Man looking at a tablet in his vehicle
Vehicles

Keeping Connected While Working On The Road

For professional drivers, the vehicle is the office, so ensuring it is always primed and ready to act as a high-performing workplace is essential.

By Shell on Sep. 15, 2020

In today’s busy times, managers and employees need to maintain clear lines of communication. So, for those working on the road, it’s important to know you can stay connected wherever your work takes you. What are the best options available today?

Smartphone connectivity

So much of our personal and business life uses our phone as the hub of activity, and with a modern head unit that supports Apple CarPlay or Android Auto it becomes simple to access your contacts, your entertainment and your real-time navigation services without lifting your hands off the steering wheel. Your smartphone can also be set to act as a personal Wi-Fi hotspot so that your other devices, including tablets and laptops, can always stay connected on the road. Don’t forget to check your phone’s plan includes enough data to keep up with your needs.

Fixed mobile hotspot

When you’re in and out of the vehicle constantly throughout the day, you might not want to deal with those repeated moments it takes to plug your smartphone back in or to wait for pairing to take place. In this case you can opt for a wireless hotspot device that can remain plugged into the vehicle. Every major network provider offers mobile broadband products that can be connected to power and used as an ‘always on’ Wi-Fi zone just like you’d experience at home. If your car has USB ports, there are even small USB hotspot devices that make it easier still to plug in and leave in place.

Embedded with OBD-II

The deepest integration of all is to purchase a connectivity device that fits your On Board Diagnostics (OBD-II) port, which is usually found under the dashboard (check the owner’s manual for the specific location). This set-up provides many other enhancements besides offering your devices a hotspot. OBD-II connectivity can also deliver remote GPS vehicle tracking for enhanced safety when travelling alone in remote areas, with vehicle diagnostic, fuel and telemetry data also available via diagnostic apps through your smartphone. Add a SIM-card to an OBD Wi-Fi hotspot device and you can run it on the data plan of your choice.

Tablet mounts

For full-time drivers, an additional option for enhancing your sense of connection on the road is to get a tablet and mount it in your vehicle. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto head units have limits to which apps are supported, and a mount for your smartphone can be difficult to use at a glance when you’re staying focused on the road ahead. A bigger screen tablet can be a great benefit for navigation, managing client databases or even just taking a video call with your family when you’re taking a break between jobs.

It’s important to remember, though, that mobile technology shouldn’t distract from your core task. Don’t touch your tablet or smartphone while driving – always keep your eyes on the road.

The future

Later this decade, a new generation of satellite internet will make mobile connectivity easier than ever. If it wasn't enough for Tesla’s Elon Musk to popularise the electric car, his Starlink company has been launching a constellation of satellites to deliver NBN-speed wireless internet from space.

When you look up at the stars on your next trip beyond the city lights, keep in mind there's already a wireless network being built to help you stay in touch wherever the road may take you.

Stay smart, stay safe, stay connected.

Disclaimer

Viva Energy Australia Pty Ltd (“Viva Energy”) has compiled the above article for your general information and to use as a general reference. Whilst all reasonable care has been taken by Viva Energy in compiling this article, Viva Energy does not warrant or represent that the information in the article is free from errors or omissions or is suitable for your intended use.

Where information, recommendations, opinions or ideas have been sourced from third parties external to Viva Energy (Third Party Information), Viva Energy cannot be certain that the Third Party Information is accurate, current or complete, nor should a mention of any business, product, service or website of a third party be taken as a recommendation, approval or endorsement of, or warranty or claim regarding, that business, product, service or website.