The phrase “time is money” has a multitude of applications in a business world that moves at breakneck speed. But if there’s one industry that aligns closer to this idiom than any other, it’s the trucking industry. The minute a vehicle is pulled off the road for repairs, for example, it no longer generates revenue. Suffice to say, the ability for a trucking operation to perform fast, accurate repair work is at a premium.
Of course, anyone who knows their way around a commercial truck repair facility understands that in order to conduct fast and accurate repairs, you need the ability to generate fast and accurate vehicle diagnostics.
For over 30 years, NEXIQ Technologies® has provided fleet operators, truck leasing companies and dealer service centers with just that—vehicle communication interfaces (VCI) that communicate with commercial trucks, quickly access vital diagnostic information and help expedite the repair process. This includes NEXIQ’s recently launched Blue-Link™ 2 vehicle interface, which combines the important vehicle diagnostic intelligence customers have come to expect from NEXIQ with the convenience of mobile accessibility.
To provide fleet managers and repair facilities with an up-close perspective of this incredibly easy-to-use diagnostic tool, Dave Shock, product manager, Snap-on Business Solutions/NEXIQ Technologies, answers some of the questions he has frequently encountered regarding the creation of Blue-Link 2 and the benefits it delivers.
Why did NEXIQ develop Blue-Link 2?
It’s pretty simple. Our customers wanted an inexpensive and convenient mobile vehicle interface that could provide quick access to basic diagnostic information—something truck drivers on the road or service writers at a repair facility could use with their smartphone instead of carrying around a laptop. The idea was to provide fast mobile access to basic information, which could then be passed on to a technician, who has a more comprehensive set of diagnostic tools to do the repair.
What would be the single greatest benefit of Blue-Link 2?
Although it’s difficult to zero in on a single attribute, I would have to say its compact size. Blue-Link 2 is small enough to fit in your pocket. Plus, it has embedded 9- and 16-pin connectors and supports seamless connectivity to a vehicle via Bluetooth® or Wi-Fi. No cables are needed, making Blue-Link 2 a cost-effective solution.
Talk about the creation of Blue-Link 2. What makes it unique?
Blue-Link 2 was developed primarily for use with applications that run on mobile devices. It’s one of the only RP1227 VCIs on the market that can function on both Android and iOS platforms. When used in conjunction with NEXIQ’s First-Link™ app, Blue-Link 2 becomes a triage tool for diagnosing trucks on the road or in the shop.
In what way does Blue-Link 2 benefit third-party app developers?
For starters, Blue-Link 2 is compatible with CAN FD protocol, which will be introduced in vehicles beginning with the 2025 model year. The included software developer kit allows third-party, open-source developers to easily incorporate the interface into their mobile diagnostic application. These developers especially appreciate Blue-Link 2’s exceptional throughput and power in supporting the development of iOS and Android solutions for communicating with vehicles. In fact, Blue-Link 2 has a lot of the same technology we used in the development of our USB-Link™ 3 VCI, so it has a lot of “horsepower.”
This means that OEMs, aftermarket manufacturers and large fleets can use the Blue-Link 2 platform to create their own cost-effective diagnostic application or service writer tool. An example would be the 360 Write Up app by Navistar® for International® Trucks, which provides dealers with a standardized, robust and complete write-up process.
How can those in the trucking repair industry learn more about Blue-Link 2?