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OnTime 360 Courier Software Enhances API with Webhooks

OnTime 360 courier software, provided by Vesigo Studios, recently added Webhooks to its OnTime API. The OnTime API allows users to connect other applications and services to their OnTime account. These new Webhooks are available as part of the OnTime Workflow Designer and make efficient, real-time, two-way communication a reality for anyone using the OnTime API.

“We are always excited when we can implement a technology that will open up more opportunities for couriers. By extending our platform API with Webhooks (HTTP POST) we are able to make real-time communication a reality for our customers in the developer community. And because of the ubiquitous nature of HTTP POST, virtually any system and programming language can take advantage of this,” says Jeremiah Tilley, Principal Software Architect at Vesigo Studios.

A webhook is like an API endpoint, but inverted, allowing applications to receive output from OnTime. Instead of making a call to the OnTime API, users define a callback URL that OnTime will HTTP POST information to as events occur. That callback URL can then execute code based on those POSTs. Webhooks are compatible with virtually any programming language, website, or software system.

The two-way communication that Webhooks make possible can be utilized by developers to create apps that send and receive information from customers and employees. Additionally, OnTime can now be connected to existing applications and services and make more effective use of actions relating to communication. The OnTime Workflow Designer makes it possible to set up Webhooks that automatically post with dynamic information when a subscribed event occurs. This is accomplished by including dynamic data in the query string of the URL as it is posted.

The OnTime API is available with OnTime Enterprise subscriptions and higher. Informative and instructional documents are available at www.OnTime360.com.

About Vesigo Studios

Vesigo Studios, provider of OnTime courier software, is a software development studio with a proven track record of building successful business solutions for our clients both large and small. Established in 2000, Vesigo offers years of software development and internet solutions experience. Vesigo always keeps pace with new technologies, creating solutions that boost productivity and make fiscal sense for our clients. For more information, visit www.ontime360.com.

Vesigo Studios Releases New Customer Web Portal Software for Couriers

Vesigo Studios, provider of OnTime courier software, has released new features and enhancements for the OnTime Customer Web Portal. This update underscores the company’s commitment to providing couriers the tools they need to maximize efficiency while satisfying their customers.

New customization options have been included in the OnTime Customer Web Portal. OnTime users may now choose to make basic or more advanced changes to their Customer Web Portal. Basic customizations include changes to the title, the addition of a tag line, and custom logo or graphic in each page’s header. Advanced customization replaces the need for FTP access to the Web Portal’s Master Page and CSS files by allowing for direct editing of these files.

Another addition allows invoices to now be viewed by customers via the OnTime Customer Web Portal. This feature is optional and can be turned on or off by OnTime administrative users. Invoices may be marked individually as available for customers to see online. The format and appearance of these invoices can be customized by uploading a standard and simplified invoice template to the OnTime Customer Web Portal.

In this update, the OnTime Customer Web Portal has been re-designed to be fully HTML 5 compliant and responsive for superior compatibility and performance on newer computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Additional API methods have been included with the enhancements to the OnTime Customer Web Portal. The OnTime API has been expanded to nearly double its previous size. The API documentation has been updated for reference.

“Simpler methods of customization and the ability to display invoices in the OnTime Customer Web Portal were common customer requests and we are excited to deliver both of these to our customers. I am excited to see opportunities like this where we can add features that enhance the customer service experience transportation companies can offer their clients,” says Jeremiah Tilley, Principal Software Architect at Vesigo Studios.

OnTime recognizes that its customers need to focus on their business without sacrificing the quality, efficiency, or security of their courier software. That’s why OnTime is regularly updated with additional features and enhancements. Find out more about OnTime courier software and the OnTime Customer Web Portal at www.ontime360.com.

About Vesigo Studios

Vesigo Studios, provider of OnTime courier software, is a software development studio with a proven track record of building successful business solutions for our clients both large and small. Established in 2000, Vesigo offers years of software development and internet solutions experience. Vesigo always keeps pace with new technologies, creating solutions that boost productivity and make fiscal sense for our clients. For more information, visit www.ontime360.com.

Help with Troubleshooting Networking and Internet Issues

Starting with version 2.3.903 of OnTime desktop applications, built-in network diagnostic tools will offer access to troubleshooting from within OnTime programs. The test in the utility will help to diagnose the source of any issues regarding network or internet connectivity. This information will also help Vesigo technical support personnel resolve connectivity issues.

If you suspect problems with your connection to the OnTime service, run this utility test, then contact Vesigo technical support with the details. Here’s how to run a network diagnostics test:

  1. Start OnTime Management Suite or OnTime Dispatch.
  2. Select the Help tab and choose Troubleshoot Network Problems.
  3. From the resulting window, click the Start Test button. The test may take a few minutes to complete.

How much can OnTime save you?

Since its release in 2006, OnTime has been ahead of the curve: running in the cloud since the beginning and continuously contributing to the improvement of that technology. OnTime can help most businesses quickly save dramatic amounts of money. To help put these savings into perspective, we’ve launched the OnTime Savings Calculator.

Answer a few basic questions to see how much OnTime can save your courier business.

Instant Notification Support

OnTime Mobile can instantly send and receive notifications regarding modifications made to order assignment and status. Instant updates eliminate the necessity for frequent synchronizations to access changes made in the system.

This new feature is fully integrated on devices with the Windows Mobile 5/6 operating system. If you are using a device with the Windows Mobile 2003 or 2003 SE operating system, notifications will appear but not be integrated into OnTime. Before attempting to use any new features, ensure that copies of OnTime Management Suite and OnTime Mobile are up-to-date.

