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Omnitracs fleet tracking review
8:20 pm | May 27, 2020

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

Omnitracs is probably one of the oldest fleet management and GPS fleet tracking solution providers. It was established in 1998 by Qualcomm, one of the world's largest chipmakers. Since then, it has grown to manage over 1.25 million assets. The company has a global presence, with operations in over 50 countries and over 13,000 fleet clients who use its solution, creating over 500,000 routes each week.

Omnitracs provides a SaaS-based fleet management solution that aims to improve fleet reliability, routing, safety, productivity, and compliance. In addition to its long history of innovation in technology and fleet management, Omnitracs was also named one of the "Top 50 Companies for Women to Work for in Transportation."

Omnitracs: Pricing

Like many other leading fleet management companies, Omnitracs does not publish pricing and contract details online. This is likely due to the large number of additional services that they offer, which can vary in price and length of contract depending on the specific needs of the customer. In other words, the company offers a wide range of customization options, which they think can only be priced out with company contact. This can be done via a phone call, or through a contact portal as the only options.

The contract terms are monthly or annual, and in some cases longer. To get clarity on the term and minimum number of vehicles required for your business, you should contact sales. They will also answer questions about the free demo and the company's money-back guarantee. However, this information should ideally be available on the website.

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Omnitracs: Features

Omnitracs, which has been in business for over three decades, provides one of the most comprehensive solutions for enterprise-grade vehicle tracking and fleet management. This solution is highly customizable and adaptable to your specific needs.

Omnitracs is a fleet management solution that can be customized to meet the needs of fleets of all sizes. However, some online reviews indicate that the company does not support fleets with fewer than five vehicles, making Omnitracs unsuitable for these very small fleets.

The software is customizable and has a tailored dashboard that allows operators to perform all the basic functions you would expect, such as fuel consumption management, route optimization, and driver safety, all with the help of an intuitive interface.

The system provides a variety of reports, including a driver report card, vehicle health and maintenance, driving behavior, fuel performance, and more. These reports provide businesses with a 360-degree view of their fleet's status and driver performance. This allows for timely coaching for drivers who need it and incentives for drivers with better performance.

Omnitracs offers a wide range of services and features, but its solution can be divided into three main products:

Omnitracs RDC (Routing, Dispatching and Compliance): Omnitracs RDC is a platform that helps fleet operators manage all aspects of their fleet, from route planning and real-time monitoring to compliance and driver behavior. The platform uses mobile devices and backend software to provide a range of features, including route creation from orders, dispatch to mobile devices, vehicle inspection and duty status collection, and more.

The Omnitracs RDC's route optimization feature automatically calculates the most efficient route for a journey, saving businesses time and fuel while meeting customer needs. 

This dynamic system enables operators or admins to monitor the live status of the vehicle and allows them to make changes to the route if necessary. The two-way communication between drivers and the admin allows them to exchange important information such as route changes, delivery confirmation, and so forth.

Omnitracs RDC also offers compliance benefits, such as Hours of Service (HoS), IFTA fuel tax, and ELD compliance. It also provides assistance to drivers during roadside inspections by allowing them to access important reports, such as driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIR), at any time. 

 

Some key features of the RDC are:

  • A relay telematics device that is simple to set up.
  • Connection is made easy by integration with major ERPs.
  • The management of the flow of information, the distribution of tasks, and the conformity with other internal systems.
  • Tools for business analytics and intelligent reporting.
  • Shows the day's route, including real-time GPS pings.
  • See route timelines with adjustable exceptions, such as missed delivery time windows.

Omnitracs XRS:  Omnitracs acquires XRS Corporation in 2014, adding mobile capabilities to its core system. The Omnitracs XRS automatically sends diagnostic, positioning, and log data via a small plug-and-play device connected to the vehicle. The data also includes compliance-related information such as HoS, IFTA, and DVIR.

Omnitracs IVG (Intelligent Vehicle Gateway): The Omnitracs IVG improves driver productivity and satisfaction by keeping up with regulatory policy changes and regularly updating data even without cellular coverage. As it is focused on compliance, the hardware must be physically connected to the vehicle.

The hardwired device's display makes it simple for drivers to follow their assigned route, and it also allows them to indicate their availability for work. This technology also allows for real-time monitoring of compliance.

(Image credit: Omnitracs)

Omnitracs: Support

Omnitracs has acquired quite a few businesses during its long run as a successful enterprise, and it has dedicated helplines to cater to its customers. These help desks can be reached via email or phone every day of the year on a 24/7 basis, although looking further they are only available for critical issues after hours and on holidays.

The company also hosts webinars and has a number of ebooks, white papers, and case studies uploaded on its website. Omnitracs has a YouTube channel, but it is not very active, with the last video having been published three years ago. However, its Facebook page is quite active, although its last Twitter post was from last year. 

Omnitracs: Final verdict

To sum up, Omnitracs provides a simple and user-friendly web interface that is independent of the operating system and can be used on any connected device. It also offers a wide range of services that can be customized to meet your specific business needs. However, the Better Business Bureau has rated Omnitracs as an 'F' which is pretty concerning. It only gets one star, and has 6 complaints closed in the last 12 months.

Further reading

RusVPN review
11:53 pm | May 26, 2020

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro Security | Tags: | Comments: Off

RusVPN is no longer trading under that name and has since rebranded to Planet VPN. This review was accurate at the time of review, but no longer applies to the rebranded service.

RusVPN ('Reliable. Unlimited. Secure') is a small  VPN which might look a little ordinary at first glance, but according to the website, performs better than you'd expect in several areas.

The network has a relatively small 338 servers, for instance, but they're well distributed across 37 countries.

There's much better news on the app front, with custom software for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS, Chrome and Firefox browser extensions, direct support for Linux and routers, and OpenVPN compatibility to cover you everywhere else.

Unlike many competitors, RusVPN doesn't just make vague promises about its website unblocking abilities, and instead lists a host of sites where it claims to work: Netflix, Spotify, Facebook, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Twitter, Wikipedia, Google, Amazon Instant Video, HBO GO, CBC, NBC, LinkedIn, VKontakte, Instagram, Reddit, and more.

Prices are fair, and range from $9.99 billed monthly to $4.99 over one year, $2.99 over three. You can find cheaper deals around - Surfshark's two-year plan is just $1.99 a month - but generally RusVPN looks like good value to us.

Payments are accepted via card, PayPal, Bitcoin and more. There's no general trial, but you do get the usual 7 days to try out the mobile apps. In theory you're also protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee, the small print reveals this is almost worthless, as you won't qualify if you've transferred more than a tiny 500MB of data.

Privacy and logging

RusVPN's logging policy page states emphatically that 'We DO NOT Keep Any Logs of VPN Usage', going to explain:

'RusVPN is based outside 5-eye, 9-eye and 14-eye country list and have no obligation to store user activity logs, connection timestamps, IP-addresses or any other connection data. When you use RusVPN you can be sure that your privacy is 100% protected.'

Well, okay, although having 'no obligation' to log activity isn't an indicator that you're not doing it.

The privacy policy has a little more information in the following paragraph:

'We run a non-permanent connection log to solve technical problems including random name generation and internal IP address assignment (private IP address) which are reliably removed every few hours. We strictly and purposefully do not write down any information to mitigate our legal liability. We do not monitor the activity of your browser and do not record any records. It is simply impossible with our internal interface. All data about the use of the service is anonymous and is not tied to your real, public IP address.'

While this seems to contain some good news (any logs are regularly detailed, actions can't be tied to your real address), it's lacking in technical detail with some odd elements ('we don't write anything down'?), and doesn't leave us feeling we completely understand how RusVPN really works. That might be a translation issue, but whatever the cause, we're like more clarity in RusVPN's descriptions.

The company could also reassure potential customers by following ExpressVPN, NordVPN and others in putting its systems through an independent security or privacy audit, but there's no sign of that happening just yet. Until then, we just have to trust that RusVPN is living up to its promises.

Setup

Setting up a RusVPN account proved trickier than we expected. We paid via PayPal, an email receipt arrived immediately, but no 'welcome' email with details of our account. There was no 'resend confirmation email' button, so we waited several hours, but nothing happened.

RusVPN doesn't have live chat, but we sent a message via a web form asking what was happening. Hours went by without a response. We sent an email, still no response into the next day. RusVPN doesn't send an automatic 'thanks, we'll reply soon' acknowledgement to messages, either, so we couldn't even be sure that our questions had been received.

We tried again, this time paying using an existing account and were able to get access immediately.

Maybe this wasn't entirely RusVPN's fault; maybe there was some temporary email or other issue which prevented it responding to our queries. There's no way we can know for sure.

It certainly is RusVPN's fault that it has no option to resend a confirmation email, though, and that it doesn't offer live chat support, and that its email and web form support system doesn't send any automated reply to reassure customers that their messages have been received.

