Dispatch, maintenance, safety, and driver monitoring are major aspects of a company’s fleet management system. If a management system experiences technical difficulties, operations are slowed to a bare minimum, costing companies time, money, and sometimes, repeat business.
There’s no discrediting the importance of telematics systems, and the amount of system providers on the market proves that. Yet all system providers have their niche. Some are more focused on safety, others target time savings, some are best for large fleets, and some are best for small fleets.
IN THE GRAY
Systems that focus on driver behavior often track similar aspects: speeding, sharp cornering, and harsh braking. There’s never a good reason for a driver to exceed speed limits, and there’s no excuse for sharp cornering, either. But there is a gray area for harsh braking.
Harsh braking is seen as a negative through the lens of most telematics systems. And although it can be an indication of distracted driving, it can also be an indication of alert driving. But how can the differences be distinguished?
One analytics provider, SmartDrive, focuses heavily on safety with the use of its system’s video component. SmartDrive believes combining video with analytics can transform the transportation industry and offers solutions to make that transformation a reality.
Serving many realms of the transportation industry, SmartDrive offers safety solutions for businesses in industries such as roofing, local delivery, and ready-mix concrete. SmartDrive can be integrated using only one camera or multiple cameras. However, it is encouraged to integrate at least two cameras—one cab facing and one road facing—so that SmartDrive can more easily monitor driving behavior. Fleets have the option of employing additional cameras around the vehicle and in the cab to assess other areas of safety.
Fleet managers want to know that their drivers are alert and not distracted, says SmartDrive CEO Steve Mitgang, and visual monitoring gives fleet managers confidence in the information and safety data compiled by SmartDrive, whose technology is constantly using algorithms to assess the safety of a driver’s behavior.
SmartDrive’s algorithms adjust to the industry of the truck in use. Mitgang gives the example of a ready-mix concrete vehicle where its risk factor depends on its state of operation. This algorithm adjustment allows SmartDrive to be “hyper-accurate” with its safety data collection, Mitgang says.
CHECKS AND BALANCES
Algorithms, data, and analytics are great things, but context is needed to tell the whole story. A telematics system’s data only shows high-velocity changes. Yet, SmartDrive goes one step further. In addition to SmartDrive’s data collection, if poor driving behavior is detected, employees of SmartDrive physically review the occurrence from its video-captured content to double-check the driver’s behavior and determine if the event was truly unsafe. After analyzing the context and data of the event, scores are given to drivers to suggest better driving behaviors. These scores can also be given directly to fleet managers for driver coaching.
Aside from offering more insight into what allows fleets to be safer, video capture in conjunction with telematics offers hard proof for insurance purposes.
“The industry is in crisis from claim costs,” Mitgang says. “Fleets know there is a better way with SmartDrive.” Having recorded proof of what happens in the cab and on the road during an event that ends in an insurance claim can prove helpful for fleets of all sizes.
Telematics systems and fleet tracking would be impossible without the mobile networks that power them, and those networks are rolling out significant changes by the end of the year.
Verizon announced plans to pull its 3G network almost completely by December 31, and other wireless network providers have announced similar timelines. What will become of telematics systems built on the 3G infrastructure when that happens? Fleet managers will likely feel the brunt of this shift if their telematics system runs on 3G. This migration from a 3G to 4G network gives fleet managers the opportunity to rethink their current telematics systems and consider a more streamlined platform for their entire fleet management system.
SmartDrive launched its open platform with 4G partnerships that allow fleets to consolidate their telematics services and video systems with best-of-class choice and lower costs. These partnerships allow SmartDrive to feed data acquired from SmartDrive-equipped trucks into existing telematics systems. Fleet managers and owners aren’t bound to a certain telematics provider—they have the advantage of choosing among a variety of providers. This allows companies to have a one-stop source for all their fleet-related needs.
SmartDrive provides “one box that powers it all,” offering a single integrated and aligned understanding of time, location, and driver and vehicle performance to third-party applications.
Geotab is a SmartDrive-compatible telematics provider. “These unique partnerships change the game for reduced fleet costs,” Mitgang says. Video, telematics, ELD all come together with SmartDrive and Geotab.
“Collaborating with Geotab allows us to make good on the promise of convergence with a company that shares our commitment to providing open, connected, and flexible solutions for fleets of every size,” Mitgang says. “We believe this is a transformational shift—and it’s only the beginning of what is possible for our customers.”
Saving time, money, and retaining drivers should begin with research into one’s own business. How are current drivers spending their time? Are they safe drivers? What really caused that accident? These are questions that the SmartDrive system answers on a regular basis. With SmartDrive’s 4G compatibility and partnerships with existing telematics providers, fleet owners can be worry-free during the inevitable 3G shutdown and take advantage of ELDs, tracking, workflow, routing, safety analytics, and more on a streamlined and seamless platform.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Find out more about SmartDrive, visit www.smartdrive.net.
MODERN WORKTRUCK SOLUTIONS: MAY 2019 ISSUE
Did you enjoy this article?
Subscribe to the FREE Digital Edition of Modern WorkTruck Solutions magazine.