If you still think of Qualcomm as the company that sells those satellite-tracking domes that go on top of trucks, it's time for a second look. In fact, one company exec foresees a day when Qualcomm Enterprise Services
could be entirely a trucking software provider.
In an interview during last week's TMW Transforum user's conference, Norm Ellis, vice president of sales, services and marketing, offered a sneak peak at some of the applications we'll be seeing in the next year or two.
In doing so, he noted that the company is getting more and more into providing software applications and solutions. At one time, he said, about a third of the company was devoted to hardware -- today that's maybe 5%. (I remember once upon a time I had a Qualcomm cell phone -- it was a brick compared to my current iPhone, but it was great at the time.)
Some of what Qualcomm's working on:
* In the first quarter of 2012, look for Qualcomm to update its seven-year-old trailer tracking product, adding features such as solar power and door sensors.
* Next year, we'll see a smaller, black-box electronic onboard recorder/electronic log product that is tied in to a cell phone or tablet.
* How can 3PLs and brokers get visibility into where a truck is, only when that truck is hauling a load for them? Qualcomm has a product in Europe that it custom-built for a large air freight provider that does something very similar, and the company is looking into whether there might be demand for such technology here in the U.S.
This is on top of a number of announcements the company has already made this year, including its Mobile Computing Platform 50 for smaller fleets, CSA measurement and performance tools, electronic vehicle inspection application, Trip Manager for private/dedicated fleets, a proof-of-delivery app. It announced integration of various Qualcomm apps and hardware with companies such as TMW, McLeod, Mobileye and ALK. And adoption of its electronic hours of service application more than doubled; it now has more than 100,000 QHOS users.
The key goal, really is visibility -- of the supply chain, of key metrics that help fleets do their jobs better and more profitably. If you think about it, visibility is what Qualcomm's been doing all along, back to letting fleets "see" where their trucks were with its pioneering satellite tracking product.