GOgistiX Mobile applications for movers

Ever since the military deployed their Defense Personal Property System, we’ve been developing software for military carriers and agents.  After several years of working with moving and storage companies, we realized a need for one software system that let movers work their military, commercial, local, and GSA moves in one place.

That’s why we launched EDC-MoveStar in December 2013.  It was designed to be a comprehensive move management software, with the goal of helping our customers do everything they needed within the same platform: job booking, customer service, dispatch, warehouse, billing, HR, etc., etc.

After talking with our customers and our team, we’ve realized there is one more piece of the puzzle that has been missing.  There is one more item that needs to be checked off the list in our quest to be a one-stop shop for moving and storage software: mobile applications.

That’s why we’re launching GOgistiX Mobile, a collection of native mobile applications for the moving industry.  This is a project we’ve been working on for over a year.  It hasn’t been a secret, but we are really excited to finally be able to share our work (and the work of our beta testers) with everyone over the next few months.

The first application to launch will be our mobile app for moving estimators.  We’re putting the finishing touches on it now, and it will be ready for release soon.  Before it goes live we’ll have a webinar to show all our customers (and future customers) what to expect.  We’d love to have you join us online on Thursday, July 30 at 2:00 PM EDT.  We’ll be walking through the application and taking your questions and feedback.

Click here to register.  If you can’t join us for the webinar but are still interested, let us know at sales@edcus.com.   We’re scheduling private, online demonstrations for mid-August.

Waze in Traffic

We’ve all been stuck in traffic.  Sometimes it’s the expected rush hour queue.  Other times it seems random, when the only reasonable solution is to stick your head out the driver’s side window to catch a glimpse of whatever is causing the delay.  No matter the reason, Waze, our pick for “App of the Week”, aims to make navigating the streets (and traffic pitfalls) easier. And though it isn’t a new app, Carlos, one of our lead software developers, argues it’s the best turn-by-turn GPS application on the market.

The idea behind Waze is simple: everyone on the road contributes alerts, speeds, and other data, so that real-time traffic information is available to all the users.  According to Carlos, “that’s the best part of the app: the collaboration between drivers.”  You see a construction zone?  Lane closure?  Speed trap?  Report it quickly on the app and every other user can benefit from your experience.  And when you’re out on the road and need to know which routes to avoid, Waze will fill you in with all the crowdsourced data from other users.

iPhone Waze

Here at EDC, our staff uses Waze for:

  • Traffic jams: “You see more than traffic, and everything is in real-time,” says Carlos.  “The app also makes it very easy to find another route if necessary.”
  • Summer road closures: We’re constantly under construction in the DC Metro area; Waze gives you a heads-up and makes it easier to find the best detours.
  • Location sharing: Carlos often uses Waze to let people know where he is.  “When I am meeting up with friends, I can share my location with everyone quickly through the app.” You can also use this feature to quickly tell colleagues or customers (via the app, text, Twitter, etc.) when you’ll be arriving at your destination.
  • Pothole alerts: This blogger has seen, reported, and avoided potholes that would swallow a straight truck.
  • Cheaper gas: Users can alert other drivers to gas prices in the area.  Waze provides a clear list with pricing and directions.

I should also mention that although EDC staff are safe, law-abiding drivers, we’ve heard it also provides drivers with alerts for speed cameras, red-light cameras, and police activity.

Android Waze

Waze’s founders first launched the app back in 2008.  Since then it has grown considerably, now being used in over 50 countries worldwide.  In 2013 it was purchased by Google.  If you are a Google Maps user, you may notice the occasional Waze data within your navigation screen.  But if you want to provide reports, or view information about construction, road closures, or police/speed cameras, you’ll have to use Waze.  It’s free and currently available for: Apple iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, and Blackberry 10.

This post is part of a series that features our staff’s favorite mobile apps. Want to see how estimators can use Waze in conjunction with EDC’s new estimating application?  Sign up for launch updates at www.EDCUS.com/mobile and we’ll keep you in the loop. 


Lead image via PicJumbo.  Screen images and logo via Waze.  

  • Moving and Storage company content on Flipboard application

How do you stay up-to-date on the news of the day?  Newspapers? Twitter? Cable news? (shudder) Gerardo, our VP of Software Development, encourages everybody to try Flipboard, a news and social aggregator he uses daily to stay in the loop.

Flipboard was launched about 5 years ago by Apple alum Evan Doll.  It’s simple to use, and it seamlessly merges a magazine feel with your mobile device.  After you download the app (available on iOS, Android, and Windows), you’ll choose from a seemingly endless list of topics that may interest you.  “Transportation” and “Freight” are two topics I started following recently, and have found some interesting stories.  Gerardo follows a lot of content producers, as well, like CNET, Daily Edition, and CNN.

Topics2

Flipboard will customize your news feed with media posts related to your preferred topics or publishers.  Flip through them like would turn the page of a magazine.  Have something you want to read later? Save or favorite it.  See a story your colleague or staff may want to read? It’s easy to share content through email or your social media networks.

