Whether asking for driving directions to a new restaurant, checking the weather for weekend plans, or ordering a bag of dog food online, voice-based technology has become a staple of modern life. Although most people associate these apps with making routine tasks around the house a little more convenient, one company took this technology on the road, allowing commercial drivers to request and receive fleet data with voice commands.
PILOT PROGRAM LAUNCHES
Debuting at the Best in Fleet conference in Miami Beach, Florida, this past November, the fleet industry’s first voice-based technology is the centerpiece of a pilot program of ARI customers and management team. Over 150 of ARI’s current clients are working with the company to find the best uses for this innovative solution in both accessing and updating their company vehicles’ data—including such information as fuel consumption and pricing, accident updates, maintenance scheduling, downtime estimates, and purchase order tracking.
The voice-activated service works through ARI’s app for Amazon’s popular virtual personal assistant, Alexa, which is available on mobile phone platforms and through Amazon’s own Echo products. Prizing itself as the world’s largest family-owned fleet management company, ARI is well positioned to test a wide variety of user needs through the development process.
This was the second year for the Best in Fleet conference, which brought together leading figures from of the fleet management industry to see the field’s innovation at work. Many of ARI’s clients—including Comcast, MasTec Advanced Technologies, and XTO Energy—were on hand to demonstrate how they implemented ARI technology into their fleets and how it has bettered their operations.
CUSTOMER INSIGHTS VITAL
Having ARI technology and data readily available to fleet managers and their drivers was the goal when the company first launched its web-based customer portal, ARI insights®. During this pilot program, end users are able to interact with their fleet data in a brand-new way.
“As Alexa and other technologies like it creep into more parts of our daily lives, it made sense for us to explore if our clients would benefit from this new way of engaging with ARI, specifically by integrating it with our ARI insights portal,” says Don Woods, director of client information services, ARI.
ARI currently uses the pilot program to hone in on customers’ most pressing requests as well as defining the most useful responses that fleet managers and drivers can apply to their routine tasks. For example, users can ask Alexa to fetch information related to fuel, accidents, maintenance, downtime, and purchase orders. ARI has tracked customers’ queries to Alexa to additionally build data points that could be added as both the customer base expands and the voice-activated technology updates.
“Through the pilot program, we hope to learn more about how people actually want to use the technology in the field and if it creates efficiencies in managing their fleet,” Woods adds.
USING THE APP
As the pilot program grows, ARI developers will look to provide clients with access to their information more quickly through Alexa. Rather than logging into the ARI insights® customer portal in the traditional manner or calling an ARI representative on the phone to ask questions, ARI’s clients can now receive real-time answers as soon as words leave their mouths. The ARI Alexa app allows fleet managers more time to analyze their data and take action to run their fleets more efficiently and improve their bottom lines.
ARI believes the voice-based technology could also create efficiencies exponentially, too, as people shift toward Alexa, thereby eliminating the need to make a phone call outside their routine communications. Managers and drivers can now ask Alexa out loud and receive the information the same way. The vocal interface will not only be a boon for office efficiency in accessing routine data instantly but will also allow a safer and hands-free option for drivers looking to receive fleet information on the go.
Working closely with customers to solve complex fleet management problems, ARI combines business insight and optimal lifecycle analysis, sustainable fleet practices, best-in-class services, and high-powered technology to drive vehicle fleet efficiency up and costs down, thus uncovering as much value as your fleet can deliver.
As with any technology, as users adapt and integrate the ARI Alexa app into their routine, they will discover new uses for it. ARI hopes to springboard from the pilot program into a full-scale rollout of the technology before next year’s Best in Fleet conference, which will allow all of the company’s customers to see—and hear—the process in real time.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Find out more about ARI’s Alexa app and other ARI fleet management services, visit www.arifleet.com.