Since the end of last year we’ve been working on a number of significant developments to the exchange which will have a very real and immediate impact, enhancing both the ‘communication’ aspect of the website and also enabling us to offer a more tailored and effective range of services to all members.
Notifications & Messages – New and Archived
The first thing you will notice is the new message strip underneath the main red navigation bar. This replaces the panels which were previously on the right hand side of the page. All new notifications and Interactive messages are now being automatically pushed to your browser within a few seconds without any need to refresh the page. You can view an archive of all messages and notifications by clicking the ‘View All’ button on the left hand side.
This new feature is powered by a sophisticated application called ‘Lightstreamer’ which is now used on a number of well known financial websites, and handles the AJAX updates needed to make the exchange work in real time. You can read more about this here (we’re using the ‘Allegro’ version).
Individual User Log-in and User Details
The next stage of this project is to make the exchange into a ‘multi-user’ platform. Currently our members log-in with a single username and password, with the ability to set a few different user roles where required. Although this isn’t a problem for members with a single user, many member accounts have a number of staff in the traffic and ops department, all handling different aspects of their business. The ‘multi-user’ project will ensure that every individual user has their own log-in details for the exchange, and therefore their own identity – which can include first & last names, job title, department name and even a nickname if required (assuming it’s appropriate!).
By every user having their own log-in and details, we’re able to implement a number of suggestions made over the years including:
- individual users will be able to filter what type of notifications they receive (subject to their account having the appropriate subscription type)
- interactive messaging can be delivered at the user level, rather than at account level
- a more comprehensive range of user roles can be introduced, to give the account administrator more control
Member Directory Redesign
The member directory is being completely re-designed, with improved lookups and workflows. We are also improving the specialist vehicle search feature to make it easier to locate a member with specific vehicle types.
By updating their specialist vehicles section, members will automatically be able to ‘opt-in’ to receive notifications of Goods to Move requiring those vehicle types – this will save wasted calls.
Is a User Online or Unavailable?
The Lightstreamer software will work in conjunction with the new log-in developments to show whether an individual user is on-line/off-line or busy; it will also facilitate Instant Messaging between users. This will be available in the following locations:
- the Member Directory
- the GTM & RJ listings
- the Chat Forums
If a member has several users in their account, one user being ‘online’ will indicate that the account is online.
We believe that this facility will be especially useful for out of hours contact – we are also investigating whether this feature can be extended to work on mobile phones so that you could in effect take your status with you out of the office.
Are your Documents up to date?
We are shortly going to start using our new ‘Compliance Registry’ service to keep member documents up to date – these will be available to view through a link on each members Accreditation page.
Linking Depots, Creating Groups
The new database enhancements will enable us to offer a range of advanced services, including the ability to link depots within the same company and create ‘private groups’.
‘On Demand’ Tracking
We are currently evaluating a couple of personal tracking devices which could be used to provide ‘on demand’ tracking for members – these are battery-powered devices which would be controlled from the web interface so that the ‘on/off’ is determined by the individual member and potentially tied into Return Journey postings ie., a member could elect to be tracked for the duration of their posted Return Journey, but turn the device off if they wanted privacy.
We’ll be posting more details about these developments over the next few weeks, so please watch out for the updates.