Platforms

RusVPN offers native clients for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS (Image credit: RusVPN)

Apps

Once we'd finally got a working account, the RusVPN website redirected us to a download page with links for the Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS apps, along with the Chrome and Firefox extensions.

SmartScreen

Windows Defender warned that RusVPN's installer was 'unrecognized', and asked us to confirm we wanted to launch it (Image credit: Microsoft)

We grabbed the Windows build, but were surprised to find Microsoft Defender SmartScreen stepping in to block RusVPN's installer when we launched it, warning that it was an 'unrecognized app.' That doesn't mean it's harmful, SmartScreen just hasn't seen it very often, although users might be less likely to see these warnings if RusVPN digitally signed its installers, like almost everyone else.

Windows Client

RusVPN's Windows client features a simple user interface that is similar to other VPN apps (Image credit: RusVPN)

The Windows client interface has a simple interface, and works much the same as other VPN apps. Your current location and IP address are clearly displayed, alternative locations are available on a list and you can connect with a click.

Locations

RusVPN has 338 servers distributed across 37 countries (Image credit: RusVPN)

The client recommended Canada as our default server, maybe not the best choice for a user in the UK. This wasn't quite as bad as it seems - the Recommended list also included servers in the UK and Netherlands, but as it was sorted alphabetically, Canada came top - but we're still struggling to see why Canada was in our list at all.

Settings

RusVPN’s Windows client supports OpenVPN, L2TP and even the insecure PPTP, but you can’t choose your preference in the Settings box—the client decides. (Image credit: RusVPN)

Settings are even more basic than we saw in our last review, little more than an autostart option and the ability to enable or disable a kill switch.

The client appears to support OpenVPN, L2TP and PPTP protocols, but it doesn’t allow you to choose your preferred option — it makes that decision itself.

We don’t know how it figures this out, but there doesn’t seem to be much intelligence involved. During our review, it never selected the best protocol, OpenVPN, mostly going for L2TP (still a fair choice), but occasionally picking PPTP, such an outdated and insecure option that the best VPNs dropped it long ago.

That's not the end of the story. We checked the L2TP and PPTP settings, and found even these weren't as secure as they should be.

The first problem is the connection doesn't attempt to replace our existing DNS servers, ensuring we failed our DNS leak tests later.

Encryption

RusVPN's Windows client doesn't just use the outdated PPTP protocol, it sets it up with encryption as only 'optional' (Image credit: RusVPN)

Even more seriously, our connections had encryption set as 'Optional' - the client should connect even if there's no encryption. That doesn't mean it'll ever happen (it depends on the server) but it's still a concern.

There are some easy ways around this. You could just set up the open source OpenVPN Connect to connect via OpenVPN, for instance, and never have to use PPTP at all. That's not something the average user is likely to think about, though, and 'we know our software is rubbish, but you can always use something else' isn't much of a RusVPN defense.

Moving away from our protocol problems, we ran a final quick test on how the client handled dropped VPN connections, and discovered more issues.

Kill Switch

The kill switch was so effective that it even blocked RusVPN's own app (Image credit: RusVPN)

First, if the kill switch is off and the connection drops, the client updates its window but doesn't raise any desktop notification. If it's minimized or covered by another window, there's no way for you to know that your internet access is now unprotected.

Second, when the kill switch does kick in, it affects the client, too. We found our internet access was blocked, closed and restarted the client, and it prompted us to log in. Why? We don't know, but when we tried, it complained 'connection failed - check network connection.' 

Our problems continued, as turning the kill switch off didn't restore our internet access, and neither did closing the client, or rebooting the system. We had to use system restore before we could get online again.

Although this was very bad news for us, we've no reason to believe it would ever happen to the vast majority of users, as they almost certainly won't be stress-testing the client by presenting it with some extreme situations.

Most VPN apps handle our tests much better, though, and this is yet another example of how the client isn't working as it should. We're left wondering what other problems might RusVPN have missed.

Android App

The Android app is quite similar to its Windows counterpart (Image credit: RusVPN)

Checking the Android app revealed no great surprises: the interface is much the same and there are no extra settings. There's a small bonus in that Android's system kill switch shouldn't disable your device in the same way the Windows client trashed ours, though, and the app is likely to be safer and more reliable than its desktop cousin.

Performance

RusVPN was slow in connecting from our test Windows system, often taking more than 20 seconds to establish the tunnel. The Android app was faster at around 10 seconds, but top VPNs are usually quicker still (some get online within 2-5 seconds.)

Given RusVPN's poor performance so far, we weren't expecting much from our unblocking tests, despite its claims to unblock just about every platform around. But then we tried the service with a few sites, and although it failed to unblock BBC iPlayer, RusVPN successfully unblocked US Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and even Disney+.

SpeedTest.net

We use a number of different speed tests to determine the performance of each VPN we review (Image credit: Ookla)

Our performance checks began on a positive note, too, with UK speeds reaching 62-66Mbps on our 75Mbps test connection. The best of the competition might scrape 2-4Mbps more, but we're not about to complain.

US speeds hit a relatively poor 30-60Mps, but the exact results you'll see will vary depending on your location and preferred server. If you're interested, use the free trial with the mobile apps to see how the RusVPN performs for you.

Final verdict

RusVPN has many of the ingredients of a good VPN - loads of apps, easy to use, excellent website unblocking, fair price - but a host of fundamental issues and problems make it difficult to trust, at least right now.

GreenRoad fleet management review
5:13 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

GreenRoad is a global fleet management company that was founded in 2004 to help businesses manage their fleets, improve driver safety, optimize costs, and reduce overall risk. The company currently operates in the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia. It counts amongst its clients Chevron, Costa Express and Kelsian.

GreenRoad, a company that provides driver safety solutions, claims to have monitored over 10 billion miles in 70 countries. Its solution is currently being used by various companies to monitor over 120,000 drivers. The company aims to minimize operational costs, reduce risks, and improve driver safety while maintaining a strong emphasis on following regulatory and compliance guidelines.

GreenRoad: Price

GreenRoad does not disclose its pricing or other contract details on its website, unlike most other telematics and fleet management companies. Instead, it prefers customers to contact the company directly for a quote. This is not the most transparent approach, as most fleet management companies are upfront about the total cost, contract terms, minimum number of vehicles, and number of users.

GreenRoad asserts that businesses can reduce fleet costs by deploying its solution, which helps improve driver performance and results in a positive return on investment within the first three months. According to the company, this claim is based on feedback from existing customers, who have reported that the system has helped them reduce crash-related costs by 50-70%, fuel expenses by around 30%, and maintenance costs by approximately 10%. These savings help to recoup the initial investment.

GreenRoad focuses on improving driver behavior and reducing fuel consumption, as research shows that negative driving behavior contributes to over 90% of vehicle crashes and accounts for up to 33% of fuel consumption. GreenRoad does this through a process-driven approach that reduces risk exposure and costs.

That said, if you want to compare its services and costs with rivals, you can fill out an online form and wait for a response.

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GreenRoad: Features

GreenRoad's cloud-based telematics and fleet management solution helps drivers improve their performance and encourages them to drive more fuel-efficiently. Unlike most other fleet management companies, GreenRoad focuses on driver safety and performance improvement in order to help organizations achieve their overall goals.

GreenRoad Central is a cloud-based centralized monitoring solution that offers real-time fleet tracking, trip history, dispatching, landmarks and geo-fencing, vehicle health, fuel performance, idling hotspots, compliance management, and operations management. It also has a mobile app that allows drivers to log their details remotely; we found it in the Google Play Store but it only gets 2.5 out of 5 stars.

GreenRoad’s services are best suited for industries like:

  • Construction 
  • Utilities 
  • Transport and logistics 
  • Field services 
  • Food and beverages
  • Bus and coach operators
  • Telecommunications

GreenRoad's solution can be scaled to fleets of 25 to 10,000 or more vehicles, and it supports a wide range of vehicle types, including vans and cars, buses and coaches, mid-sized, large, and big-rig trucks, as well as service and construction vehicles.

The company claims that it uses patented algorithms to analyze data from accelerometer and GPS hardware to track and monitor driving behavior. This allows operators to provide real-time feedback to drivers. The system automatically highlights incidents to decision-makers based on their severity, classifying them as yellow or red.

Its core features are as follows: 

Driver safety: As previously stated, GreenRoad's solution focuses on ensuring the driver's well-being, lowering their risks, and keeping them engaged. It is a fleet app that uses telematics solutions to provide real-time feedback to both the driver and the operator by assessing driving behavior. These assessments are cumulatively used to create the driver's scorecard.

GreenRoad promotes driver safety in a unique way by effectively communicating with drivers about their own performance behind the wheel. It incentivizes drivers with rewards based on their performance, which motivates them to improve their metrics. This directly helps the organization save on fuel and other costs. In-vehicle video, safety hotspots, and instant driving tips are some of the other features that the company uses to motivate drivers to perform better and ensure their safety.

