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EasyDPS® has a special place in our company’s heart. Everyone here is really proud of how important EasyDPS® is for our customers. We know that because we hear it from you very often and we appreciate the kind words you express about our product and our service. Believe it or not, almost 10 years have passed since EasyDPS® came along. We could spend hours talking about the different challenges we had to face and conquer, challenges that came in all shapes and forms. But instead, let’s focus on the latest obstacle we had to surmount , upgrading EasyDPS® to our current state of technology.

Ten years in a person’s life means a few more wrinkles, gray hairs here and there, and probably some extra weight. For software, however, ten years is a lifetime. Try to think what mobile apps you were using 10 years ago. Any luck? The iPhone wasn’t even out yet, let alone Android. The concept of a mobile app, at least the way we now know mobile apps, was something simply not in the picture. That is the time when EasyDPS® was brought to life.

Now you see why EasyDPS® needed a revamp. Not only because we are talking about a 10-year old software, but also because now mobile apps are in the picture. Now when we think about software, we automatically think about the mobile app version or about the mobile app that completes that software experience. We knew we needed to bring EasyDPS® to the mobile era and that is what we did. That is why the new EasyDPS® interface is not just a facelift but also a change under the hood.

The effort of upgrading EasyDPS® has paid off. We are proud to announce to our customers the new EasyDPS® interface and a new mobile app included with it, TrakGX™, the shipper app we believe will change the way you communicate and exchange information with your shipper. (If you want to know more about TrakGX™ please read this article). In addition to TrakGX™, the new interface also comes with unlimited reporting and alert capabilities.

It goes without mention that all of our customers are getting the new EasyDPS® interface, including TrakGX™, for free. Because the new interface requires a small amount of training, we will be upgrading customers to the new interface on  a request basis. In the meantime, you will be able to keep using EasyDPS® Classic. For now.

If you want to know more about the new interface or schedule your upgrade please give us a call to (703) 393-0440.

 

 

feature-move

We have new offices! As our company kept on growing, the need for a bigger office was clearer than ever. After many months of searching for the right place, we found the perfect building, strategically located for our employees, excellent size, great condition, and of course with a good price. :).

Then a question came up. Where could we find a mover? If only we had connections in the moving industry. :) Thankfully we have some. We picked up the phone and called our good friends at Able Moving & Storage. Sure enough, they came to our rescue.

Able did an outstanding job. Let’s start by how well they protected not only our previous office but the whole building. As some of you may know our previous office was located on the 8th floor of the building. Everything from our front door, through the hallway, the elevators, through the first floor of the building to the truck, was covered in cardboard. It was literally impossible to damage the property. The crew was excellent, they took good care of our things and did a fast job, even when the cold was hitting hard (we chose the coldest day of December, sorry Able).

Thank you Able for your great service!

 

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A few weeks ago, at IAM’s annual meeting in New Orleans, we launched TrakGX™, our newest mobile application. TrakGX™ is the shipper app we believe will change the way moving companies interact with their shippers.

This is not the first time we’ve released a product that we know will change the industry. In the past, when we first introduced the GOgistiX® network we knew it would change the way moving companies interact with each other. Several years down the road, we now see the GOgistiX® has achieved that goal. Now it only takes a few clicks for a moving company to share a job and all the necessary information with another company. Currently the GOgistiX® network handles thousands of interactions between moving companies every day.

We believe TrakGX™ will have a similar impact on the moving industry. The GOgistiX® network and our different systems (EasyDPS®, EDC-MoveStar®, EDC-AgentLink® and our mobile apps) allow moving companies and third-party services to communicate and share data between them in an instant. But there was one key variable being left out of the equation, the shipper. Moving companies didn’t have a solution to communicate and share data with the shippers that was fully integrated with their systems. Well… they do now.

TrakGX™ turns the shipper’s mobile device into the main communication hub between them and the moving companies. With TrakGX™ shippers can:

  • Schedule premove surveys
  • Complete virtual premove surveys
  • Take customizable customer satisfaction surveys
  • See the assigned crew in advance
  • Rate the assigned crew
  • Keep track of the move status
  • Communicate with the moving company’s team through the TrakGX™ chat
  • File claims

TrakGX™ is fully integrated  and managed through EDC-MoveStar® or the new EasyDPS® interface. (Wait… You didn’t know there is a new EasyDPS® interface? We’ll  tell you more in next week’s post).

