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Top 10 innovations in connected fleet technology

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

By: Maria Sotra, Vice President Marketing, Geotab Inc.

In 2020, there will be over 20 billion connected devices in use, Gartner predicts. Connected devices are already in the home – learning thermostats and refrigerators can connect to Wi-Fi – but the “Internet of Things” (IoT, short for the vast network of connected devices) is also making a big impact in the automotive space.

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Leasing, car rental, public transportation and auto manufacturing are all being disrupted by connected devices. For example, the integration of IoT and telematics creates new innovation opportunities for the automotive industry through add-on hardware, software solutions and mobile apps.

By connecting vehicles to the internet to send information or receive commands, connected devices make it possible to collect data that leads to better insight into business systems.

Here are some key innovations happening in the world of fleet:

Collision avoidance systems

Collision avoidance systems are a valuable tool for improving fleet safety and minimizing cost and damage. Systems can use visual and audible alerts to warn drivers of impending collisions, unsafe lane changes, following too close and other potential hazards.

Remote diagnostics

Proper maintenance is critical to keeping vehicles on the road and customers happy. With remote diagnostics, fleet and maintenance managers can easily identify vehicles that are having issues and proactively re-route them to a preferred service location. The ability to remotely access real-time odometer and diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) ensures that vehicles go through adequate maintenance cycles and helps optimize the residual value of the vehicle for remarketing.

Mobile video

In-cab video cameras are gaining popularity for driver coaching and accident reconstruction. Video can add insight to telematics data by providing photographic evidence to protect fleets against insurance fraud or false claims. Fleet managers can also use video to record coaching opportunities such as driver’s fatigue, smoking or cell phone use. Cameras can be mounted to the truck, road or cab-facing and typically record continuously. When a specific rule is triggered, such as an accident, harsh driving, backing up when leaving or forward/lane departure, video can be sent automatically for viewing.

Gamification

Companies in many industries are adopting gamification as a way to engage, motivate and retain employees. Fleets can take advantage of gamification apps to achieve company goals. Leaderboards and medals encourage friendly competition among drivers, while managers can take advantage of weekly and quarterly trend reports.

Gamification apps use telematics data to score and monitor driving habits. Managers can tailor the settings to give weight to the company goals that matter most, such as minimizing speeding, idling or engine abuse.

Bluetooth beacons

Misplacing inventory, tools or equipment can be a costly mistake. Fleets can keep tabs on their valuable assets with Bluetooth low energy beacons, GPS fleet tracking and a fleet management platform. This technology supports inventory and container tracking. Some beacons even include embedded sensors for measuring proximity, impact, temperature, light exposure and battery life.

Temperature and tire pressure sensors

Temperature tracking solutions integrated with telematics can help fleets comply with food safety guidelines. Wireless sensors mounted inside the truck can monitor and record 0.5-degree trailer temperature changes in real-time. Popular with commercial truck, bus and emergency service vehicle fleets, tire pressure and temperature monitoring can deliver immediate SMS or email alerts for pressure changes.

In-vehicle verbal feedback

In-vehicle notifications have been in use for many years, but spoken feedback takes coaching drivers to the next level. The Geotab GO TALK solution provides real-time verbal feedback to drivers. The technology has almost unlimited applications. Fleet managers can configure a spoken message for events such as fastening a seat belt, exceeding a set speed limit or idling the vehicle too long.       

Salt and sand spreading monitors

Integrating spreader control systems with telematics makes it possible for municipal fleets to monitor how much material has been spread and where. A fleet manager can use this technology to track quantity spread, areas covered, time spent and even compare rates of spreading to ensure operators aren’t applying too much or too little material. An added benefit is having the ability to confirm which streets have been completed for customers.

Virtual key

Use virtual key solutions to lock or unlock a car door from a smartphone, avoiding the need to manage physical keys at the office.

Autonomous vehicles

One of the most significant ways IoT is disrupting the automotive industry is through the convergence of automobile manufacturers and technology companies. Global tech companies like Apple and Google are developing autonomous vehicles, while traditional automakers like BMW and Ford are integrating more technology into their cars.

Passenger transportation is transforming in many ways. In the near future, private car owners will be able to allow their autonomous vehicles to take passengers when they are not driving them, converting the car into a new revenue stream.

Open platform telematics is a vehicle’s hub, connecting multiple devices through one centralized communications system. The new wave of connected devices brings real benefits for companies and their customers. Using big data for benchmarking and smart transportation networks are paving the way for smart fleets.

Are you making the most of your data? To learn more about the benefits of telematics and connected devices for your business, visit geotab.com or elementfleet.com/why-element/fleet-technology-innovation.

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