Operational efficiency: The company's efficient vehicle tracking and management options include features like live tracking and resource location, idling hotspots, route display and tracking history, vehicle health and service management, fuel and idling optimization and various reports. Features like geo-fencing and real-time alerts assure the safety of the vehicle as well as allowing management to focus on important tasks rather than worrying about the location and the status of their vehicles.

Compliance: GreenRoad’s solution offers various reports that help businesses stay compliant with regulatory policies. The solution integrates fuel cards, tax and fuel regulations, expense management, and fleet document management. These features leverage data already available and ensure that it is correctly logged into the system. This not only ensures that compliance requirements are met, but it also guarantees that time and money are not wasted in handling issues related to compliance.

GreenRoad 5

(Image credit: GreenRoad)

GreenRoad: Support

GreenRoad's customer service team can be contacted through online chat or an online portal, but there is no dedicated helpline number listed on the website. Drivers can get support by contacting their local manager, also known as a GreenRoad Champion. Self-help options could be improved, as there is only a FAQ available, but no webinars, blog, ebooks, or video content. Finally, GreenRoad has the expected social media channels, but both Twitter and Facebook feeds do not get regular content, as they were both last updated in 2022.

GreenRoad: Final verdict

GreenRoad's focus on driver safety and well-being sets it apart from the many other GPS tracking companies. It offers a wide range of features that can help businesses save money and better manage their fleets. Unfortunately, the company is not listed on the Better Business Bureau, but user reviews on other online platforms are mostly positive. However, it is always a good idea to test the features you need most with a demo.

More on fleet management:

GPSWOX review
1:25 pm | May 21, 2020

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

GPSWOX is a global fleet management company that provides GPS fleet tracking and fleet management solutions  for both businesses and consumers. The company was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in London, UK. 

The company has customers in over 120 countries across the globe, and provides GPS tracking services for a wide range of moving assets like cargo, trucks, or delivery vans, through to consumer products like boats, bikes and so forth. 

The company's main offering is a simple yet effective vehicle tracking software that works with almost any GPS tracker on the market, giving businesses the freedom to use the hardware they already own. The software provides precise vehicle location monitoring, efficient management functions such as fleet dispatch and fleet monitoring, and helps ensure the safety of drivers and vehicles, thus optimizing the costs associated with running and managing a commercial fleet.

Unlike its competitors, GPSWOX provides white-label cloud-based vehicle tracking software that can be used to set up a vehicle tracking business anywhere in the world.

(Image credit: GPSWOX)

GPSWOX: Pricing

GPSWOX's pricing structure allows you to pick the add-ons that best meet your business needs. Because the company does not sell its own hardware, it only charges you for its software. There are trackers available for purchase on the site starting at $69. 

For starters, GPSWOX offers a 100% money back guarantee for assessing the service yourself, and also a 30-day free trial. This is currently available starting at $99 per month and is valid for unlimited users allowing them to track up to 100 assets. This can go on up to 500 objects for $199 per month, and also 1000 objects for $290 per month. There is also an option for a lifetime subscription for a currently discounted single payment of $3990. The software is hosted on GPSWOX’s servers.

Small businesses or individuals can also choose a smaller plan. To track a single object, the Lite plan is an affordable $2.99 per month, but needs to be paid annually. There is also the Basic plan that can track up to 5 objects, at $9.97 per month, also paid annually. Finally, the Pro plan can track up to 50 objects, at a cost of $49/month, but this can be paid monthly.

Unlike other companies, tracking vehicles on mobile is an added cost here. The Android fleet tracking app costs an additional $49 a month while the iOS app is available at an extra $84 a month. However, once subscribed, both the apps are available for unlimited users. Furthermore, users are required to subscribe to Google Maps for an additional $9/month.

The company offers an additional discount for paying upfront for three, six or twelve months; these benefits can be bagged on checkout. Overall, while at least the pricing is more transparent than most, we wish that this section of this company’s website was easier to navigate.

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GPSWOX: Features

GPSWOX is one of a few select cost-effective fleet management solutions that is available globally. It focuses organizations on optimizing fuel costs, safeguarding their fleets, and managing their employees. 

It meets the tracking needs of small, medium, and large fleets in the automotive, healthcare, transportation/logistics, retail, government and defense, hospitality sectors, and also individual and family users.

With just a few clicks, the software provides precise information and is simple to use. The software has received numerous awards for its usefulness, with the company boasting this satisfaction.

GPSWOX intends to provide a solution that can be used by enterprises with different fleet sizes by offering transparent pricing that is free of any contract obligations. The business offers comparable features for all tiers, adhering to the one-size-fits-all philosophy. It does, however, offer alternative add-ons to customize the final product to meet the needs of the organization.

Some of the key features of GPSWOX’s solution are:

Real-time tracking: Although this is a fundamental function that many tracking solutions provide, GPSWOX allows you to track practically every asset in real time, including cars, phones, people, bikes, etc. To gather more information such as speed, fuel consumption, address, journey history, and more, it provides three alternative options, namely Google Maps, Satellite, and OSM.

Notifications and alerts: Instant warnings and notifications are provided by GPSWOX in response to events such as a vehicle entering or leaving a geo-zone, speeding, unexpected stops, and even the theft of a vehicle.

Reports: By date and GPS tracker name, GPSWOX provides a variety of downloadable reports that include driving time, rest stops, mileage, fuel usage, and more. Additionally, downloading comprehensive and group reports is an option.

Fuel savings: Businesses can keep gasoline costs under control with the help of real-time fuel use data and the ability to check fuel levels at any time. Rapid acceleration, speeding, and braking are three aggressive driving habits that directly affect fuel consumption. Timely alerts and reports on these behaviors can be a useful tool. This monitoring of gasoline use can reduce fuel use by 5% to 15% and is a useful tool for preventing drivers from engaging in any possible fraud.

Geofencing: With the help of this function, enterprises can limit the geographic range of their assets' mobility. As soon as a vehicle leaves or enters the geo-fenced area, administrators are notified.

Numerous awards have been given to GPSWOX's software for providing excellent user experiences. It won the Expert's Choice by FinancesOnline Award, the Supreme Software Award, and the Great User Experience Certificate.

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GPSWOX: Support

Since GPSWOX’s software is available globally, it offers support across different regions. The technical helpdesk can be reached 24/7 via email while general inquiries are available on all days from 9am to 9pm (GMT+2) through email as well. Users can also book a free call by filling in a contact form though it may take up to 24 hours depending on the query. Sales is also reached via email, and is available 7 days a week, from 9am to 9pm (GMT+2).

In case a customer needs assistance, the business also makes FAQs, user guides, and videos available on its website. Although GPSWOX has a large number of videos on its YouTube account, we were sad to learn that the channel is not frequently updated with new videos because the most recent one was posted more than two years ago.

GPSWOX: Final verdict

GPSWOX is an intuitive cloud-based fleet management solution. It can be the perfect solution for businesses with international operations due to its straightforward pricing structure along with a global presence. Users who already own tracking devices but require a comprehensive fleet management solution to track their fleet will find it convenient as it syncs with the majority of telematics systems and allows you to use your existing hardware.

Also see:

Everything you need to know about fleet management

How does fleet management work?

Fleet management software vs telematics

Best dashcams for fleets

Tresorit cloud storage review
10:49 am |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

Swiss-based Tresorit focuses on two key aspects with one of the best cloud storage services: security and simplicity. It sits on your computers and your mobile devices, syncing files to and from the cloud, and enabling you to share files and folders with other people when needed.

It's a lot like services such as Dropbox or SugarSync in the way that it operates. But its clean user interface and emphasis on keeping your files protected (it offers end-to-end encryption everywhere, for instance) make it worth considering whatever your requirements. 

Tresorit: Pricing & plans 

Tresorit offers a basic free plan - you get 5GB storage space, which isn’t much, but it’s on par with some of the best free cloud storage providers, including Microsoft OneDrive and Apple iCloud Drive. However, this account limits you to a 500MB file size, which is quite restrictive, but an expected trade-off for zero-cost. 

Tresorit has pricing both for individuals and for teams as well as a free offering called Basic with 5GB storage. For the full cloud storage, after a 14-day free trial, you'll need to pay $13.99 a month for 1TB of storage or $33.99 a month for 4TB.

On the business side, your options are $18 per user per month for 1TB each or $24 per user per month for 2TB. Both plans require a minimum of three users. 

For larger organizations with at least 50 users, Enterprise plans are customizable, with a scalable amount of storage depending on the company’s needs. You'll need to contact Tresorit directly for a bespoke quote. 

Business users can also add end-to-end email encryption for emails using the Tresorit tool for the desktop version of Microsoft Outlook - on Windows only. This costs $7.50 per user per month on top of any of the three business subscriptions. It's not clear what this add-on would do that free email encryption tools for Outlook like GpG4win couldn't but we encourage you to do your own research if you want this feature. 

All tiers of membership, including the email encryption add-on, can be paid annually for a discount of approximately 20%, with a slightly smaller discount for the entry-level Personal plan. 