The instant update feature may be implemented on a user-by-user basis, allowing you to only activate the feature for users that have compatible devices. To offer a user access to the feature, open the OnTime Management Suite and select the users section. Check the option to enable SMS text messaging notifications for the user and enter the SMS address for the user. Every carrier has a different setup for the SMS addresses, so if you are not sure of the appropriate SMS email address, contact the user's cell carrier. The address will usually be formatted like "6781231234@messaging.sprintpcs.com."

Note: Because these notifications are sent via text message, any fees for text messages on cellular plans will apply. One or two text messages are commonly sent per order. When planning text message volume, ensure that you are aware overage charges

Two additional approaches to mobile computing with OnTime

The vital link with your people in the field is accomplished through OnTime Mobile. In addition to OnTime Mobile Web’s rich HTML5 interface and native apps for smartphones, there are two other ways that driver data can be accessed in the field: The Windows Mobile 5/6 platform and WAP enabled devices.

Windows Mobile 5/6
A robust method of access is with a Windows Mobile 5, 6, or 6.5 enabled phone. These are also referred to as Pocket PC devices. You have access to a wide range of the data that may be needed in the field, such as customer and address lookup. Since the screens on these devices are larger, we can fit a lot more information on them at one time without having to scroll around. The largest advantage of the Pocket PC phones is that OnTime can run an offline database which allows the driver to fade in and out of cell service without ever missing a beat. Other features, such as the ability to capture digital signatures, are only available on the Pocket PC because of it's touch screen nature. Smart synchronization efficiently moves data back and forth in a way that conserves data bandwidth, a plus for those with data plans that are metered.

WAP Enabled Devices
Many other cell phones support wireless application protocol (WAP) to display web content. Even many "free" phones support this technology, so it is not difficult to make this available to your drivers. OnTime Mobile supports 10 different variations of WAP, which means that it will work and look its best on every device on the market today. You will get most of the same information as you see in the Pocket PC version, but there are some limitations. For instance, you will not have the ability to capture digital signatures since there will generally be no touch screen available. Another drawback is the need to be online all the time. Since WAP requires a constant internet connection, you will need at anytime you want to refresh data. So while the experience is not as comprehensive, it is an affordable, and in many cases, sufficient alternative to more expensive PDA phones.

Advanced Technologies in OnTime

Advancements in modern technology have dramatically altered the expectations of your customers; they have become accustomed to having real-time information at their fingertips. Further advancements are enabling carriers to manage their resources more efficiently than ever. If your company is not taking full advantage of the technology available today, significant business opportunities and profits may pass you by. 

The Internet is an integral part of any connected system. This communication channel enables real-time information about your entire operation to be accessible and affected by management, drivers, dispatchers, and customers. A connection to this information will help you to provide unparalleled services and benefits to current and potential customers, ensuring loyalty and continued growth.

Often, “web applications” are suggested as sources of reliable connectivity. A web application is, essentially, just a web page. While these applications have many advantages over traditional server based systems, many problems and limitations are also inherent. OnTime's Smart Clients employ superior technology to traditional server based systems and web applications. 

Our Smart Client Technology combines the productivity and performance of desktop applications with the real-time connectivity of the Internet.  The OnTime Dispatch and Management programs are not just web pages, but applications run on your local computer, thus providing a rich and responsive experience to users. At the same time, the OnTime programs automatically exchange real-time data via the Internet to other users, partners, and customers.

OnTime Smart Client technology offers incomparable reliability. If you temporarily lose your connection to the Internet, OnTime will gracefully fall into offline mode. While you may lose access to real-time updates for a short time, critical business functions will still be accessible.

We designed the OnTime Suite of applications to be suited to position-specific tasks and functions. Utilizing the capabilities of the Internet to its fullest, OnTime's Smart Client technology enables you to offer unparalleled service to your customers.

OnTime offers a smart way to help your company achieve virtually unlimited growth by utilizing advanced technological tools.

Use Terms that Fit Your Organization

Version 2 of OnTime has been adjusted to better fit the expectations of courier, shipping, and other businesses. Advanced, personal customization is an important component that helps users to become comfortable with the system. In OnTime version 2, nearly everything is customizable, including terminology. Common terms, like customers, are often referred to by different names in different organizations. Some may use the term shippers, some clients, while others simply use customers. Using the right term for your business will make the OnTime software comfortable for your users. To customize the terminology used by OnTime, follow these steps:

  1. Open OnTime Management Suite.
  2. Go to the Tools menu and choose General Options.
  3. Select the Terminology tab.
  4. We offer some common terms in this area; however, you are free to change the terminology to best fit your business.
  5. Click the OK button to save the changes and then perform a Synchronization. Everyone in your organization will start seeing your new terms appear throughout the OnTime applications.

Extend Route Stops Across Multiple Days

Starting with the release of version 2.3.301, route stops that span multiple days may be created within OnTime. In previous versions, OnTime allowed the pickup and delivery times for a route stop to be set, but because only times could be set, there was no way to set the number of days involved.

OnTime now offers the ability to set the number of days that a route stop should span. This flexible approach allows OnTime to calculate the amount of time between the latest pickup time and the latest delivery time, including the number of days. To continue using routes stops that are same-day, enter a zero in the days box. This value indicates that no days should elapse between the pickup and delivery times. To have one or more days elapse between the pickup and delivery times, enter that number of day(s) in the days box.

Welcome to the OnTime 360 Blog

Regular updates to the OnTime suite of programs continuously feed our users' demand for features that improve the efficiency of everyday tasks. We continue to implement features that allow carriers to take on different types of assignments, which helps to diversify the potential range of work. For some time, we have received requests to start posting information about these new features, ensuring that they are not missed. We will also take time to describe already existent features between releases.

As always, we look forward to hearing your feedback, sharing with our ever-expanding community, and implementing features that will further empower our courier software users.