Finding an automated dispatch system that would fit within their budget would prove to be a significant challenge. Whistler Resort Cabs approached all the leading taxi dispatch providers and obtained detailed quotations, however in all cases, costs were prohibitive, due to the high cost of the mobile data hardware. “At that time, explains Jack, “There really was no system available with the features we were looking for that wasn’t well over $100,000.00, which was just simply not feasible for our operation at the time. “However, through our discussions with Future Quest Wireless, expands Mr. Crompton, “they suggested a new concept for consideration, using Nextel-type cellular phones as the vehicle data device instead of traditional mobile data terminals. We found the concept appealing on three levels: First and foremost, it brought hardware costs down dramatically, to the point where the system fit into our start-up budget realistically. Secondly, it solved many voice communications related issues, as its built-in Direct Connect feature allowed voice and data in the same device, with private driver/dispatcher communications and coverage that would far exceed two-way radio in our mountainous region. Thirdly, unlike traditional mobile data terminals, the proposed concept would allow drivers to send and receive messages and trip offers even while out of their vehicles helping customers with their ski equipment.
Future Quest President, Gord Walsh remembers, “My entire career was centered around wireless communications, so at the time I was intimately familiar with the iDEN technology that Nextel in the US and Telus, (Mike network) up in Canada were using. In fact, we had been using these recently released GPS capable Motorola iDEN handsets on the vehicle tracking side of our business for entry level vehicle tracking systems, so we were aware of their capabilities. It occurred to me when working with Whistler, that utilizing these handsets as a mobile data terminal might make a lot of sense. We worked with our engineering people on the concept and they were 100% behind it, so we proposed it to Whistler …and the rest is history.”