Naturally, this represents the best value for prospective Tresorit users, and while business pricing is reasonable, we find the personal plans to be on the pricey side. The 1TB Personal plan, for example, costs more than the 2TB available from iCloud Drive and other big names.

(Image credit: Tresorit)

Tresorit: Interface

The interface sported by the various Tresorit apps is certainly one of the strong points of the service. The apps are clean, fresh, and modern-looking, and you won't have any problems finding your way around them. The guided tour that you get when you first open up the client apps certainly helps.

We originally tested Tresorit on macOS and found most of the functionality could be controlled through the desktop client, including file activity, sharing and integrations, however the ability to also embed Tresorit into the native file manager system - Finder - was really appreciated, helping to create a seamless experience with which users are already familiar.

For our most recent test on our Windows 11 virtual machine, the client app created a virtual mounted volume, with the drive letter 'T' appropriately enough. You can then place files in your Root Tresor or upload them via the desktop client itself. 

The mobile apps are perhaps even more intuitive to use than the desktop programs, and there's definitely a Dropbox-style vibe here. Files can be accessed quickly and simply, and shared with just a few taps. If you need yet another app to automatically upload your mobile photos and videos to the cloud, then the apps for Android and iOS are able to do this for you too. 

There is a toggle to enable and disable mobile data, helping to preserve your allowance, however there are no automated warnings based on file size unlike some other cloud storage apps. Passcode or biometric access to the app adds another level of security, and this can be a different passcode to the one you use to log in to the device itself.

It's a similar story on the web. Everything is simple and plain, but easy to find and functional. A few more options would be welcome, like the ability to stream media files directly from the web interface. However, overall we don’t have too many complaints. If you want, files can be kept exclusively on the web rather than being synced to one or more of your devices, giving you better control over how you manage local storage.

Tresorit cloud storage being put to the test by TechRadar Pro

(Image credit: Tresorit)

Tresorit: Features 

When it comes to core functionality, the client software essentially lets you sync any file or folder from your computer or mobile device to the cloud and back, under the limits set by the type of account you're using. 

You can also create specific 'tresors' inside the apps: collections of files and folders that you wish to organize, share and distribute as one. It gives you a bit more flexibility if you don't want to stick to the exact folder structure that already exists on your computer, but to be honest, we can't imagine using it very much. Still, this feature could be useful to businesses storing files in the cloud to keep data safe. For instance there's no need for the Accounting Team to see blueprints for the top secret project that R&D working on, so each section could have their own Tresor. 

Online collaboration tools are fairly strong, offering access to Tresorit account holders and non-account holders, as well as the ability to set up a link for other people to upload files into. The 'Basic' plan supports setting a password to access a link. Paid plans allow you to fine tune sharing settings further by specifying the time after which a link will expire (default 30 days) or how many times a link can be opened (default is 20). 

Data from networked drives and NAS drives can be included in your cloud backup, if needed, and there's also support for file versioning: that means you can roll back to older versions of files rather than the latest versions, if you have to.

This varies by account, with top-tier Enterprise plans getting unlimited versions and entry-level Personal plans making do with 10 versions. 

While there is a file syncing solution that works between multiple people and multiple devices - so everyone is always working off the latest versions - there's limited in-app collaboration here, like you get in alternatives such as Dropbox and Google Drive. True, Tresorit might not have as many bells and whistles as these rivals, but in pur experience, we found it covers the core functions very well indeed. 

Tresorit: Security

End-to-end encryption is one of the flagship features of Tresorit, with all files and metadata protected using randomly generated encryption keys that never travel in an unencrypted form. Data is protected with AES-256 encryption and new keys are generated each time a file changes. This means, for instance, if you remove someone from a group of people with access to a folder the encryption keys on their device can no longer read files in that folder. 

As an extra level of protection, Tresorit clients apply a Message Authentication Code (MAC) to the content of each file, and this code is held only by the client and with those the file is shared, but not kept by Tresorit.

Decryption is only possible with a user’s unique decryption key: even Tresorit staff can't access your files. This 'blind' or 'zero knowledge' approach has the advantage that neither hackers nor law enforcement can access your files; but if you forget your key, it's gone forever.

The Tresorit Blog cites a well known saying in Information Security "Trust is good, validation is better." This is ironic, as the client apps aren't open source. In other words, if Tresorit made the source code for their apps publicly available the coding community could verify that client-side "end to end" encryption works in the way they say.

In fairness, open sourcing an existing project is a huge undertaking. Tresorit have however, undergone an independent security audit in 2019 by Ernst and Young, which did have access to the platform’s source code. They concluded that customer data was protected in the way Tresorit claimed. 

As well as zero-knowledge security, two-factor authentication is included as well, for extra account protection from the user’s end.

Tresorit: Our tests 

We ran three key tests, measuring Tresorit’s sync speed, file recovery and versioning.

These occurred on a Windows 11 virtual machine running the Tresorit desktop client, with the VM connected to the internet via a VPN server. Our speed tests consistently showed an average upload speed of 70 Mbps  

Tresorit cloud storage being put to the test by TechRadar Pro

(Image credit: Tresorit)
  • Test 1 - Sync speed

During our original tests we found that upload and download speeds using the macOS desktop client were poor compared with other cloud drives. Multiple tests with a minimum 30Mbps upload speed resulted in the upload of our 1GB test file taking around 30 minutes. We’ve seen as little as five minutes elsewhere. Downloading the same file, on the other hand, took a little over 30 seconds, which is the best we’ve seen using the same 350Mbps speed used elsewhere. 

Our most recent tests were using a connection with an average upload speed of 70Mbps. The 22 files (625MB in total) took a little over 180 seconds to upload. This is much slower than other major cloud storage providers like Dropbox. In fairness, many factors can affect the upload speed. If files are being encrypted client-side prior to upload this will also necessarily slow things done, whilst making your data much safer. 

We're pleased to be able to see the progress of individual file uploads by hovering the mouse over the 'Syncing' icon. We also were delighted with the ability to throttle bandwidth use in the client apps, in order to avoid overwhelming your web connection, which is something other services offer too.

Tresorit cloud storage being put to the test by TechRadar Pro

(Image credit: Tresorit)
  • Test 2 - File recovery

When we uploaded our test folder of files, Tresorit automatically created a corresponding folder in the cloud drive. When we checked the mounted T: drive on our device, there was also a shortcut to the folder's location on the hard drive.

We deleted the original folder, which caused Tresorit to throw up an error saying Path Lost, although the client didn't remove the corresponding folder from the cloud. We right clicked the cloud folder with our test files but the only option was to "permanently delete" the folder. Files that are permanently deleted can't be recovered.

We had more joy uploading a single one of our test files. The MP3 in question synced in seconds and we could choose to delete rather than permanently delete it. It's also very simple to check Show Deleted from within the client to restore a file. 

The bottom line is that Tresorit seems great for restoring deleted files, but folders are permanently erased.

Tresorit cloud storage being put to the test by TechRadar Pro

(Image credit: Tresorit)
  • Test 3 - Versioning

To test versioning options, we uploaded a test file, then opened it on the local machine and removed all text except the intro. The changes were automatically synced to the cloud.

However when we clicked the file and chose to Display Versions, the unmodified original document was listed. We could only download the document however, not restore the original as is possible with other cloud providers like Dropbox. 

Tresorit: Verdict 

Overall, we found Tresorit is a very secure, very fast, very reliable service, with apps that are a breeze to use. Its backup services are flexible and sophisticated, with the option to create custom groups of files and folders outside of the folder structure of your main computer. 

The advertised end-to-end encryption and security measures are top notch. On the face of it, there's nowhere safer to put your data. As impressive as the recent independent security audit is, we still think a cloud storage provider who places such an emphasis on security should open source their client-side apps. Although this can't happen overnight, Tresorit could follow the Signal model whereby the app is open source and available for anyone to examine but the developers don't accept "pull requests" from the community. In other words, Tresorit would remain in control of exactly what goes into the software rather than it being a group effort.  

Tresorit is also on the relatively expensive side for the amount of cloud storage you get, puts limits on the number of devices you can use, and doesn't come with some of the extras (like collaboration tools) that its rivals do. We came away impressed, but it's not going to be the best cloud storage solution for everyone and every business.

Fleetio Review: Pros & Cons, Features, Ratings, Pricing and more
11:35 am | May 20, 2020

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

Fleetio is a cloud-based comprehensive fleet management solution that was created in 2012. It helps businesses track their vehicles, drivers, and vehicle parts. The company is currently present in over 80 countries and handles over 528,000 vehicles and operators.

Fleetio's solution is appropriate for fleets of all sizes and aims to simplify fleet management. It does this by automating fleet operations, allowing for the management of asset life cycles, fuel efficiency, and also supporting the staff who operate these vehicles. Like other cloud-based solutions, it emphasizes teamwork and strives to lessen the use of less elegant tools, like spreadsheets.