We say it again, we truly believe TrakGX™ will change the way moving companies interact with their shippers. Communication will be faster, easier and more convenient for shippers.

If you want to know more about TrakGX™ please give us a call to (703) 393-0440.

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As a company, we are excited about all new technologies, but we feel specially enthusiastic about technologies that can impact the moving industry. And there is yet another one on the horizon, Hyperloop. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, Hyperloop is Elon Musk’s crazy idea about a high-speed, 700 mph, ground transportation. His vision is to use it both for travel and commercial purposes. The concept is simple, a capsule that can travel at more than 700 mph inside a low-pressure tube. When finished, Hyperloop will essentially be the fastest commercial transportation on earth.

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Photo: Hyperloop One

First, let me give you some background on Hyperloop. A while ago Elon Musk, the man behind Tesla Motors and SpaceX came up with the idea of Hyperloop. In August 2013, he published a very detailed and technical article on SpaceX’s blog explaining his proposal. He open sourced that design encouraging anyone to use it and modify it. Several people responded to his call and different companies were created to the sole purpose of making Hyperloop a reality. Even though neither SpaceX nor Elon Musk is affiliated with any of these Hyperloop companies, as stated in SpaceX’s website, they wanted to boost the development of a functional Hyperloop prototype. With that goal in mind, they launched an open competition to design and build the Hyperloop capsule, or pod, as they call it. As an incentive to the participants, SpaceX agreed to build a 1 mile test track for the winning teams to test their pods, by the way, the big winner was the MIT Hyperloop team.

Fast forward to May 2016, this monumental project shows signs of advancing faster than expected. Two companies are currently competing to build the first Hyperloop, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), and Hyperloop One. Both companies are at the testing face, Hyperloop One already completed a successful test on May 11 2016, and HTTC has announced the construction of their 5 miles test track will take place later this year. Selected Pods from SpaceX’s open competition are expected to be tested this summer at SpaceX’s test track.

 

This project certainly has many challenges, most of them technology related, but some of them from a different nature like buying the land to build the tracks, funding, transportation industry disruption, and even political obstacles. Overcoming those obstacles will take time, but the fact that countries like Slovakia have already agreed to host the first Hyperloop tracks, probes that this will happen sooner rather than later.

So many questions rise when you look at the Hyperloop through the moving industry eyes. Will it be profitable to use it in household goods moves? Will it affect the truck drivers community? With a travel as smooth as promised, will it have a positive impact on the number of claims filed? Will insurance costs be affected? It is too soon to answer those questions, but in theory getting from point A to point B faster and safer is always a plus in the moving business.

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PHOTO: Hyperloop One

The Hyperloop is a fascinating project top to bottom. From the way Elon Musk open sourced his idea for the greater good, to the way it will impact our society and the way we travel.

 

 

Main photo: Hyperloop One

feature-uber

There is an emerging type of moving service that keeps getting traction. To put it in a few words, companies like Dolly, Bellhops and Zootly are applying the Uber model to the moving industry. That means that if you want to move either your couch or your whole apartment, you can go to one of these apps and pick a “mover” out of their database, get a quote, and book the move right from your mobile device. It is fair to say that this model is by default tied to mobile apps. Being Uber is as successful as it is, we thought we should take a look at how that business model works for the moving industry.

The Uber model dictates that  “anyone” can be part of the “movers” database, as long as they comply with their requirements. Depending on the company, these requirements can range from having a truck to being able to lift 75 pounds. The model allows companies to quickly create not only a large workforce, but one that spreads throughout a large area. This also reduces the company’s operation costs because the “movers” are not employees, but independent contractors, freeing companies of the costs associated with keeping employees on payroll.

