As part of a series of interviews with software developers, RER recently interviewed Ray Bonestroo, president ofGenisys Software about the newest features of the company’s software, the impact of Smartphones, and how the economy has forced rental companies to monitor assests more closely than ever.

RER: Tell us about the latest technological advances and functionalities of your rental business software.

Bonestroo: We are constantly adding features to both our legacy and graphical versions of our software. Examples of this are our ability to mass e-mail closed invoices or statements at night or at the end of the month; our new dashboard screens; the web reservations and web store modules; and many additions to our Smartphone software.

What are some of the trends you expect to see develop in the coming years in terms of rental industry software and its capabilities?

There will be more and more applications developed on Smartphones giving end users real-time access to their data. There are many new operating systems that we will be porting our software to over the next year or two (such as the Blackberry, iPhone, and the new Android OS).

What are some of the improvements and new developments your customers have been asking for in your equipment?

We get requests frequently to integrate with various Windows applications such as lien management and dispatching packages. Depending on the requests, we then either do the integration or add the feature set to our base application, so that it looks and feels like the rest of our software.

How have smart phones and hand-held devices changed the way rental companies manage their businesses? How will this trend continue to evolve?

With our Smartphone software you can check inventory availability, check rental rates, enter reservations, see open orders, manage deliveries and pickups, enter in meter readings on the jobsite, and see how each of your locations are doing for any date range (today, this week/month/quarter/year/or any other). You can even see who is working and when through our time clock application.

What technologies are “must-haves” for rental businesses going forward?

I think that going forward you will see more rental companies adopt telematics so they know not only where each piece of equipment is, they know the usage of it and have the ability to shut it down if the customer isn't paying promptly. Also they can use the GPS's software features to do a "geofence" around the equipment at night to help monitor theft. Depending on the modules you have you can also know when to send out technicians based on meter readings and engine health.

Have there been any surprises for you in terms of how rental companies are using technology in the face of the economic downturn?

Certainly this economic period has forced rental companies to monitor their fleet a lot closer and dispose of assets that are not performing or are under used. This has caused them to pay way more attention to the utilization reports and also the maintenance costs per make/model versus a competitor’s machine.