Fleetio pricing

(Image credit: Fleetio)

Fleetio: Pricing

Fleetio is transparent in terms of listing pricing and contractual details on its platform. There are three different plans, each for a minimum of 5 vehicles. Pricing is available on a monthly basis, with a discount available when paying annually.

The lowest tier is the Starter plan, which costs $4 monthly, or averages out to $3 per month when paid annually.  It includes vehicle VIN lookups, vehicle reminders, service reminders and total cost of ownership.

Moving up a tier brings us to the most popular Pro plan. This has a cost of  $5/month when paid annually for the discounted rate, or $6/month. It adds in features including vehicle assignment scheduling, NHTSA recalls, shop maintenance integration, and inspection schedules.

The top tier of plan is the Advanced plan, which incurs a cost of $8/month on the monthly basis, or $7/month on the annual discounted rate. This plan brings forward all of the features of the lower plans, and also add in support for work orders, in-house garage management, purchase orders, automatic stock adjustments, and also can support multiple locations.

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Fleetio: Features

Fleetio provides a variety of services, including maintenance and fleet management, in addition to tracking vehicles. It enables administrators or operators to optimize costs by allowing them to manage fuel, drivers, and assets in a controlled and seamless manner.

The company offers a mobile app: Fleetio Go. The app focuses on mobile fleet management and is available for use with any of the three tiers of plans. This app is available on iOS and Android for free on those respective app stores. The Fleetio dashboard is a cloud-based solution and so is operating system agnostic.

The service can be divided into several broad categories, that we’ll look at more in depth now.

Mobile Asset Management is a process that oversees the entire life cycle of a vehicle, from purchase to disposal. It helps to manage fleet operations more efficiently by tracking vehicle location, fuel consumption, and maintenance schedules.

Vehicle and equipment management helps administrators track vehicle inventory, driver assignment history, important dates, and more. Important documents related to the vehicle, such as purchase or loan documents, total cost of ownership, and so on, can be stored electronically, allowing easy and timely access for authorized users.

Fuel management is a key component of efficient fleet management. By optimizing fuel efficiency, fleet managers can save money and reduce their environmental impact. A fuel management system can help fleet managers track fuel usage, identify areas where fuel is being wasted, and implement cost-saving measures. The system can be updated in real-time through integrations, imports, the app, or website, keeping admins informed of all fuel-related transactions.

Total cost of ownership gives decision-makers continuous data that helps them stay up-to-date on the true costs of running a fleet, allowing them to make informed decisions about replacing old vehicles with new ones. This section includes a breakdown of all vehicle expenses, such as loan payments, maintenance, fuel, telematics subscriptions, and more. This aids in identifying cost savings and improving fleet cost-effectiveness.

VIN decoding eliminates the need for manual data entry by automatically retrieving a vehicle's specifications, such as engine and transmission details, wheels and tires, dimensions, weight and payload, and even fluid capacity levels, directly from manufacturers. This helps ensure the use of correct spare and replacement parts, as well as a better understanding of a vehicle's limitations.

Vehicle assignment keeps admins updated on the availability of drivers and vehicles. This feature is extremely beneficial for scheduling reports on vehicle utilization, distance traveled, and more.

Vehicle location history is a valuable tool that provides a comprehensive overview of a vehicle's location data and GPS data from various sources, such as inspection reports, fuel entries, service entries, and GPS integrations. This information can be used to track vehicles daily, identify potential problems, and improve fleet management.

Fleet Maintenance Management covers vehicle maintenance and historical service data, as well as inventory reports and more. Preventive maintenance scheduling helps track, automate, and forecast recurring service-related activities. Automatically scheduling a vehicle's services based on its history not only ensures timely maintenance, but also increases the uptime of vehicles across the fleet. This fleet management software includes customizable vehicle inspection forms. Timely inspections can help identify failed components and track trends for any particular issue with one or more vehicles.

Issue management allows drivers to report problems from their mobile app, keeping admin staff informed in real time about vehicle issues, failed inspection items, and more.

Maintenance shop integration works to streamline the maintenance process and allows all invoices to be stored and consolidated electronically. 

Electronic and automatic logging of service records helps to keep track of a vehicle's service history, set up automatic reminders, record service dates, and more. It also helps to easily identify recurring issues and allows decision-makers to assess maintenance costs.

 

Fleetio integrates with other services to increase functionality. This allows the software to automatically collect data such as odometer readings, vehicle locations, and fuel card expenses alerts. It can also track each vehicle, service, document, and other records, allowing users to find key data all in one central dashboard. Since Fleetio's software allows for an unlimited number of users, it has options to assign role-based access on the upper two plans.

Fleetio contact us page

(Image credit: fleetio)

Fleetio: Support

Fleetio offers email support, as well as a dedicated telephone help desk which is available weekdays between 8am to 8pm EST. The company hosts videos, webinars and podcasts to help users. Fleetio also has a dedicated YouTube channel where it keeps posting informative guides. We did find plenty of resources, but it would have been nice to see them better collected and organized in a central location Knowledge Center.

Fleetio: Final verdict

Fleetio provides comprehensive fleet tracking services that help manage all aspects of a fleet effectively. The company has received positive reviews on sites like Capterra, but is not yet rated on Better Business Bureau, and only has a few reviews on Trustpilot. Still, we like the upfront pricing with the choice of tiers, so the free trial offer is a valuable way to try out the service to determine if it meets your fleet’s needs.

More on fleet management:

Kobo Libra H2O review
5:58 am |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

[Update February 7, 2023: The Kobo Libra H2O is now only available in Australia and will now set you back AU$269.95, AU$20 more than its price on release.]

When the Kobo Forma launched in 2018, we had high expectations that it would give Amazon’s Kindle Oasis a run for its money. However, a slightly lackluster design and a jaw-dropping price tag changed our minds. Rakuten – the Japanese company that makes the Kobo ereaders – seems to have learned some lessons from that Forma feedback, and its new 7-inch Kobo Libra H2O introduces a range of refinements and changes that largely address the complaints.

While the Libra’s  7-inch screen makes it a fair bit smaller than the 8-inch Forma, it brings with it the latest E Ink technology, making it one of the fastest, most responsive ereaders currently on the market. 

Add to that a refreshed user interface and a superior build than the Forma (plus the waterproofing and support for multiple file formats that Kobos are famous for) and you’ve finally got a very compelling competitor to the Kindle Oasis. Better yet, the Libra H2O is far more affordable than either the Oasis or the Forma.

Kobo Libra H20

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Kobo Libra H2O price and availability

The Kobo Libra H2O was launched first in the US and Canada in September 2019 – just a couple of months after Amazon released the second-gen version of the Kindle Oasis – and it became available in other markets later that year. 

Considering it shares a lot of the Forma and Oasis’ premium features, its biggest selling point is perhaps its price tag. The Libra H2O was available directly from the Kobo Store and from major retailers for $169 / £149 / AU$249 on its initial release. In comparison, the 2019 iteration of the Kindle Oasis will set you back $249 / £229 / AU$399, while the Kobo Forma is available for $279 / £239.99 / AU$429.95, though the Forma is no longer available in the US.

And while it’s possible to occasionally pick up the Kindle Oasis for a cheaper price directly from Amazon, you’ll be hard-pressed to find discounts on any of the Kobo ereaders.

As of February 2023, the Kobo Libra H2O is only available in Australia from Rakuten Kobo, with both the global and UK store no longer offering this 2019 ereader. It has also had a small price increase of AU$20, and will now set you back AU$269.95.

Design and display

Unlike more traditional tablet-like ereaders like the Kindle Paperwhite and Kobo Aura One, the Libra H2O’s asymmetrical design closely resembles the Forma and the Kindle Oasis. One bezel is much thicker and wider than the rest, providing lots of space to comfortably and securely hold the device without covering the screen. A pair of physical buttons on that same bezel are used for page turning, and the ereader’s battery is housed inside this area of the chassis, with the microUSB charging port on the side of this thick spine. However, the difference between the Forma and the Libra is that the latter has a 7-inch E Ink Carta HD display (the same as the Oasis) as compared to the 8-inch screen on the Forma. 

Kobo Libra H20

One bezel is thicker and larger than the rest, making it comfortable to hold and use the Kobo Libra H2O single-handed. (Image credit: TechRadar)

The Libra H2O and the Kindle Oasis also share the same screen resolution of 1,680 x 1,264, which translates to 300 pixels per inch (ppi), offering a beautifully sharp display that’s easy to read on. That said, the screen on the Libra H2O is not flush with the bezel (as it is on the Oasis) and is, instead, fitted into a recess within the frame. 

This slight depth makes the text on the display appear sharper when compared to the Oasis, and also allows Rakuten to use Neonode’s zForce infrared technology – a plug-and-play sensor module used for touch and gesture control. And whether you’re selecting a word for dictionary look-up or typing in a Wi-Fi password during setup, the screen is supremely responsive – on par with the latest Kindle Oasis and a beat or two faster than Forma.

