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Telematics suppliers step up fleet activity for 2012

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Competition in the telematics market is heating up after two companies laid out ambitious growth plans in the UK fleet sector.

Tracker is looking to become a top three provider within the next 12 months after investing millions of pounds in product development, while US-owned Telogis is targeting its SAAS-based products (software as a service) at larger fleets and through manufacturers after linking up with Ford.

Tracker’s latest solution Tracker Fleet has been designed following consultation with fleet customers, as well as potential telematics users.

Clive Girling, Tracker marketing and marketing and technology director, said: “Despite being relatively quiet in the industry for some time, we now have the product and pricing platforms to re-establish Tracker as the primary brand in the market.”

Girling told Fleet News that the company had watched the market “mature significantly” over the past two years, growing at 20% per annum.

“We now feel it is set for continued growth for a number of years and with the maturing market comes the type of customers that have resisted the technology up until now, but are now looking for a brand they can trust, service and support levels that meet their expectations, and value for money grounded in a real return on investment,” he said.

“These customers are not early adopters that are prepared to take a risk, but the mass market who want proven technology from proven stable organisations.”

The company’s new offering incorporates features such as its patented Transient Voltage Detection technology. This detects electrical noise to accurately determine when an engine is running and eliminate false ‘idling’ readings, which Tracker claims are prevalent in many of today’s systems.

It also examines driver performance, a growing trend in fleet monitoring, and has a flexible reporting suite that can be personalised with KPIs to meet the specific needs of each of its customers.

Vehicles can be arranged by groups according to use, such as sales or service, or by region or depot, and can have identifiers added to them.
Girling would not reveal how many units, priced at £169, the company is expecting to sell, but his ambitions are clear.

“We expect to significantly increase our share of the market and to place us at least in the top three volume providers in the UK this coming year.”

Telogis, meanwhile, has only been in the UK since 2008 and has just a few hundred vehicles on its cloud-based system, but is gearing for growth with its high-end solution.

It recently launched Fleet 9 fleet management software which improves reporting and alerts for its routing, real-time work management and telematics products.

Sergio Barata, Telogis head of EMEA, told Fleet News: “Our offering is more complex than fleets will be used to. Telematics tends to be for the fleet manager but route optimisation and scheduling tends to be the operations director. This means engagement needs to be across the business.”

Barata hopes to end 2012 with Telogis units in around 8,000 vehicles in Europe, primarily vans, with around 30% of those in the UK.

However, growth could accelerate further if a global agreement signed this year with Ford comes to the UK.

Ford now fits Telogis systems as an optional extra to vehicles in the USA. Barata hopes to bring the deal to Europe in early 2012 and doesn’t rule out similar agreements with other manufacturers: “It’s the route to market in the future.”

He adds: “Our core audience is large enterprises with large fleets delivering day-to-day services - ie. they have daily challenges out in the field that can leverage our optimisation and scheduling platforms.

“The requirements in the market are for synergies on ETAs , predictability and location management. These businesses understand how many drops they make a day and the profit opportunities of increasing their averages.

“We offer the tools they need to improve,” he says.

Insurance link-up with Direct Line

Tracker is partnering Direct Line to evaluate how best to deliver
telematics technology into the insurance arena.

The pilot follows in the footsteps of Trimble’s partnership with Zurich, and Aviva’s telematics insurance offering.

However, the Tracker and Direct Line pilot will focus on the retail market as the insurance company does not currently offer fleet insurance.

Andy Goldby, director of motor underwriting at Direct Line, said:  “We hope to understand what driving factors increase the chances of having a claim.

“We will be looking at speed, distance, time of day, acceleration, braking and cornering. If successful, we hope to make the product available shortly after the end of the pilot.”

Click here for telematics best practice and procurement insight

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