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MOVESTAR-Release

Customer Relations Manager, Cindy Railine, sent an email last week about some new updates to EDC-MoveStar. Here’s a brief summary:

  • We have added a new functionality for long distance jobs called “Trip Builder”.
  • Trip Card can now be printed from the Dispatch / Services / Trip Builder / Trip Card screen.
  • Several functionalities have been added to the NTS & Services tabs.
  • We added “Paperwork Received” as a new criteria  for reports.
  • Surveys can now be modified after finished.
  • We added a new “Storage Expiration Report” alert.
  • Email and document templates can now be added by Branch.
  • Contacts can now be imported with with multiple company types as well as GBLOCs.
  • And more.

The complete set of release note details is available under the Support tab of your EDC-MoveStar software. You can also find instructions there for how to use these updated features.

As always, if you have any questions or need assistance, users can contact us with the support center tab in EDC-MoveStar. And, of course, if you aren’t an EDC-MoveStar user but would like to learn more, please email us at sales@edcus.com to schedule an online demonstration.

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EDC is now 15!! It’s incredible how fast time flies when you’re having fun. And let met tell you, this has been a wild 15-year-old flight.

Everything started at the Corona’s many moons ago. What once was a two people show, has now become a successful business with offices overseas. Like any other business, we’ve had difficult times, but we can say it has been a wonderful ride. The dedication, sweat and blood (a few paper cuts along the way) have paid our dues. Now, 15 years later, we are strong, happy and ready for 15 more. We thank our customers for their kind support and contribution to our success.

We think it’s fair to share with other companies some guidelines that have proved to be helpful for us during this amazing time in our company’s history.

Parenting Tips for Raising a 15-Year-Old Software Company

  • Be aware of body image issues. This age comes with body image problems. After 15 years sitting at a desk, coding software, the human body suffers some alterations, mainly in the abdominal area. Pay attention to excessive concern over weight. If needed, have the company lunch be just salad. Ok, you can throw some bacon on it.
  • Encourage healthy habits. Most 15-year olds start to move away from healthy habits. You should offer advice on issues like exceeding the 3 daily cups of coffee, being constrained to one single food group (fast food), and the GAS syndrome (Gadget Acquisition Syndrome). It’s very important they know that walking from the desk to the coffee machine does not qualify as daily exercise.
  • Promote healthy relationships. Please make sure they know there’s a world outside Webex, Gotomeeting and Linkedin. A system that rewards human-to-human interactions is optional, but highly recommended. In case you are wondering, email cannot be rewarded under this system.
  • Restrict privileges when necessary. Every 15 year old needs to know that breaking the rules have consequences. For example, if they take the last soda without restocking, they will be temporarily deprived from fridge access. If they finish the pot of coffee without putting a fresh one, coffee privileges should be revoked immediately.

 

Please let us know any additional tips you think can help us.

Atlas recently made public their 2015 Migration Patterns report (based on their moves). This kind of data is always interesting. Every company or person will see it with a different pair of eyes and draw their own conclusions.

You are the experts in the moving industry. That’s why we want to hear from you. Tell us, what do you think about this report? What are your conclusions? Is it consistent with your own data?

 

2015 Migration Patterns
2015 Migration Patterns by Atlas Van Lines

MOVESTAR-Release

Customer Relations Manager, Cindy Railine, sent an email last week about some new updates to EDC-MoveStar. Here’s a brief summary:

  • The Tariff module has new tabs and new functionality that improves the module efficiency, like handling NTS tariffs.
  • New fields have been added to the Shipment Management module.
  • The Warehouse module has been redesigned!
  • We have optimized the Leads Detail screen.
  • We added a new Leads Alert.
  • Branch handling has been optimized.
  • And more.

The complete set of release note details is available under the Support tab of your EDC-MoveStar software. You can also find instructions there for how to use these updated features.

As always, if you have any questions or need assistance, users can contact us with the support center tab in EDC-MoveStar. And, of course, if you aren’t an EDC-MoveStar user but would like to learn more, please email us at sales@edcus.com to schedule an online demonstration.

