main reason: to make sure the company doesn't run afoul of federal laws related to commercial driver cell phone safety.

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"I just put it out in the field yesterday," says Steven McKenna, director of information technology at Hudson, Wis.-based Wiseway, about the Motorola Droid Razr smartphones dispensed to about 20 drivers operating the long-haul tractor trailers. It's not that the drivers didn't like the rugged Nextel push-to-talk phones they carried in the truck cabs. The issue is that the Department of Transportation's new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules this year would make it necessary for truckers to pull over to the side of the road to use a cell phone.

McKenna said he found a way to accommodate the safety rules by using the Motorola Droid Razr because it has an app for hands-free voice-activation of calls and a speakerphone, so drivers don't have to pull over on the side of the road just to make a call.

"It takes voice commands as long as you speak clearly," says McKenna, who spent a lot of time testing how well this would work. The company keeps track of where its drivers are through GPS. One issue that was important to McKenna is locking down the corporate-issued Android smartphone so apps and e-mail are limited to what the company finds appropriate for business. It's using Clutch Mobile's software for that lockdown capability on Android.

"It's got a great administrative interface," McKenna says. "I can log in and see the GPS coordinates, and I can wipe the data if the phone is lost or stolen."

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail:

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