“I’ve tried a few other news apps like Google News,” says Gerardo.  “But the content and interface on Flipboard is better, and it’s nice to have all your news in one app, instead of looking for it in 10 different places.”  Flipboard is free for all your devices and is now available for the web.

One more thing: look out for new updates and features soon in response to Apple’s release of their news application.  I think we can expect Flipboard to continue on their innovative track as they compete for your attention.  As always, let us know what you think about Flipboard or any other content on the blog, either below in the comments or via email at blog@edcus.com.

This post is part of a series that features our staff’s favorite mobile apps.  More applications are coming your way soon with EDC’s launch of our new estimating and inventory apps for Apple devices.  Want to know more? Sign up for launch updates at www.EDCUS.com/mobile.  


Screen images via Flipboard

On Monday, Apple hosted the first day of their Worldwide Developers Conference.  It gives developers and consumers alike a sneak peak at many of the updates and services Apple will be releasing over the next few months.  Since you were probably busy moving household goods, we’ve got the rundown of what is coming soon from Apple (and EDC’s mobile developers):

iOS9: Multitasking comes to Apple devices

Apple will be releasing the newest version of their mobile operating system in beta sometime in July.  The full upgrade will be available to everyone in the fall.  This version will have some cool features for iPad Air and iPad Air 2:

  • Slide over: You’ll be able to select one application that will always be just one swipe away from use
  • Split view: Two applications can share the screen with either a 50/50 or 70/30 screen split
  • Picture-in-picture: Videos will play in a smaller rectangle that does not obscure the rest of the screen, so you can watch videos while using other applications

Many of these things are already available for Android devices, but with these changes we’re seeing Apple target business users who may have a need for some of these multitasking features.

Here’s a couple other cool things we can expect with this update:

  • Improved battery life
  • Better notes and task capabilities
  • Enhanced security and two-factor authentication (learn how important this is here)
  • A “lighter” iOS that requires less space and makes updates easier

Read More

Image via Shutterstock

Image via Shutterstock

You may have heard about the most recent security issue facing computing: the “Venom vulnerability.”  Venom is the name of the new security issue that impacts some data centers, and could be exploited by hackers to access the data of millions of end users.

The 30,000 ft. View of Data Centers

Most data centers employ “virtual machines” to store your data. Typically they’ll take a physical server and instead of devoting that machine to just you and your data, they “virtualize” it. What this means is that they divide the server’s resources, storage, etc. into many different isolated environments.  Initially, this can save you some money because instead of having to pay the upfront cost of a dedicated server, you are sharing space with several other companies for a monthly fee.  Even though your data may be on the same physical server as a dozen other businesses, you typically can’t access any data on the server that isn’t yours.  Your data center or cloud provider has systems in place that you rely on to ensure no one can access your data, either.  Unfortunately, Venom exploits a fairly old technology still used by many data centers and runs right past all those “protective” systems.

How It Works: The Non-geek Edition

For a hacker to exploit this vulnerability, the first thing they need to do is gain access to a user’s login credentials. This can be accomplished by breaking into a public network, like a hotel’s WiFi, and stealing login information from a dedicated employee who happens to be logging in while traveling. Using the Venom vulnerability they can break out of that initial virtual machine and access other data and servers in the network.  It appears that by using Venom, a skilled attacker can essentially access any part of the data center at an administrator’s level.

The Good News

First things first, your EDC data is not at risk.  We do not use any of the affected technology in any of our servers, any of the servers we provide, or any of the virtual machines we configure. If you are using an EDC provided server, and it is being housed at a data center, it will also not be impacted by this vulnerability.

At time of publication, no one has any proof that hackers have utilized the Venom vulnerability, and the majority of impacted virtualization products have been patched to prevent this from occurring.

The Not-So-Good News

If other parts of your company’s technology infrastructure is on the cloud or at a data center, your IT department should double check that every step has been taken to fill those gaps in security. These types of vulnerabilities, while uncommon, are not unheard of in cloud computing.  Symantec released research last month on how rookie hackers could access clouded files very easily.  Dan Kaminsky, one of the nation’s top security researchers, suggests in a conversation with Fortune that the best way to avoid this issue is to have your own server. This ensures that your data is always isolated from other companies and potential hackers.

As always, let us know if you have any questions or suggestions by commenting below or emailing blog@edcus.com.

 

  • Freightliner Inpsiration self-driving truck

The first time I ever thought about self-driving trucks in the moving and storage industry was at the 2014 AMSA conference.  A representative from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was asked for his take on what impact autonomous trucks may have on the industry.  The general vibe of the attendees was “I’ll believe it when I see it.”  An attitude which, at the time, seemed completely appropriate given that the concept of self-driving vehicles has existed for almost a century, and yet still seems like little more than a figment of futuristic book and movie plots.

Apparently no one passed that attitude on to Daimler Trucks, who this week revealed their new autonomous commercial truck at a spectacular event at the Hoover Dam.  Their Freightliner Inspiration truck is the first fully licensed and registered autonomous truck in Nevada.  And the technology has both geeks and gear heads excited.