Kobo Libra H20

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The Libra H2O shares the patented ComfortLight Pro screen technology that’s found on all modern Kobos, and reduces the exposure to sleep-disrupting blue light. There are white and amber LED lights on the bottom of the screen that project light upwards and evenly across the display. Both color hues can be used either together or independently, with the brightness adjusted via a simple slider built into the touch interface. 

And while there’s no ambient light sensor on board, you can set the lighting to change depending on your time zone. This change in color temperature happens even when the device is ‘sleeping’ and, if you happen to read a little in the afternoon, then pick it up only around bedtime, you will notice the light is warmer. That, we found, doesn’t happen with the Kindle Oasis, where you’ll have to manually change the brightness to adjust the light at night if you’ve just picked it up for reading in bed.

The Libra weighs 192g, which is 4g heavier than the Oasis, despite the latter’s metal finish. The difference is so small that they both feel the same in the hand, however the larger bezel (or grip) of the Libra H2O is slightly thicker than the Forma’s and its smaller screen size gives it a slightly stocky look.

Kobo Libra H20

The physical page-turn buttons are sturdy with a good feedback (Image credit: TechRadar)

Despite its plastic chassis, the Libra H2O looks a lot better than its more expensive sibling. Where there’s a joint on the thicker bezel of the Forma (between the buttons and the screen) for dirt to collect, the Libra’s front face is constructed from a single piece of plastic. Moreover, the Forma’s soft-touch plastic begins to look shiny and oily within weeks of use, leaving it looking grubby and old. The Libra’s harder plastic finish should mean it’s a little more resistant to this, although you can see fingerprints on the bezels if you have particularly oily or sweaty skin.

Another reason to recommend the Libra H2O over the Forma are the page turn and power buttons – on the latter they feel too squishy, while there’s a very good click and feedback on the Libra. That said, the buttons on the Kindle Oasis are easily the smoothest and best feeling of the three.

Kobo Libra H20

There's a microUSB port on the side of the thicker bezel for charing the device (Image credit: TechRadar)

There’s a recessed power button round the back of the Libra, and while it’s reasonably easy to locate just by feeling for it, it’s practically impossible to press if you’re using the Libra single-handed. It can also take some getting used to locating it without flipping the device over if you tend to keep rotating the Libra to read in different orientations, as it’s far from where your hand sits – on the opposite side to the grip, in the corner diagonally across from the Kobo branding on the bezel.

The Libra H2O retains its IPX8 waterproofing and can survive a 60-minute dunk in about 2m of water. However, you will not be able to use the touchscreen if the device is submerged, but the physical page-turn buttons still work just fine.

Battery life

The underlying hardware that keeps the Libra H2O ticking consists of a Freescale Solo Lite 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage – which, sadly, can’t be expanded as there’s no microSD card slot on board.

It matches the 1,200mAh battery that’s in the Forma which, we found was capable of powering weeks of constant reading. If you are an avid reader and spend pretty much all day doing just that, then you should be able to get about two weeks’ worth of use between charges. If, however, you’re a more casual reader and spend no more than an hour or two reading per day, you can likely push that to around four to six weeks with display brightness set to about 15%. 

During our test period, we spent about three to four hours each day with the Libra H2O for over a week (with brightness set at 8%) and barely made a dent in the battery indicator on the screen.

Kobo Libra H20

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Reading experience

Like the Forma before it, there’s a gyroscope inside the Libra H2O that’s capable of detecting full 360-degree movement. That means you’ll be able to read in portrait orientation with the page buttons either on the left or right, or in landscape mode with the buttons above or below the display.

Thanks to the latest generation of black-and-white E Ink technology, page turns on the Libra are almost immediate, whether you choose to use the touch interface or the physical buttons, and its smaller and lower-resolution screen make it a bit faster than the Forma in many areas. When you rotate the device, for example, the change in page orientation is a lot quicker than its bigger brother, and using the onscreen keyboard is more responsive and immediate.

The Forma’s physically larger display may not sound like a significant increase over the Libra (8 inches vs 7 inches) but, in the flesh, that difference is quite stark, and arguably makes for a more immersive reading experience on the bigger Forma – and that extra screen real estate means it can fit more words, so you’ll be turning the page a bit less frequently too. But the downside to the Forma’s bigger size is that it’s less portable – the Libra, conversely, is compact enough to fit into a smallish shoulder bag, satchel or handbag, so it’s more friendly for anyone who wants to read on the go. 

Kobo Libra H20

The user interface remains largely unchanged but there are some new features (Image credit: TechRadar)

The Libra’s user interface is simple, with only one or two points of difference from the older models. You can quickly do all the basics, like adjust the font size, look up unfamiliar words, add annotations, and change margin and line spacing. However, the Libra H2O’s new version of the Kobo OS has added a few new features, which have selectively been rolled out to some other Kobo ereaders. 

The new Kobo interface adds an improved ebook navigator that’s accessible by swiping up from the bottom of the screen or tapping in the middle of the display. The progress bar on the lower part of the navigation overlay makes it easier to scan forwards or backwards through a book and be able to find your place again. It also offers one-touch access to all your annotations, and a search box so you can look up a specific word or phrase through the entire book. You can even pull up a list of chapters from this new menu. 

Move the scrubber and a preview of the pages appears on screen (although you will need to lift your finger off the slider before the preview is displayed), letting you decide if you’ve found the right page instead of taking you directly to it. After moving to another location within a book, there will also be a dot on the slider marking your last page, so you can get back to it easily with a single tap on the dot. We were already partial to Kobo’s UI and these improvements make it a lot more streamlined than the cluttered interface on a Kindle.

Kobo Libra H20

The new ebook navigation scrubber makes it easier to skim through your current read and find your previous place again (Image credit: TechRadar)

Another reason we’re partial to Kobo is because of its support for multiple, open file formats. You can read books in EPUB or PDF format, and there’s support for CBR and CBZ formats for fans of graphic novels and comics. You can even load MOBI, PNG, JPG, GIF, BMP, TIFF and HTML files onto a Kobo device for viewing. Heck, you’ll even be able read plain old TXT files on a Kobo device.

If you happen to be a Pocket user (a website and browser plugin that lets you save articles for reading later), you can sign into your account on your Kobo and all saved articles will automatically be synced to your ereader. Dropbox also has an agreement with Kobo that allows users to wirelessly transfer files from a Dropbox folder to the Kobo device – a much easier way to get free or non-DRM books and documents onto your reader than laboriously plugging in a USB cable. (Ugh, such inconvenience!)

Kobo Libra H20

You can hold the Kobo Libra H2O in any orientation and read (Image credit: TechRadar)

Another major benefit of the Kobo OS is baked-in Overdrive support, which in supported countries can allow you to borrow ebooks from your local library – a very handy money-saving tool.

Verdict

Despite a plastic finish, the Kobo Libra H2O is a strong all-round ereader, particularly if you’re not keen on Amazon’s more locked-down Kindle ecosystem. What makes it a worthwhile upgrade if you’ve been using a more traditionally shaped ereader (like the Kobo Clara HD, the Auras, or even the Kindle Paperwhite) is its more comfortable and convenient asymmetrical design, with page-turn buttons that are perfect for single-hand use – whether that’s in bed, during your daily commute in a crowded train or bus, or while simultaneously sipping a glass of something naughty in the bathtub. 

And while you can also get that with the Forma or the Kindle Oasis, the Kobo Libra H2O is significantly cheaper than either of those options, while also being notably more responsive than its bigger (and more expensive) sibling. 

If you’re already a heavy user of Amazon’s ebook services like Prime Reading or Kindle Unlimited, then there’s perhaps still a case to be made for picking up the Oasis over the Libra. But for anyone else looking to buy an ereader with an asymmetrical design, Kobo's newest option is a compelling choice.

Competition

Amazon Kindle Oasis

Amazon Kindle Oasis

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Amazon's Kindle Oasis has a much more premium feel than either the Kobo Forma or the Libra H2O, thanks to its metal body, but its luxurious reading experience doesn't stop there. There's Audible support on board, so you can listen to audiobooks, and Bluetooth connectivity means you can use a set of wireless headphones to listen. However, it will cost you more than the Libra H2O, support very limited file formats and will keep you locked into Amazon's Kindle ecosystem.

Read our in-depth Amazon Kindle Oasis (2019) review to find out more.

MiX Telematics review
5:42 pm | May 19, 2020

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro | Comments: Off

MiX Telematics is a leading cloud-based telematics provider that offers a mobile asset and fleet management solution. Founded in 1996, the company operates in over 120 countries worldwide and maintains offices in the US, the UK, South Africa, Uganda, Brazil, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and Mexico.

As of now, MiX Telematics manages over 959,000,000 mobile assets with the help of over 130 partners. Its shares are publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange as well as the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

The company delivers a SaaS solution for enterprise fleets, small fleets and consumers, with the ability to track trucks and buses, vans, cars, motorbikes, trailers and more. Employing a unified approach to telematics, the company offers actionable intelligence to solve complex vehicle and driver-related problems.

