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Fleet News debates: Are apps useful tools for fleets or just good for entertainment?

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The growing popularity of smartphones and tablet computers has brought apps into easy reach of almost every fleet manager and company driver.

But as well as providing entertainment through games and social media, the right app can have real business benefits. Our experts discuss how useful apps are for them.

Which fleet-related apps do you and/or your drivers regularly use?

Georgina Smith, fleet administrator, Healthcare at Home I have tried to encourage the use of our fleet provider’s app as this would help our drivers to become more vehicle aware: they would receive service and MOT reminders and have a direct contact in case of emergencies.

Paul Green, group transport manager, Selwood Group I use Ring-Go which allows you to pay for parking at selected car parks without the need to have the right change. When it works it’s simple and hassle-free; if your parking ticket is about to expire you can even extend your time through your phone.

Christian Hook, ecommerce manager, Lex Autolease Our drivers are able to use the Mobile LAi app via their iPhone and iPad to book a service, request new tyres, report an accident, get a quote for a new company car or look through the reviews of What Car?

Selwyn Cooper, national corporate operations manager, Volvo All senior staff have Volvo on Call fitted as standard. There is an app that enables the user to access information about their car including a check to see whether the car is locked, while service/maintenance information and recent trip info can be downloaded for expense claims.

Are there any downsides to using apps?

Georgina Smith Getting a phone signal may be a problem.

Paul Green I have found that some car park sites that partner with the Ring-Go app don’t have 3G service in the vicinity, which is quite a large oversight. But the biggest problem I see is risk. Encouraging drivers to use hand-held devices to obtain management information surely can’t be the greatest solution.

Christian Hook Apps usually provide access only to a sub-section of the functionality of the fleet supplier’s main website or portal which can be frustrating if the information sought is contained on the main website but not on the app.

Selwyn Cooper There can be huge variation in the quality of apps. Some are well designed but others are not and consume large amounts of memory. You often need to have several apps to do individual tasks, which can be frustrating.

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  • Rebecca Hart - 08/10/2013 00:02

    Mobile devices are becoming integral for how we conduct business and how we live our daily lives. Mobile apps on smartphones and tablets can help fleet managers save time, boost productivity, and make their jobs easier. However, businesses need to keep abreast of the new technologies and ensure that apps are user friendly and compatible with their chosen and ever changing mobile devices. There are many forms of operations; Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and other smartphones and tablets using Microsoft® Exchange ActiveSync®. Some Businesses commonly use BlackBerry devices which are not compatible with all apps. We must commence by configuring mobile devise settings at an organisational level, encourage an application culture through an IT support infrastructure and basic colleague training. Once drivers have used apps effectively they will be confident in using them more frequently.

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