Joseph A. Basile
-Vice President of Hardware Solutions
Obsolesence and Technology
Wikipedia defines obsolescence as:
Obsolescence is the state of being which occurs when an object, service, or practice is no longer wanted even though it may still be in good working order; Obsolescence frequently occurs because a replacement has become available that has, in sum, more advantages compared to the disadvantages incurred by maintaining or repairing the original. Typically, obsolescence is preceded by a gradual decline in popularity.
Then there is technological obsolescence…
How many of us still have cassettes? Maybe even eight tracks? How many millennials even know what these are without googling them?
I will be the first to admit that I have about 350 movies on DVD, and probably an equal number of music CD’s. While there is nothing better than watching the Jason Bourne movies for the 100th time while lying on the couch for a lazy weekend, I do have to admit it has been about five years since I have fired up my CD player (that holds 125 CD’s)(though I refuse to give them up) and I have had the Bohemian Rhapsody CD in my truck for over ten years.
Adapting Fleet Technology to Modern Demands
To turn this a tad towards fleet – what percent of your fleet still has a carburetor? Do you remember pagers? How many of you remember the first cell phone in 1973?
This brings us around to technology on the AssetWorks FuelFocus system. See the timeline below:
As you can see from the chart above, the standard RF Vehicle ID Box has been around since 1987 – over thirty years! While there are still arguments overseas as to whom brought this technology to market first, and based on how much technology has changed in the last thirty years – this is quite impressive. AssetWorks has stayed up on technology changes due to market demand – such as the advent of canbus and OBD data that came to fruition in 2006 and again in 2015 with the new FJ3 design that compliments our real-time telematics offerings from select partners to providing the ability to have Passive GPS and Driver Behavior functionality.
As technological obsolescence has pushed us towards change in operating systems in our Island Controllers, and XP has not been supported since 2014, our controllers utilize a XP embedded image – thus while upgrades to the operating system are not needed, the CPU’s that now run XP are obsolete. As many of you are aware, we have offered some impressive pricing on Win7 upgrades for the last several years for a complete Controller head replacement. This new head comes with a new CPU (that is Win10 ready), larger power supply and all new boards throughout – which means you have a new one year parts warranty. This is also a good time to possibly upgrade from manual entry to RFID capable Island Controllers. To all the skeptics that have resisted RFID on vehicles for automatic mileage capture and other telematics information – thirty two years clearly demonstrates that this technology is here to stay and that it offers many enhancements to manual entry in data integrity, frequency of meter reading updates and secure fueling.
Please also start planning for the EOL (end of life) for our thirty-two year old standard RF Vehicle ID Boxes (that is 224 dog years for our pet-lovers out there). This device has a very limited CPU and memory (it is old) and parts are heading towards extinction. Also, with all the changes and additional canbus information becoming available, we have started running into memory issues with these devices being able to handle all the codes available in their internal memory – forcing some clients to have special units for just certain class vehicles.
We are currently setting up special pricing to all of our existing clients using this technology to jump to the FJ3 platform of RF Vehicle ID Box, as all new clients in the last few years have only been getting this technology. While we feel we can hold out on setting an exact date for EOL for this product for approximately two more years with current parts availability – it too must be planned for. For existing RF Vehicle ID boxes, it will require a Win7 upgrade if you have not done so already, a new RFU board, an additional WAF antenna to be installed and new nozzle tags that can read both old technology (918-924Mhz) and new FJ3 RF Technology (2.4Ghz). We currently have dual systems operating at two different clients with no issues. Please note that our systems will continue to have the capability to read these older RF Vehicle ID boxes – however as your fleet matures and you need to purchase additional units – there will come the time when you will be forced to jump to the FJ3 platform – so maybe an impending End of Availability is a better term than End of Life…
If you want to discuss further, reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the form below sometime before I become obsolete!