Fourth, and for now last (hurray I hear you cry), post in the Pet Transport Behind The Scenes series, as this time we detail the Technology used in the preparation and deliver of our scheduled Pet Transports between the UK and Spain.
Last but my no means least ……
I should probably declare upfront that I have a ‘bit’ of a technology background: MSc in Information Systems Design and Management, first job with the UK technology ‘giant’ ICL (International Computers Limited) and a bit of experience with technology based start ups in the 90’s and 00’s.
That said I am far from being a geek, and my interest is not in ‘technology for technology’ sake, but in the relevant application of technology to enhance and improve day to day life, business processes, end user experiences and the quality of service delivered to to the customer.
Our use of technology starts here, with the blog: ALL the information you need is on the site (it is honest, just grab a coffee or strong drink and take a read), and our booking forms are on line, as are the pre transport page (with all the informatin relevant to your pets transport), and the tracking page, where you can track the journey in real time, see the schedule and receive updates throughout the pets transport. For those so inclined the above are provided via WordPress, Twitter, Gravity Forms and Real Time GPS Tracker.
(I designed, wrote, updated and maintain the blog so 100% you can blame me!)
In the front of the van we have the following:
Samsung S9+ Dual Sim Phone: this has both my UK and Spain SIM cards, the tracking software and a back up Tom Tom application as well as music, Internet access etc etc (Hands Free of course)
Samsung Tablet: which has a back up UK SIM for Internet access and phone, so we have a back up for the Tracker as well as a second device to update the tracking page.
TomTom Go6000: which is simply brilliant. I like a separate Tom Tom as it’s good to be able to connect to computer and update before a journey, and I like to set the whole schedule up as a route before we set off so no delays while we enter the next location. A great feature is that as this Tom Tom account is linked to the Tom Tom all on my S9+ I have the route and locations backed up to my phone at all times.
iPod: plays music. Arguably not great music but as with so much in my life and certainly with the pet transports, if it works stick to it so Bruce, Zepplin, Queen, Floyd have been excellent companions over the last 8 years and will continue to be for many more to come.
Garmin DashCam: lovely bit of kit, I like the security that pretty much the whole journey is recorded, and wehen we come across a view or incdent that want to capture it’s so very easy.
Beeline: really meant for Mountain Bikes it’s a simple navigational devide which points you in the direction you need to go (as the crow flys). I like it is towns when we get diverted or the GPS signal week so we still have an indication of the direction we need to be heading in.
HTC Phone: an old phone which serves two roles – it is a compass so we always have a good idea of where we heading and it has the Video Camera application on so we can see what is going on in the back.
Temp Gauge: Digital, records the temperature in both the front and rear of the van, and powered by a separate Lesiure Battery.
Powered Cool Bag: to keep all the Food cool! Oh yes, we also have a gadget to warm food up but to be honest it’s not great and hardly used.
In the rear of the van we have the following:
Second Cooling Fan: the van has a/c and the grill between the front and rear allows the air through so we heat/cool accordingly and monitor via the Temp Gauge (Above). We have a second fan connected to the Leisure Battery as a back up.
Powered Cool Box: for our food, ham for the pets on board, and any pet meds we are required to carry.
USB Light: a separate USB light, again powered by the Leisure Battery.
VanCam: a video camera streaming live into the front of the van.
You may have noticed two words repeated a lot …. Back Up. If you going to use and rely on technology you need a back up, and we have at least two of everything on board in terms of technology.