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Monday, October 5, 2009

Companies team up for portable tracking, monitoring. (Product News).

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Maytag Commercial Laundry's AccuTrac@ laundry accountability/management software system is now able to take advantage of Palm Pilot hand-held units. Maytag Corporation and Vertical Systems, Inc., developed the AccuTrac software system to assist commercial laundry field service technicians by enabling them to monitor and maintain Maytag equipment in coinoperated laundry facilities.

According to Tom McGoldrick, Vertical Systems sales executive, the functionality, widespread availability and relatively low cost of the Palmfamily hand-held units were important factors in Maytag's decision to form this partnership.

"With the potential for thousands of users, Maytag wanted to be sure that anyone could walk into a big-box electronics store and buy a competitively priced Palm-family hand-held unit right off the shelf," McGoldrick says.

An important tool in a laundry facility's maintenance and cash management strategy, Palm handheld units running the AccuTrac software allow users to communicate directly with washers and dryers via an infrared port on the machines. When operators retrieve coins from laundry machines, the Palm can assist in tracking the number of coins the machines should have collected via the infrared signal.

Operators can use the Palm to set pricing, wash and spin times, and the number of rinses. The Palm can also set up promotional features like Super Cycle options, time-of-day pricing and temperature-based pricing to help equipment operators increase their revenue. Through two-way communication and special self-diagnostic features, the Palm can also help a service technician find and fix a problem quickly and less expensively.

The Palm's ability to easily communicate with a desktop computer system makes it easy to set up, monitor and manage a large number of machines at a reasonable cost, the company says.

The Palm-assisted version of AccuTrac is an update of the original AccuTrac application, which Maytag has employed for the last eight years. In its original form, AccuTrac ran on the MARS MEQ, a now-defunct, DOS-based hand-held unit.

The Palm allows operators many new functions previously unavailable in the MEQ hand-held unit, adding to the system's overall value. Battery life is substantially longer, as the company says that operators are reporting a week of battery life from Palm devices versus the previous AccuTrac hand-held version, which needed to be recharged after every eight-hour shift. A new graphical interface design has also made the Palm offering easier to use.

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Source Citation:"Companies team up for portable tracking, monitoring. (Product News)." American Coin-Op 43.5 (May 2002): 8(1). General OneFile. Gale. Alachua County Library District. 5 Oct. 2009
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