Fleet News

Webwatch: we review what’s hot on the ‘net

IF BT uses something then there must be something in it, right? The mega-fleet announced in April that it had reduced its accident rate by 30% by using Virtual Fleet Risk Management to train 20,000 of its 70,000 employees in a bid to reduce accident rates (Fleet News, June 15, 2004).

BT said it wanted an ‘unconventional’ solution. Visit www.vfrm.net and it’s obvious this is no run-of-the-mill offering. Some conventions are adhered to: masthead, lefthand menu with links to Home, News, Contact Us and so on.

The site lays out its stall well: you’re told what VFRM means (Virtual Fleet Risk Manager) and that it is an ‘online driver safety management system designed to help organisations manage their occupational road risk’.

There’s the latest road safety-related news from the UK, US and Australia, though I don’t know why these regions are featured in particular. Take a plunge into the main, central area of the site and things take an unusual path. Launch the VFRM feature tour and you’re treated to a film and narrative description of what the online offering is all about – it’s the most effective method I’ve seen yet of ensuring the message gets across.

You can also sign up here for a password-protected demo, which I did a week ago and as yet haven’t had a response. An alternative is to book a demonstration via the homepage.

This fancy stuff is nothing compared to what’s promised in the Highway Code link at the top of the homepage. Here you’re invited to watch animations or films and answer related questions. It looks as if it could be cutting-edge interactivity.

However, despite using a link to download a bit of software meant to enable me to play the movies and games, the gremlins won the day and the screens in this section remained motionless. To be fair to VFRM this was probably down to my IT department’s restrictions on web access.

The potential to impress and educate looked considerable. I will give VFRM the benefit of the doubt and recommend you try out this section for yourself.

The lowdown:
The site: www.vfrm.net

In favour

  • Very impressive visually. Cleverly designed to look simple, while hiding a great deal of information. Cartoon-style graphics and movie footage a real treat

    Against

  • Our experience seemed to be dogged by gremlins
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