On the road with Synergy-enabled devices

Learn from Rural Computer Consultants’ success with devices and find out how they’re saving customers thousands

Based in Bird Island, MN, Rural Computer Consultants, Inc., is an established provider of software, computer equipment, and services to fuel distributers globally. Their Synergy/DE-based Fuel Distribution System (FDS) manages every aspect of the propane delivery process—from scheduling appointments to managing inventory and generating invoices.

Late last year, Rural’s customers began requesting a mobile version of FDS that they could run in their propane delivery trucks. Recognizing the potential benefits of such a product, Rural began the process of migrating their application to Synergy .NET so it could run on portable devices like smartphones and tablets.

This past June, Rural deployed their application on a Windows tablet for the first time, and about 130 users are now running the mobile version of FDS in their trucks. “The new application has made the drivers’ jobs so much easier,” declares Rural’s Fuel Programming Manager Nate Bahl. “From the built-in mapping that takes them turn by turn to their destinations, to the ability to measure to the tenth of a gallon how much is pumped at a site, and then generate and print an invoice in the truck to leave with the customer… it has significantly enhanced the experience for both the drivers and their customers.”

Another big selling point of Rural’s new application is that it provides a one-stop shop for customers who prefer to deal with just one vendor for their entire software and hardware solution. It also offers customers the option to run the software on whatever Windows devices they’re currently using. “Our competitors sell the hardware and software as a bundled unit, which we can do as well, but we will also work with any hand-held device our customers want to put in their trucks,” adds Bahl. “This is a significant benefit for propane companies who do not want to spend $5,000 – $20,000 per truck to replace their devices just so they will work with the software application.”

Because mobile devices don’t have persistent access to a Synergy license server, a new form of licensing for devices was needed. Synergy device licensing is a cloud-based service, and applications can run without requiring continuous access to the server or to the Internet.  Device licensing also enables ISVs to distribute their applications on devices without including a full version of Synergy/DE. Instead, they can simply distribute four small Synergy DLLs with their application, so less internal memory is required. In addition, device licensing gives Rural greater flexibility and control. States Bahl, “Device licensing gives us the power to license our applications; we can easily go online to activate or deactivate a device or a customer’s device whenever we need to.”

“Version 10.3 includes a lot of exciting things,” says Bahl. “Support for Synergy on devices in particular has opened up so many possibilities for our application, and I think other Synergex customers will be really happy about it as well.”