Royal Mail gets itself a CoPilot

Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform has received a boost with the announcement the Royal Mail is rolling out a customised version of ALK's CoPilot Live Professional satnav onto 25,000 of its GPS-enabled Intermec CN3 handsets.

The software will enable Royal Mail drivers to take the most efficient route to their destination and also enable customers to see the position of their tracked products in near real-time. This feature will be available to Special Delivery and Recorded Signed For items.

The 25,000 Windows Mobile devices are GPS enabled Intermec CN3 handsets and CoPilot Live Professional will be fully integrated with its on-board job despatch, management and proof of delivery application, Delivery Connect, from Blackbay.

The Delivery Connect system has a button which launches CoPilot, which is then automatically populated with the address details of the destination. On arrival at the destination, the navigation system reverts back to the Delivery Connect for signature capture and proof of delivery.

"By integrating CoPilot Live with Delivery Connect, the Royal Mail aims to increase efficiency and the customer experience through the use of the latest mobile technology" said Ray Vaughan, IT Director, Operations of Royal Mail.

"We don't just provide the SDK and walk away", said Chris Quin, IT Business Manager for ALK, explaining in an interview with IT PRO why Royal Mail and solution provider BlackBay had chosen to work with the company. "We put a team around it to support the specific business requirements, which is different from most players in this space."

"We've got a good background in corporate deployment," said David Quinn, Marketing Director, ALK. "The whole corporate side has really started to grow and this is largely down to our highly flexible SDK.

With 6,000 units rolled out so far and 500 a day are being added this is a major project.

"I believe that this is the larger satnav deployment in history", claimed Quin. "GPS is bringing major functionality to already great device [Intermec CN3]. It's a really great way to use the technology."

However, Quin suggested that this is merely the first phase that could see the solution move from cars to the postie on the street. "The first 25,000 are being deployed to the vehicles, but they're looking at making a wider enterprise solution. They could equip the guys on foot, which would be a major mobility investment."

Benny Har-Even

Benny Har-Even is a twenty-year stalwart of technology journalism who is passionate about all areas of the industry, but telecoms and mobile and home entertainment are among his chief interests. He has written for many of the leading tech publications in the UK, such as PC Pro and Wired, and previously held the position of technology editor at ITPro before regularly contributing as a freelancer.

Known affectionately as a ‘geek’ to his friends, his passion has seen him land opportunities to speak about technology on BBC television broadcasts, as well as a number of speaking engagements at industry events.