As far as we can tell (without actually “driving” the truck), the features offered for safety and efficiency are pretty impressive.  Its Highway Pilot System detects road markings using radar and cameras to ensure the truck stays in the center of the lane.  It also scans the environment, including surrounding speed and road signs, to adjust cruise speed and brake suddenly to prevent accidents.  One other feature that caught my eye was “platooning” which can make your fleet act as one, cohesive unit while out on the road.  This feature lets multiple trucks sync with each other, closing gaps to improve aerodynamics while still ensuring optimal braking distance.  Daimler reports this not only makes the trucks more fuel efficient but also considerably safer due to superior reaction times.

The NHTSA has created different levels of automation for vehicles ranging from 0 to 4.  Vehicles at Level 0 are always under the control of the driver, and Level 4 vehicles complete all driving and safety operations without driver input, from start to park.  The Inspiration truck is a Level 3 vehicle, meaning that as long as the truck is on the highway it can be completely self-driving.  Level 3 vehicles require the driver to control the truck while exiting the highway and for local road driving. Read More

  • Moving and Household Goods Claims Software

How do you handle your claims? On May 21st we’ll spend an hour discussing claims management using the tools of the GOgistiX network.  We’ll walk you through the claims modules of EasyDPS and EDC-MoveStar.  Plus we’ll talk about the claims history database and communication with repair companies.

This webinar is open and geared to GOgistiX users who work claims.  Click here to register.

Is there something you have questions about or want us to cover during the webinar? Email webinar@edcus.com and let us know.

A couple weeks ago, Eric Anders at ReloRoundtable had an interesting piece on using QR codes in marketing.  I love when Eric writes about tech in the moving & storage industry.  And his interest in incorporating what he calls “Smarter Advertising” is definitely something we can all get behind at EDC.

As an advertising and marketing junkie, I love QR codes.  They’re free and  can help you achieve your mission of getting customers to engage with your website, apps, social media or any other digital asset your company uses.  But as an undercover tech geek, it’s hard not to have conflicted feelings about QR codes, and what risks they can pose for uninformed users.

Let’s look at them from both sides.  First, we’ll see what you can do as a marketer to engage your customers using QR codes.  Then we’ll discuss some tips to help you protect yourself from hackers. Read More

“Efficiency” is one of those corporate buzzwords tossed around at every board meeting, that can become hollow with its overuse.  Then you spend 5 minutes working with someone like Cindy Railine, EDC’s Customer Relations Manager, and you know instantly what it really means.  From managing the needs of thousands of GOgistiX users, to planning her own garden, “efficiency” isn’t just a buzzword for her; it’s the driving force for innovation.

“I’m not a sitter”, Cindy laughs, as we sit and talk during the only 30 minute break she’s had over the last two weeks.  “I came [to EDC] because there was a lot of opportunity here…. and I wanted to keep busy.”  Prepared by years of experience in other fields, Cindy’s entrepreneurial spirit landed her an administrative role in our business development office.   Over time, she began to manage EDC’s Customer Relations department, wearing a number of different hats along the way.

Cindy Railine, EDC Customer Relations Manager, and her  dog Zena

Cindy and her dog, Zena

If you think of tech support as the first line of defense, Cindy is the Battalion Commander.   Her day-to-day duties typically include managing our tech support staff, relaying customer suggestions to our development team, and heading up the training and software implementation planning for new customers.  But that doesn’t mean any day is typical.  “My daily schedule? Oh, there isn’t one,” she says with a chuckle.  “Every day is different, and that’s what keeps it interesting.”

It’s that flexibility that has made Cindy’s tenure as Customer Relations Manager so successful.  When asked about her biggest accomplishment so far, she points to the reorganization of our tech support department.  Between writing technical manuals, instituting new systems and maintenance procedures, and training new staff,  internal customer survey scores have skyrocketed over the past year.  “I’m always focused on the solution.  You identify the problem and then make a change.  That’s the fun part.”

Her interest in problem solving and keeping busy extends beyond the office.  Between her three rescue dogs and an impressive, at-home farming operation, Cindy doesn’t have much downtime.   But that’s exactly how she likes it.  This year, with over 40 varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs, even her garden is designed with efficiency in mind.  By carefully planning the type and placement of each plant, Cindy has decreased the number of pests and diseases impacting her crops.  Resulting in a more productive harvest, that is celebrated by every EDC employee as they reap the benefits of organic tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers each summer.  “My dream is to have a permaculture, food forest”, where edible plants are chosen and placed according to how they can help surrounding plants grow.  “If I could do that, and get rabbits”, which she quickly adds are an excellent source of natural fertilizer, “I would be set.”

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 released a new Claims module, fully integrated with EasyDPS & GOgistiX, so you can handle all your claims in one place
  • We released a new Appointments module, allowing your customer service staff or call center to access estimator schedules and book sales appointments
  • We added more intuitive design elements and updated the system’s infrastructure to optimize performance
  • We created new customization options for Shipment Management and Dispatch
  • We added some new features and filters to the Capacity Calendar after getting great suggestions from GOgistiX users
  • And a lot 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.