FEATURE-VR

It seems like Virtual Reality can finally be real. The recent CES 2016 (Consumer Electronics Show) is a proof of that. That is the place where tech companies showcase their latest gadgets or work-in-progress projects. As expected, this year, as in the past few years, Virtual Reality had some exhibitors showcasing the technology. The difference was that this year, big contenders like Oculus Rift, HTC’s VIVE and Playstation VR had actual products ready for consumers. That’s right, no beta versions, no work-in-progress projects, but actual products that can be pre-ordered and delivered this year. Wow!

These three products are not mobile Virtual Reality systems, meaning that they have to be attached to a computer or console. This is different from the current VR-kind-of  products out there, for example Google Cardboard (I know cardboard and virtual reality are not words you would expect to use in the same sentence) and Samsung’s Gear VR (powered by Oculus) can be taken everywhere since these are products that you attach to your mobile phone. Those Virtual Reality mobile products deliver  sort of Virtual Reality experience but very limited. On the other hand, the Oculus Rift, HTC’s VIVE and Playstation VR , with the processing capabilities of a powerful computing system attached to them offer a far better Virtual Reality experience.

What these companies are showing looks amazing. We  still haven’t been able to play with one of these babies, but the content released by the manufacturers looks amazing. With gaming as the main target of these devices, virtual reality promises to be fun. To be fully submerged in a game and control the digital world that surrounds you, is a dream every kid thinks about at least twice a day, or is it just me? If you look at the gaming industry’s history, you realize they are always searching for ways to engage the player more and more with their games. With that in mind, to place you “inside” a game sounds like the ultimate goal.

There is only one downside of these Virtual Reality products: they are not cheap. For example the Oculus Rift comes at a price of $600.00 for the headset, sensor, remote control, Xbox game controller (I know, it’s confusing) and two games. But wait, don’t close your wallet yet, that’s just half the gear you’ll need. Like we said, these products need to be attached to a powerful machine capable of producing all the juice these systems require. For the Oculus Rift that means computers that have a particular video card. If you don’t have such a computer, you’ll have to spend at least an extra $900.00 and that’s after the Oculus Rift discount provided by some computer manufacturers. HTC hasn’t released their system requirements yet, but you can expect a similar price for the VIVE and for the computer powering it. Sony hasn’t released the price of their Playstation VR either, but you can expect it to be lower than the other contenders, as the Playstation system is less advanced. What we do know is that the spark igniting it will be the Playstation 4. If you already own one of these, you will save some money; otherwise prepare the initial $350.00 investment.

Virtual Reality goes beyond games. Virtual Reality could be extremely useful in multiples areas. Schools could include Virtual Reality lessons about almost any topic, companies could use Virtual Reality to achieve even more effective trainings, police could use it in crime investigations, and people who enjoy  traveling could go to places they haven’t even imagined.

We hope you are as excited as we are about how Virtual Reality is moving forward. In this world of  “alternate” realities there are other interesting technologies like VR’s cousin Augmented Reality (AR), and one that in our humble opinion is more exciting than Virtual Reality, Holographic Reality (for lack of a better term). We will discuss “Holographic Reality” in a future post, in the meantime take a look at what Microsoft is doing in this front.

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Google who? It’s very likely this is the first time you hear about Google Keep. As many of Google’s apps and services, unless you go deep in Google’s portfolio page (which is hidden beneath a few layers itself), it can easily go unnoticed. The purpose of the app is to “Keep” notes, as simple as that. Even though there are dozens of apps out there built for that same purpose, personally, I believe that Google Keep does it like no other. Let me explain myself.

Many of these apps designed for taking notes at some point evolve into something more complex. They become a kind of text editor app, with so many options and features that makes taking notes a task far more complicated than it should be.

Google “Keep”, on the other hand, is a light, simple, and easy to use “notes” app. It does the job without all the gimmicks.

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Google keep sample screen.

 

The following is my Google Keep review:

WHO IS IT FOR?
Google Keep, in my opinion, is intended for someone who needs to take quick notes on the go. Small pieces of information that you’ll use later. It could be an address, a short shopping list, some instructions, etc. I often find myself using it also to create checklists for recurrent tasks. For example a checklist of things to include on a blog post, a checklist of things that I can’t forget before going on a trip, or a checklist of things to do at work, etc.

