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4 Ways Mobile Phones Have Transformed Delivery and What's Next

Delivery driver uses smartphone for order tracking

It was immediately clear in the early-2000s that the rise of modern-day smartphones would have a significant impact on the courier/delivery industry.

Almost 20 years later, we’ve had the chance to see how delivery companies integrated mobile technology into their workflow. It takes time for each new innovation in technology to become more accessible, but soon it’s a standard offering in the industry.

This process hasn’t slowed down; new technologies and systems are constantly being developed, and there’s value in keeping up. But more on that later.

There have been four major innovations in mobile technology that have changed the logistics industry.

Collecting Signatures

June of 2000 marked the creation of the ESIGN Act, which ensured the validity of electronic signatures.

Today, all that's needed to do signature capture is a smartphone and the right app.

One advantage to using the OnTime Mobile app for signature capture is its close integration with OnTime’s desktop applications. You can give your customers easy access to signature proof of delivery through our customer web portal.

GPS Tracking

The next innovation that came along changed the industry forever—mobile GPS tracking. GPS tracking was first successfully integrated onto mobile phones in 2004. This technology can help both dispatch and drivers: it allows dispatch to assist drivers if they get lost or need to be rerouted, and it helps drivers with navigation.

OnTime’s GPS connectivity transmits drivers’ positions back to dispatch throughout the day. It’s even possible to customize settings to save the battery life of drivers’ devices.

Barcode Scanning

Thanks to advancements in mobile data capture technology, almost all smartphones designed after the late-2000s are able to decode barcodes using their built-in cameras.

In the years since, many last mile delivery businesses realized that mobile scanners are able to match the performance and reliability of dedicated scanners—while also introducing some distinct advantages.

Mobile barcode scanning was added to the OnTime Mobile app in 2006. Drivers can scan the barcode unique to each delivery. The OnTime Mobile app also makes it possible to quickly pull up orders and view directions simply by scanning a barcode.

Photo Proof of Delivery

Gone are the days of towering filing cabinets, paper trails, and uncertainty regarding product delivery status.

Drivers can now include a picture of the person or location delivered to, the package in-transit, or the intact package upon receipt. With OnTime’s solution, these photos are attached to the order, allowing dispatch to see the relevant information, no longer sorting through hundreds of photos to find the right order.

There have been many other innovations in mobile technology that we haven’t mentioned, including offline synchronization, encrypted security, and more.

There’s no reason to suspect that this rate of innovation will change any time in the near future. New technology will come along and logistics companies will have to adapt.

That’s easier said than done though. Finding the time to keep up with new technology is a difficult ask for most businesses, which is why it’s so important to find a software solution that is updated regularly.

15 years ago, OnTime was launched as the very first cloud-based courier software. We’ve seen how mobile technology revolutionized the industry, and we’ve worked to stay on the cutting edge. So when you partner with OnTime, you can be confident that you’ll be kept up-to-date with whatever new technology arrives next.

Ready to get started? Try a free demo.

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