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Issue #2003 - 04 (February 2003)
(Updated Feb. 5, 2003)

Application Solutions 

Roto-Rooter Goes Wireless for Dispatch 

Wireless roll-out supports Roto-Rooter's commitment to customer service; offers glimpse into future for all service industries

Cincinnati, OH - (January 20, 2003) - Roto-Rooter Inc., the largest provider of plumbing and drain cleaning services in North America, announced today that it will equip its more than 1500 field technicians at company owned branches with a wireless solution to further improve quality and support the company's unwavering commitment to fast and reliable customer service.

Roto-Rooter has selected Gearworks, a Minneapolis-based provider of wireless and Web-based applications, and Nextel Communications, a leading provider of fully integrated wireless communications services, as its technology partners for the initiative and will begin implementation of its wireless solution in early 2003.

"Many of our customers call Roto-Rooter because of our proven track record of same-day, fast and professional service," said Stephen R. Poppe, chief information officer. "By equipping our field technicians and dispatchers with a mobile productivity tool, we will be able to respond to customer calls more quickly and cut back on the time technicians are required to spend at a customer site by significantly reducing the amount of paperwork they have to process."

"In service industries like plumbing, knowing where your field technicians are, getting them to customer sites quickly and collecting customer billing data from the field are top priorities," continued Poppe. "Wireless solutions provide the perfect way to streamline these tasks, and from our perspective, have become a necessity for service organizations."

Roto-Rooter will deploy Gearworks' mobile workforce management software, etrace, on the new Nextel i58sr, the industry's first ruggedized GPS-enabled phone. Roto-Rooter will be the first enterprise customer deploying a commercial application that utilizes the phone's global positioning data.

etrace will act as an electronic clipboard for Roto-Rooter's technicians, transmitting messages, job status, and GPS location in real-time back to Roto-Rooter's enterprise systems. At Roto-Rooter's dispatch centers, customer service representatives will be able to track technicians' locations on a digital fleet map, and as a result, distribute incoming service requests more quickly and accurately.

About Roto-Rooter Inc.
Roto-Rooter is the largest provider of plumbing and drain cleaning services in North America.

About Gearworks
Minneapolis-based Gearworks (www.gearworks.com) provides wireless and Web-based applications that improve business at the point of delivery - the last mile of the supply chain where dispatched mobile workers deliver goods or services to customers. The company's flagship product, etraceTM, runs on standard mobile devices and allows businesses to automate and manage transactions, data collection, customer relations and communications with dispatched workers. 

About Nextel
Nextel Communications is a leading provider of fully integrated wireless communications services and has built the largest guaranteed all-digital wireless network in the country covering thousands of communities across the United States.

Source: Gearworks News Release
For more information: http://www.gearworks.com

MobileInfo Comments and Advisory: Field dispatch using wireless has reached wide acceptance and any customer service oriented and cost-conscious business should not be without it. Create a sense of professionalism by using wireless dispatch. It is affordable - look at Roto-Rooter's case. 

It is interesting to see a computer-aided dispatch application being used on i58sr - a ruggedized smart phone with GPS from Nextel. While based on our older thinking, we might have thought that a PDA with bigger screen size is more appropriate for data collection, but Roto-Rooter's decision suggests that they can find where their technicians are and get the most important information to them through a small and relatively inexpensive handheld device (Nextel quotes $149 in retail). lease note that different device solutions fit different customer situations and cost sensitivities. Perhaps Roto-Rooter will graduate to a more complete solution in the next upgrade of its technology. Take small steps, if you are not bold enough to take big ones. Don't just stand still.

Note: This news release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and section 21E of Securities Exchange act of 1934 in USA. Similar provisions exist in other countries. There is no assurance that the stipulated plans of vendors will be implemented. MobileInfo does not warrant the authenticity of the information. Readers should take appropriate caution in developing plans utilizing these products, services and technology architectures.  All trademarks used in this summary are the property of their respective owners.

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