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UPS Covers All the Wireless Bases

United Parcel Service Tuesday announced plans to outfit its drivers with new handheld computers that can connect to six different wireless networks.

The new Delivery Information Acquisition Device, or DIAD IV (it's the fourth version of the device) features built-in GPRS or CDMA radios (depending on the area of the world in which it is operating), as well as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, infrared and GPS capabilities. UPS said it will test the device, which was developed in conjunction with Symbol Technologies, later this year, and will deploy it to its 70,000 drivers around the world in 2004.

UPS said the multiple wireless options ensure maximum data transmission flexibility for its drivers, ultimately resulting in customers having the most up-to-the-minute tracking information available at all times.

To confirm a delivery, drivers scan the package bar code, collect the receiver's signature electronically, type in the last name of the receiver, and push a single key to complete the transaction and distribute the data.

The DIAD IV includes a color screen and 128MB of memory -- 20 times more than its predecessor. UPS said the improvements are intended to help improve customer service; for example, urgent customer pick-up messages could be color-coded to alert the driver, while the increased memory allows for features such as customer preference notes.

UPS also plans to equip its package handlers with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth equipment beginning in June. The five-year, $120 million UPScan project, calls for the shipping giant to deploy Bluetooth scanner rings and 802.11b terminals to 55,000 package handlers worldwide.

Reprinted from allNetDevices.