MiX Telematics: Pricing

Mix Telematics used to be  one of the providers who are pretty transparent about its pricing and contract structure. Unfortunately, they don’t publish their pricing on their websire anymore, but we’ve attached their 2020 pricing structure here for reference. 

As you can see in the attached photo, the company used to offer a couple of plans, both payable monthly or annually. For both the plans, the company charged an additional $29.95 per order for shipping and handling of hardware. Note, however, that the pricing information may not be accurate anymore. 

Self-installation: This tier starts at $35 a month for a single vehicle and you get an additional 10% discount with the annual plan which costs $378 per year per vehicle. Businesses that opt for this DIY plan are sent the tracking hardware that comes with a limited lifetime warranty, but the company does not offer installation assistance. These devices are plug-and-play, and can be transferred between vehicles.

Among the standard features are live tracking, street and satellite maps, geo-fencing, service and licensing reminders, fuel and cost reporting, access via web or mobile phones, and a 30-second software refresh.

Professional installation: As the name suggests, this is the pricier of the two plans and is available at $39.50 per vehicle per month or $426 when paid annually (after a 10% discount).

Under this plan, the company offers an accredited installation of the hardware without charging additional fees. However, once installed the devices cannot be moved to other vehicles.

(Image credit: MiX telematics)

Mix Telematics: Features

MiX Telematics offers easy to use cloud-based software which helps to optimize costs, improve performance, ensure timely deliveries, and more, all while staying compliant with government regulations. 

The MiX Telematics solution helps your business stay organized, and allows you to control the entire fleet using a central command center that makes all the info you need easily accessible. In short, it ensures that the fleet operation runs smoothly with no hiccups.

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(Image credit: MiX telematics)
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(Image credit: MiX telematics)
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(Image credit: MiX telematics)
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(Image credit: MiX telematics)

The software is equally suitable for small, medium as well as large fleet sizes. It helps in managing vehicles effectively, optimizing fuel usage, tracking fraudulent usage, managing payrolls and more. Easy live tracking of vehicles means you don't have the stress of tracing vehicles manually, and it lets the decision-makers focus on more important and critical work.

The tracking hardware supplied by the company collects the vehicle's vital details and transmits them in real-time to the command center, where the information is processed and various reports are prepared that help fleet operators with precise details about the fleet and drivers.

Some key features of the MiX Telematics solution are:

  • Vehicle tracking: While it is the most basic feature of any GPS tracker or fleet management solution, the MiX Telematics solution offers a real-time update on the vehicle, whether it on the move or stationary. It even keeps the operator informed about the driver and gives them access to vital details such as driving speed, the route being followed, driving violations, historical trips, and more.
  • Live information streams: This is a unique solution that allows fleet operators to track vehicles assigned a specific task or event. A user-defined livestream to track a specific delivery helps in keeping the critical delivery in focus. This lets the operatory stay in touch with the connected driver/assets, keeping the message flowing. 
  • Reporting: MiX Telematics comes with a robust and dynamic reporting system that informs the operators about various aspects of the fleet including vehicle movement, location, trip and utilization reports, and so forth. Reporting like driver scoring, fuel, event violations, and cost analysis reports are also useful in assessing profitability and giving insights into driver performance. This can be further used to coach or reward drivers. 
  • ELD: The ELD devices are custom-designed to help fleet operators manage and stay compliant with various regulatory policies like Hours of Service (HoS) through electronically tracking a driver's Record of Duty Status (RoDs). ELD devices act as an effective replacement for outdate paper logbooks.

MiX Telematics: Support

The company's official website has a generic contact phone number and a basic query form for users to reach out in case of a question. It does not, however, provide any direct contact details for the sales team. The company is on most popular social media channels and while its Facebook and Twitter accounts are updated regularly, its YouTube account is not very active with videos being uploaded intermittently. 

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(Image credit: MiX telematics)
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(Image credit: MiX telematics)

MiX Telematics: Final Verdict

MiX Telematics offers an interesting range of products and services, including hardware installation by experts. However, this comes with certain limitations. Its cloud-based solution is fit for varied fleet sizes, though it is always advisable to carefully assess if a provider’s offerings match with your fleet’s specific requirements.

While the company is a veteran in the business, it does not have many customer reviews online. Better Business Bureau (BBB) shows that the company has been operating for over 10 years yet it's not been accredited with them.  There is a lone 1-star review about the company; however, BBB rates MiX Telematics as an A+ company.

Typeform review
1:38 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

A thoughtfully-designed, people-friendly online form builder, Typeform lets you create forms without coding. You can easily offer a personalized customer experience by building quizzes, survey forms, and more based on your industry niche. It offers over 120+ integration options, including Slack, Mailchimp, Monday, Google Analytics, HubSpot, and many more, to plug your data seamlessly into the workflow. 

For instance, Slack integration makes it simpler to update the right people when a form is completed. The entire team's communication can be brought into one place with Slack. 

Everything from videos to logos can be edited as required with Typeform to build a striking form. With 100+ templates, you will surely get what you need. Let’s now dive deep into Typeform pricing, features, interface, support, and more to see if it’s the right match for you!

Typeform: Plans and pricing

Typeform’s free plan offers unlimited forms, question branching, various templates, 500+ integrations with Zapier, and more. However, you can insert only ten questions per form and receive ten monthly responses on the free plan. 

The Basic plan allows you to build interactive forms at $25/month. While it’s limited to just 1 user, you will get unlimited forms and questions with up to 100 responses per month. 

Next is the Plus plan, which lets you build forms based on your branding requirements. At a cost of $50/month, it lets you collect 1,000 monthly responses, which I believe is sufficient for a small-scale business. Besides everything in the Basic Plan, it offers additional features like custom subdomains, premium themes, removal of Typeform branding, and live chat support.

The Business plan, priced at $83/month, lets you collect 10,000 monthly responses and add up to five users. It’s an ideal plan if you’re looking for more data analytics and Salesforce integration. For instance, insights on drop-off rates can help you understand why the response fell off without completion. Additional perks include priority support, conversion tracking, and more. 

Lastly, you have the Enterprise plan with an on-demand pricing model. You can experience limitless growth and advanced features like VIP support and HIPAA & GDPR compliance with it. The response limits can be tailored to your needs, and teams can work together more comprehensively.  

Typeform: Features

Typeform has a very modern touch to it as compared to its peers. You can use it to gather diverse data for better research. There are about 20+ question types, from rating to ranking, to let people share their opinions differently. Other questions include contact info, dates, file upload, multiple choice, and more. Typeform helps you create forms and surveys that flow – let’s see the below features to understand how. 

Logic jump

The builder allows you to branch questions as needed to get the fuller picture. For instance, asking whether a product is simply ‘good’ or ‘bad’ may not be enough. Typeform allows you to embed tailored follow-up questions based on the user's previous answers. 

You can use the logic jump, one of the most impressive features of Typeform. Your respondents will not have to answer irrelevant questions because they will not even see them with the help of a logic jump. 

For instance, if you are trying to create an animal survey that begins with the question, “Are you a cat or dog lover?” you can set the next questions based on the answer. The cat lovers will directly jump to the cat question, and the dog lovers will have to answer dog-related questions. 

Integrations 

You can connect Typeform with top apps like Calendly, Hubspot, Excel Online, Google Analytics, and more to save ample time and effort. For instance, with the Calendly integration, you can add a Calendly question directly into your form. Calendly is a scheduling platform that allows you to schedule meetings easily, whether in person or online. With this integration, your respondent can book a meeting with you right from the form without jumping to another window. 

Similarly, the Excel and Typeform integration allows you to easily share the response results or data with other team members. Typeform responses can be sent on Excel Online to turn the data into graphs and much more. 

With options like Stripe and Square, you can process online payments with ease and grow your business. 

Templates 

If you’re looking forward to building an online form for your business, you’ll be glad to know that Typeform offers 100+ templates covering industry niches like marketing, product, HR, and more. Popular template categories include order, feedback, application and evaluation forms, and whatnot. 

Simply select the template you want and edit the pre-filled questions slides. The templates are attention-grabbing and excel in design and aesthetics — a feature missing from other competitors. 

Security

Typeform understands the significance of the data collected and ensures it remains secure. The services have been built with integrity and confidentiality and adhere to data processing standards like GDPR — one of the strictest international privacy regulation standards.

It also complies with HIPAA or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA ensures Typeform maintains technical, administrative, and physical safeguards to protect e-PHI or health information collected through an electronic form. 

Typeform in use

(Image credit: Typeform)

Typeform: Interface and in use

Typeform’s interface is intuitive and user-friendly. A tech newbie won’t find it challenging to build forms, even though it is not an entirely drag-and-drop builder. You can choose from the numerous templates available, create forms from scratch or add custom branding. 

Adding new fields is easy – simply click the “plus” icon in the top-left corner and choose from 25+ field types. The builder is divided into three parts: the left panel contains all the questions in the field, the middle section contains the form itself, and the right panel contains the editor.
Just select the question you want to edit from the left panel and make changes from the right one. 

