The market opportunities in the UK to provide fleet management services are growing rapidly. Telematics, connected cars, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and other innovations are enabling an expanding range of new and improved automotive IoT and fleet management services.
For providers of fleet management services, these new innovations represent new revenue generating opportunities in the form of new services that can be offered to fleet owners. At the same time, for fleet owners, these innovations provide new methods to continue to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs.
In general, from the perspective of a fleet owner, the benefits of a fleet management service are clear. An effective fleet management service can give a fleet owner better control over vehicles, drivers and the entire operation, while reducing costs and improving safety.
At the base of a good fleet management service is the ability to efficiently gather and analyse telematics statistics from the vehicle fleets. One company that is assisting fleet management service providers in this area is ERM Advanced Telematics. The company manufactures and sells what it refers to as configurable, device-based telematics solutions that generate and gather this telematics information.
“We provide fleet management service providers with the tools to run a successful business and provide the services their customers want and need,” explained Eitan Kirshenboim, the Chief Marketing Officer at ERM.
Kirshenboim notes that the company offers a wide range of entry level, mid-range and high end telematics solutions for fleet management service providers.
At the centre of these telematics solutions is the company’s StarLink tracking device. Each device comes with a 2G or 3G cellular module and support for GPS and GLONASS location platform. The devices are designed for simple installation and fast integration with any fleet management software application, says Kirshenboim.
According to Kirshenboim, StarLink and its location tracking capabilities serve as the starting point for all levels of fleet management services.
Value Added Services
Each StarLink device includes a series of external com ports and a one wire multi-interface to which add-on accessories can be easily attached at any time, even if the device has already been installed on a vehicle.
Kirshenboim described that these accessories provide additional features and enable fleet management companies to offer value added services based on an “endless variety of telematics information” each accessory gathers or monitors. He considers this product modularity to be a strong enabler for service providers to offer more advanced, feature-rich services.
Examples of accessories that can be added to ERM’s tracking device include sensors and interfaces for monitoring vehicle diagnostics, driver behaviour and driver identification, many of these accessories are manufactured by ERM and others come from third parties.
For vehicle diagnostics, the company has accessories that can monitor numerous parameters of a vehicle’s operation, such the fuel level, engine temperature, tire pressure and more. In the area of driver behaviour, ERM offers accessories to alert if a driver performs any number of predefined manoeuvres considered to be unsafe or inefficient, such as harsh braking while turning or unnecessary acceleration.
Kirshenboim points out that while many of these sensors are readily available in the market, ERM uniquely incorporates the monitored information into overall fleet management processes.
“While many of the third party sensors that are used in vehicles today are still standalone, meaning that they are designed for the driver only to take action, our solutions are fully integrated,” said Kirshenboim. “This allows the fleet owner to analyse the gathered information and to take immediate action in response to alerts.”
Kirshenboim feels that this integration enables service providers to deliver advanced and enhanced services so that fleet owners can generate more value from these services.
Kirshenboim highlights that ERM’s accessories include embedded processors that collect telematics information based on configurable rule-based models.
“What this means is that rather than transferring a lot of raw data, our solutions analyse the data in real-time and transmit only relevant telematics information that is required by the fleet management service provider and its customers. This makes the cost of transferring the information and analysing it on the servers significantly less expensive and follow up decision making much easier,” said Kirshenboim.
Kirshenboim summarised that the collection of telematics intelligence according to rule-based models along with the modular design of the company’s devices enables ERM to “customise telematics solutions to support the business logic of nearly any fleet management service. This positions the fleet management service provider to constantly improve its service offerings and pursue new initiatives.”
ERM sells its telematics solutions through partnerships with fleet management service providers, who in turn install the hardware and accessories on the vehicles of the customers who subscribe to their services. ERM also works with other providers of telematics services, such as stolen vehicle recovery companies
“Our customers are in fact the service providers and we consider ourselves to be partners in their success. We want to help our service provider partners to win more business and become leaders in their markets,” declared Kirshenboim. “This is our main mission!”
To this end, he recommends that fleet management service providers position themselves to support the current service needs of customers and, at the same time, be prepared for future requirements. He says that this statement applies to both the technologies and the business processes deployed by a fleet management service provider.
“Too often we are approached by fleet management companies that are using telematics hardware that is limiting the services that they can offer and restricting its business from growing. This is a common scenario, although it is creating a lot of business opportunities for us.
“We are striving to make fleet management simple-to-use, easy-to-understand, fast-to-implement and even fun, which is the feedback we regularly get from our partners,” finished Kirshenboim.