Industrial Vehicle Management

Nov. 24, 2008
Hackensack, NJ, I.D. Systems, Inc. today announced that it has expanded the wireless communication options its clients can choose for managing forklifts

Hackensack, NJ, I.D. Systems, Inc. today announced that it has expanded the wireless communication options its clients can choose for managing forklifts and other powered industrial trucks. In addition to Intelligent RFID™ communications—one of the the hallmarks of I.D. Systems’ patented vehicle management technology—the company’s newest systems incorporate a high-security, industry-standard Wi-Fi option that enables vehicles to communicate over most existing wireless networks.

The first customers to deploy I.D. Systems’ new Wi-Fi solution include one of the largest food distributors in the United States, a global automotive manufacturer based in Germany, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

I.D. Systems pioneered the concept of wireless industrial fleet management in the mid-1990’s and has been a market leader since, supplying a wide range of retailers, manufacturers and government agencies with enterprise-scale solutions. The company’s core competence in wireless network, local area network, and wide area network architectures is unique among industrial fleet management providers.

I.D. Systems’ wireless expertise was critical in the development of its new Wi-Fi option. The new system is designed with unique capabilities to meet the most significant challenges faced in deploying Wi-Fi applications: network security, functional robustness, and system manageability.

“Network security is a major concern when deploying Wi-Fi technology,” said Peter Fausel, I.D. Systems’ executive vice president of sales, marketing and customer service. “Our new Wi-Fi system incorporates the latest network security protocols—up to and including military-standards—which is a critical go/no-go factor for many enterprises.”

The wireless network security standards supported by the new system include WPA-PSK (TKIP), WPA2-PSK (AES), WPA-EM (PEAP-MSCHAPv2), WPA2-EM (PEAP-MSCHAPv2) and, in the near future, FIPS 140-2.

I.D. Systems’ Wi-Fi solution is also designed with multiple features to maximize wireless communication reliability and ensure preservation of critical system data.

“One key feature of our Wi-Fi product is an internal antenna on each vehicle communication module—internal antennas are essential for the greatest system dependability in industrial environments,” said Fausel. “Even more important, our patented system intelligence means the system will react to vehicle events and preserve all data—even if Wi-Fi network connectivity is interrupted for any reason—and will automatically reconnect to the network without operator involvement.”

External antennas on industrial trucks are prone to damage, vandalism, subsequent disruptions to wireless communications, and the resulting risk of compromising the integrity of system data.

“Another concern our customers have about Wi-Fi-based vehicle management is the ease—or difficulty—of maintaining the systems,” added Fausel. “Network IP address maintenance is not a trivial issue if you have a lot of vehicles. And upgrades to security protocols, or the network itself, can mean a laborious, manual process to change the settings of the individual wireless devices mounted on each vehicle.”

I.D. Systems’ Wi-Fi solution enables remote configuration (and re-configuration) of wireless network settings without having to touch any of the vehicles. This automatic process is a significant advantage over systems that require hands-on hardware configuration on every vehicle, especially during post-installation system upgrades and modifications to security settings.

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