Xata Changes Name, Introduces New Mobile Platform

The new name, XRS, stands for Xata Road Science—and it was driven by the company’s new mobile cloud platform, which was designed to slash trucking costs and help fleets and drivers remain compliant with federal and state regulations.

Xata Corporation said Monday that it has changed its name to XRS Corporation and introduced a mobile platform of the same name.
 
The Eden Prairie-based software company helps trucking companies keep track of their fleets.
 
Its new name stands for Xata Road Science, and the change was driven by its new mobile cloud platform—which was designed to slash costs and help fleets and drivers remain compliant with federal and state regulations.
 
According to the company, the new platform is in beta testing and will be widely available next year. It will replace XRS’ two other platforms—XataNet, its onboard fleet-management system, and Turnpike, its first-generation mobile fleet-management system. Roughly 70,000 trucks currently use XataNet, and more than 50,000 subscribe to Turnpike; both of those platforms will be phased out over the next few years as customers transition to the new one.
 
Monday’s announcement wasn’t entirely surprising: Last month, XRS revealed in a regulatory filing that it had laid off 29 employees, a move that it said resulted from a shift away from onboard fleet-management systems and toward the use of mobile devices. As of September 30, Xata employed 210—so the cuts affected almost 14 percent of the company’s workers.
 
The XRS platform will run on more than 50 types of mobile devices, and it will automatically transmit vehicle and operator data to a management dashboard.
 
Here’s how it works: A device that’s installed in the cab connects to a truck’s engine. Through Bluetooth, information about everything from vehicle speed and hard braking to fuel economy and truck location is transmitted wirelessly to the driver’s mobile phone and to a Web-based application that allows fleet managers to see it in real time; drivers can manually input other information to the application through their phones.
 
According to XRS, nearly 90 percent of drivers already use mobile devices, so companies won’t need to invest in additional hardware in order to use the new platform—which can be installed on a mobile phone within 10 minutes. XRS CEO Jay Coughlan told Twin Cities Business on Monday that onboard management systems, by contrast, typically take four to five hours and cost between $1,500 and $2,000 to install in trucks.
 
“We’ve always been at the forefront of developing technologies and services that have brought the power of science to the trucking industry,” Coughlan said in a prepared statement. “Now, we’ve pioneered mobile fleet optimization, a revolution that’s literally putting the power of technology in every driver’s hand. Our new name honors Xata’s proud history while reflecting our breakthrough new mobile technology.”
 
For the fiscal year that ended in September, publicly traded Xata reported a net loss of $2.8 million on $63 million in revenue. For the second quarter that ended in March, the company reported a $2.1 million net loss on revenue totaling $15.9 million.