The right panel also contains the “design” and “logic” tabs. You can use “design” to add different pre-made themes to your form, whereas the latter will help you define the question flow and logic in your form. 

The “Connect” button on the top lets you integrate your form with other apps and software such as Excel, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Dropbox, and more. I tried connecting Google Sheets with my form, which was done within a minute without any lags or hassles.

All in all, the form builder is extremely easy to use, even for beginners. It has a modern design and lets you create visually appealing forms. 

Typeform: Support

Typeform’s help center is divided into different sections that make submitting tickets easy – all you have to do is select a query category and follow the prompts. You can also use the vastly available blogs, discussions, and videos to understand the platform better. 

Typeform also has an active community to share your problems and learn from other Typeform users. However, the platform lacks external email or phone support, which increases the response time, meaning Typeform’s real customer support is mid at best.

Typeform: The competition

Typeform is right up there with its popular form builders like Formstack, Jotform, and Zoho Forms. Drawing a line between the three is difficult as all of them offer similar features.

However, if you’re looking for an affordable solution, Zoho Forms will be a better option. Its Basic plan, priced at just $10/month, offers most of the advanced features a business might need, along with 10,000 submissions per month. 

However, with Typeform’s Basic plan, you can only accept 100 responses per month, that too at the cost of $25. However, Typeform offers better customizable templates and simpler logic settings.

As far as a feature-laden form builder is concerned, Jotform edges past Typeform. With more than 300 widgets, 100+ integrations, and 30+ payment collection options, Joform is a one-stop solution. However, all of this comes at a starting price of $39 per month. 

Although Jotform has a free plan, there’s not much you can do with it as it offers just 5 forms. On the flip side, Typeform's free plan offers unlimited forms, which makes it a runaway winner for those on a very tight budget.

Typeform: Final verdict

With over 100 templates, integrations, and features like logic jump, Typeform is a solid option if you’re on the hunt for a beginner-friendly form builder. Apart from modern and aesthetic design, you can collaborate with other users and embed your forms on your website with links, QR codes, and emails in a matter of minutes. 

Typeform offers an ideal mix of features and cost when compared to its peers, and businesses in the creative field would find Typeform more suited to their needs. Get started with its free plan today. If it impresses you, bump your plan up to a paid one to unlock its full suite of features.

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Google Forms review
11:54 am | May 14, 2020

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

Despite being 100% free, Google Forms is an online form builder that is packed with features like pre-designed templates, excel integration, conditional logic, and more. However, Google Forms can’t be labeled as the perfect form builder for advanced needs. The survey logic you get with it is not the best, and customization options are also somewhat limited. 

That said, Google Forms shines through when it comes to assisting in developing polls, surveys, and quizzes. Some of the question types available are dropdowns, multiple choice, checkboxes, linear scale, and more. All file uploads to Google Drive are encrypted, so security is not going to be a concern. 

The forms adhere to robust data protection with regulatory standards like GDPR compliance. It ensures the collected data is handled following the legal guidelines. Now, let’s dig into the pricing, features, interface, support, and more to see if Google Forms is the form builder you have been looking for.

Google Forms: Plans and pricing

You don’t need any subscription to access Google Forms. It allows you to create unlimited forms and collect infinite responses for free — all you need is either a personal Google account (which is, of course, free) or a business plan. 

With the Personal plan, you get to create forms, docs, sheets, slides, and more, along with secure cloud storage of 15 GB per user without any costs. However, you’ll have to rely on self-service and community forums for support with the personal plan.

The Business Standard plan, at $12 per user monthly, comes with a larger cloud storage of 2 TB per user. Access 24/7 online support with it, and contact the community forum for additional queries. 

Google Forms: Features

Google Forms offers a great set of features for a builder that is free to use. While it does miss the advanced features like integrations, field types, and customization tools, it meets most of your personal or basic business needs. Also, there’s no limit to the number of questions that can be added to the forms. Let’s discuss the features in detail.

Templates 

Similar to other form builders, Google Forms offers quite a few templates to prevent building a form from scratch. There are about 17 templates in the gallery, like Contact Information, RSVP, Party Invite, Event Registration, Event Feedback, Order Form, and more. The templates can be further broken down into three categories — personal, work, and education. You can edit and customize these templates a bit to suit your needs.

Question types 

There are several question types that you can add to your Google Forms to make them interactive. The first one is the short answer using which the respondents can answer a question in a single line. The paragraph type lets the users respond in multiple lines for an in-depth response.

The checkbox question type is similar to an MCQ, where respondents can select from multiple checkboxes. The file upload question type allows for the upload of an image or resume. There are also question types that allow you to select a time and date. 

Practically, you wouldn’t need more question types than what Google Forms offers to customize a survey for basic needs.

Conditional logic

Using conditional logic allows the questions on the forms to change based on the previous user’s response. How? Suppose the question is, “Are you satisfied with our service”? Answer A is “Good,” and answer B is “Bad.” 

Upon selecting answer A, the respondents will be directed to a different set of questions like “ Glad for the response! What did you like most?” However, if the user selects the second option, they might be redirected to another question asking for the reasons for their response.

This relatively advanced feature makes Google Forms unique while being a free form builder. However, Google Forms’ conditional logic is comparatively simpler than the conditional logic or logic branching of the paid form builders. Besides, you can only apply it to drop-down or multiple-choice questions. 

Form approvals

Although the number of integrations is not abundant, the Form Approvals integration certainly comes in handy. Once you’ve installed the Form Approvals add-on, you'll be able to view it through a “puzzle-like” button at the top right of the form. Simply click on the “light-plus” icon once the “Form Approvals” setting opens, and enter the email ID of the approver. You’re all set — each response will now be sent for approval. It’s ideal for forms like “leave approvals.’

You can even set an “approval workflow”, where each form can be sent to different approvers according to their hierarchy. This comes in handy when a particular proposal requires multi-level approval from, say, the team leader, the area manager, and then the zonal manager.

Reporting and analytics

Google Forms will automatically generate reports in the form of graphs that convey information like how many people answered each question in the forms and more. Pie charts are also available to communicate the results of the survey or campaign in a visually appealing manner. 

Want a more thorough analysis? Google Sheets will be your friend. You will find the response tab on Google Forms on the right side of the editor. Click on the Google Sheets icon to further sort and analyze the data. How? For example, you can sort the respondent’s ages from sorting it from highest to lowest on an Excel sheet.

Quiz features 

The quiz features of Google Forms are an excellent deal for users in the education sector. You can turn your survey into a quiz by simply making a few changes. You can even assign a point value to each question for an easy job. 

Upon doing so, the grades will be automatically calculated with the form submission. The auto-grading feature is ideal for teachers as well as students — the respondent gets back results instantly, saving a lot of time. 

Google Forms in use

(Image credit: Google)

Google Forms: Interface and in use

Like every other Google app out there, using Google Forms too is a cakewalk. It has an intuitive and user-friendly interface, ideal for beginners. Since it’s really basic and does not have any complicated advanced tools, it’s so much easier to navigate and learn than other complex and highly configurable form builders.

There are not too many settings to tweak and you can build a simple form in just a few minutes. Besides, you can also copy the previous questions while creating new forms to save time. The easy-to-use theme customization menu makes it effortless to change the form’s color and fonts. The drag-and-drop allows you to rearrange the questions in a few clicks. This is hands down one of the easiest form builders I have come across.

Google Forms: Support

Since it’s a free-form builder, the absence of a one-to-one support system is reasonable. However, competitors like Feathery provide basic email support even with its free plan. 

That said, the support documents and step-by-step guides are enough to help you navigate a simpler product like Google Forms. However, if you have access to the premium subscription, you can expect some technical support. The support team assures to be available 24/7 through email, chat, and phone. 

Google Forms: The competition

While there are several competitors for Google Forms, the top two are probably JotForm and Survey Monkey. Both JotForm and Google Forms are excellent form builders that let you create surveys and simple forms for free. 

If you’re looking for a free, easy-to-use builder with basic requirements, Google Forms is the answer. On the other hand, JotForms is perfect for individuals looking for advanced features like thousands of templates and hundreds of integrations.

Now, Survey Monkey too offers a free plan. However, the number of surveys you can create remains limited in Survey Monkey. On its paid plans, Survey Monkey offers features like branching logic for advanced surveys. Overall, if you want to create forms for personal or small-scale use, Google Forms is a great fit. 

Google Forms: Final verdict

The availability of unlimited forms and responses makes Google Forms an unmissable product. From collaborating with other G suite ecosystems like Excel to using conditional logic, you could not have asked for more at no cost. If you’re already in a Google workspace and want to create forms without advanced logic or question types, Google Forms will get the job done. 

However, it isn’t meant for large-scale or even mid-scale businesses — you’ll have to look at some other forms like JotForm and Feathery. The final decision comes down to your needs and budget when deciding. 

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