WHY THIS APP
Like I said, there are several options for note taking apps out there, but one of the things that separates this one from the pack is its simplicity. When you want to write down a quick note, you really don’t care about the font type, color, size, or any of those type of features. You just want to write it down as fast as possible and have it a few swipes away when you need that info again. That’s where Google Keep shines over other apps.

Also the way this app displays the notes makes them very accessible to you. Instead of going through several steps of navigation, all of your notes are on the main screen at the very moment you open the app. If you want to find one note you just need to scroll/swipe down to locate it.

One of the few but powerful and extremely useful features the app has is the ability to assign a color to each note. That makes it  easy to spot categories for your notes.

Another great feature is the fact that your notes synchronize between your phone, tablet and desktop. That means your notes are always at your fingertips no matter what device you are using, and since the app is super light you can access them in no time.

The rest of the few features the app has are those you would expect from a “notes” app: attachments, tags, drawings, reminders and sharing capabilities, all packed in a simple light interface.

KEY POINTS
Simple, efficient, synchronizes through all of your devices, fast and easy to use.

Google Keep has become one of my most used apps. If you give it a try, it might surprise you.

You can download Google Keep here: Android | Apple

 

Campaign is a new startup out of California that is trying to change the way we buy, build, and move furniture.  Its founder points to the high cost of furniture shipping as an issue for the average consumer.  If you ordered a sofa online, for example, you can expect to pay on average between $100 and $250 on shipping costs.  Campaign includes the cost of shipping in every piece it sells, which they believe makes their modern furniture a good deal.

The furniture’s construction and packability set it apart from the average low-cost furniture suppliers.  Every mover is familiar with flat-pack IKEA furniture.  Campaign’s furniture comes in a similar packaging through Fed-Ex.  However, no screwdrivers are required for this one.  All of the pieces have a modular quality allowing the consumer to pop the pieces together quickly.  Fast Company has a cool time-lapse video that shows an arm chair being put together in under 3 minutes:

How does this impact moving?  From all reports the materials are sturdier than the average IKEA product.  Rather than particle board, Campaign has used steel to construct their frames.  And they are just as easy to put together as they are to take apart.  Meaning that consumers (and movers) will be able to deconstruct the couch before moving it down a 5-story walk-up.

Couches, love seats, and arm chairs can be pre-ordered now.

Electric-Industry

21st of October 2015, the date in which Marty McFly and Doc Brown travel into the future in Back to the Future 2. That day we probably thought of all the cool stuff we expected from the future back in 1989, when that movie blew us away with hover boards, self-lacing shoes, cool TVs (now called smart TVs), drones, flying cars… it was simply fascinating.

Let us pull a “Back to the Future” on the Moving industry. Can you imagine what the Moving Industry will be like in 10,15 or 20 years? Do you imagine the type of technology we will have access to at that point? Maybe surveys will be made by small drones that will quickly explore the house and create an estimate for the customer, while uploading data and video instantly. Maybe trucks will be filled with some sort of foam (eco friendly, of course) to prevent damages and then will evaporate once you reach your destination. Maybe you will be able to magnetically tag every box which then will guide the crew unloading truck directly to the correct room. Maybe crews will have Exo-suits that will allow them to carry heavy items easily. Fully electric trucks, autonomous trucks, exotic packing materials… OK, I think I got carried away.

The truth is that we are not that far from some of those “predictions” to become real. For example, a while ago we did a post on the first autonomous truck, amazing stuff. Self-driving technology is only getting better and better. Companies like, Google, FreightLiner and Tesla are doing huge improvements on this front.

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Your business’ online reputation may soon get a bigger footprint.  Google recently launched beta testing of AdWords Express home services ads in the San Francisco area.  This first test release only includes “plumbers, locksmiths, house cleaners, and handymen”, however, it’s likely Google will expand these home services ads to any local service provider when the system goes wide.

What does this mean for moving businesses?  Well, that remains to be seen.  But there are a couple things we can count on if this feature is expanded to movers.  First, plan to increase your marketing and AdWords budget to participate.  This will help you show up at the top of the search list for your local customers.

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