Fleet management systems

To state the obvious: technology is always changing. This is a good thing, right? Faster computers. Cooler phone features. Exciting game console improvements. The unstoppable evolution of technology seems to have no downside…that is, until that trusty device you’ve used for years suddenly becomes defunct. That beloved flip phone that has served you well for years. That bulky tablet with the stylus that writes just the way you like. That vintage console that has all of your progress, scores, and accomplishments saved in its sorely limited memory. Don’t be mistaken, the evolution of technology can be wonderful, but it is a double-edged sword.

While the obsoletion of devices has a very concrete, tangible impact on us, the obsoletion of software, while less physically tangible, impacts us just as significantly if not more so. Just this past weekend, my daughter was unable to update her video camera software on our home computer – a computer taken possession of after the passing of my mother, who, let’s just say, was not one whom I would call an “early adopter.” Crippled by a dated operating system that was simply unable to manage the complex video editing software that was trying to inhabit our computer, my daughter came to me, helpless. (And was that a touch of pre-teen angst and indignation I saw in her eyes?)

Obsolete software in general, and obsolete operating systems in particular, can be paralyzing no matter who you are. And in a business context, it can be downright expensive. Many fleet management companies are experiencing this very dilemma right now with the phasing out of Windows CE. Indeed, the euthanization of this operating system has already begun. On June 10, 2018, Windows Embedded CE 6.0 reached “End of Life” status. And in less than a year, on June 9, 2019, Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld will achieve the same status. On January 14, 2020, Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 will also reach End of Life. These operating systems have given life to rugged devices and enterprise tools (and the Zune – do you remember the Zune?) for more than a decade, and in light of the amount of time these products have had to embed themselves in the nervous system of your operations, their retirement can have a huge impact on your fleet operations. So what does this mean for you?

Fuel Delivery Software & the End of Windows CE

The phasing out of an operating system does not occur in a vacuum. Very real, very tangible consequences arise from such action. What can you expect as a result of the phasing out of Windows CE?

1. Security issues
As Windows discontinues the CE operating system, the company will no longer actively seek out and resolve security challenges as they have done for the past decade or so. This puts all of the software installed on your CE-based hardware at risk. Your data will become more susceptible to viruses, trojans, worms, phishing attempts, keyloggers, backdoor attacks and other various forms of software exploitation. Potential threats range from mere annoyances to massive data breaches.

2. Decreased functionality
As handheld technologies continue to forge ahead, Windows CE will remain behind. Over time, the operating system will simply be unable to handle the complex requests of evolving hardware. As my daughter can aptly explain, when the nerve center of a complicated piece of hardware is in stasis, forward progress is halted. Try as you might to keep it alive, at some point, it will become clear that you can move no further with an obsolete operating system.

3. Limited support
As you experience the inevitable problems related to security and functionality on your CE-based products, the first thing you may do is search for that support phone number or email address in an attempt to seek out solutions. Again, you will be thwarted, as part of the sunsetting of a piece of software involves a reduction or altogether discontinuance (as is the case with Windows CE) of all support. Imagine how frustrating that would be to go to the trouble of digging up a number or email address from the depths of your software documentation, execute a call, wait on hold, press a series of buttons until you finally reach a human being (since there is no automated solution available), only to find out that he or she can provide nothing in the way of support for you issues.

The Future of Logistics Software

It may be too late to get ahead of the death of Windows CE, but it’s still possible to minimize security issues, embrace full hardware functionality and lean on reliable support in the event that something goes wrong – but it’s not going to be with a CE-enabled product.

Android is quickly emerging as the top contender for operating systems compatible with the rugged environment. Beyond supporting a variety of security and hardware APIs that can be used on devices in the enterprise, Android is easy to develop on and is likely already a familiar “face” to end users, making acclimation for drivers and dispatchers quicker and much less painful.

The phasing out of Windows CE can be daunting, especially as you’re doing the math across an entire operation. PDI can help you transition into the world of Android-based fleet management with next-gen solutions designed to support your organization’s paperless POD and record management, back-office automation and point-of-sale invoicing. Whether in-cab or in-office, PDI has Android-based mobility solutions for fleets large and small. Contact a PDI representative today, and skirt the repercussions of an obsolete operating system.