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Lead the Way

New gadgets blaze trails for mobile workers.

Soon, your UPS delivery driver will be packing a piece of wireless hardware that could broaden the horizon of all mobile workers. The DIAD IV is a downsized tablet PC with GPS to pinpoint a driver's location, and a cell phone and keypad for messaging. If a dispatcher calls with a route change, a map downloaded to the DIAD shows the way. At the warehouse, your digital signature and other delivery information is blipped to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or infrared receivers as circumstances dictate.

Today, the DIAD captures outgoing delivery information by wireless download or with a swipe over a package bar code. Someday, when RFID transmitters fit into a shipping label, DIAD will be automatically "loaded" when the driver steps into the truck.

It will take a couple of years for this technology to reach all UPS drivers in 200 countries. By then, some of these capabilities will be in mass-market devices with price tags you can afford. DIAD designer Symbol Technologies already puts together device combinations for other companies.

What could global positioning, direct-connect communications services and on-the-fly rerouting do for your delivery or sales force?

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This article was originally published in the September 2003 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Lead the Way.

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