I'd like a pizza with pepperoni and a sprinkle of VoIP and some GPS too

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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I'd like a pizza with pepperoni and a sprinkle of VoIP and some GPS too

Pizza PilotRecently, I received an email from a pizza delivery solutions provider seeking my assistance in an interesting application that involves VoIP, GPS coordinates, Bluetooth, and of course pizza. This is not the first time I have linked pizza with VoIP. No siree bob! In fact, my Vonage VoIP line resulted in me getting a cold pizza. Almost sued Vonage over my damn cold pizza too.

I know what you're thinking. What kind of VoIP application does a pizza delivery company need, right? Well, the best way to explain the application that ties VoIP, pizza, Bluetooth, and GPS together is to include the request they sent to me.

We sell software services to pizza chains.  Our system tracks drivers as they drive around town.  Since we know where they are and where they are going, when they are about 4 minutes from the customers’ door, we want our computer to initiate a telephone call to the customer to say the driver will arrive momentarily.  We imagine some kind of a softphone application running on the PC connected to a VoIP access point to the phone system.  Our software already has the .wav files prepared to “speak” to the customers.

Any suggestions on how to configure this or who we should be talking to that might sell the necessary hardware software?  Is open source stuff available?

PS  Our system is written in C#, so is pretty flexible.

Pizza Pilot recently announced the completion of a multi-store test in Boston-area Domino's Pizza Franchises.  Pizza Pilot was successful in reducing labor, mileage theft and lost drivers.  New tools for measuring each driver's "Smart Hustle" factor as well as data mining techniques to identify and prioritize target customers with Platinum, Gold or Silver service levels were also introduced.

Pizza Pilot is a software-based product that works with any POS-including Pulse and TMS/National Systems.  In combination with Bluetooth and GPS-enabled cell phones, it tracks the location of each delivery driver every 60 seconds.  Pizza Pilot mapping software determines the optimal dispatching and automatically assigns orders to drivers-allowing managers to focus on inside operations.

Due to its ability to track each driver's progress on their way to each destination, Pizza Pilot can determine the moment actual deliveries are made and to update drivers' estimated return times as they return to the shop-making subsequent dispatches more accurate.  Maps or on-board navigation is also available which reduce lost drivers, while real-time tracking identifies and discourages unauthorized stops.

Pizza PieI'm most impressed with the fact that they want to call you when the pizza is 4 minutes away. Imagine that -- a pizza company that is courteous enough to call you when they are about to arrive. How many times have you been told the pizza will take 30 minutes only to see 90 minutes roll by; then when you call to check on your pizza they simply tell you the pizza guy is on the way. Really they have no idea where he is and they're simply patronizing you. Well, with this pizza delivery company, they track all their vehicles so they can tell you exactly where the vehicle is and on top of that they plan to call you using an automated dialer using a VoIP line.

Now if that isn't a hot application for VoIP, I don't know what is. Mmmm. hot pizza... Ahhhh. GPS & Bluetooth gadgetry... Ooooo... VoIP coolness... Ahhhhh...  All I need now is some cold beer & ESPN -- and I'll be in heaven. Maybe I'll launch SightSpeed 5.0 and watch some ESPN from work.

I suggested to Pizza Pilot that there is C# code out there to initiate SIP calls and they he may want to consider looking at Asterisk, the open-source IP-PBX. I also referred him to Erik Lagerway and Ward Mundy over @Nerd Vittles, an Asterisk blog. Erik suggested that since he was using C#, that something in Microsoft LCS might do the trick - or paid kits like those offered by Counterpath. Ward Mundy said he could code something for him and asked for more details on the size and scope of the project.

I'll keep you posted if the pizza/GPS/Bluetooth/VoIP application ever goes live. GPS VoIP pizza delivery just might be coming to a neighborhood near you!

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