Fleet News

Small fleets switch on to benefits of telematics

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A growing number of small to medium-sized businesses are beginning to appreciate the benefits telematics can bring.

That’s the view of Jean Phillippe Bouchard, a market analyst at the International Data Corporation (IDC).

He told Fleet News: “The markets for fleet and workforce management products are underpenetrated, especially in the case of SMEs.

“This is changing quickly as businesses begin to recognise the tremendous value these solutions can create.”
Telematics has typically been considered by large corporates operating hundreds or thousands of vehicles, but Bouchard suggests the SME market is ripe for growth.

He said: “As users become more savvy, next-generation solutions are filling gaps in demand and addressing the key pain points that businesses with mobile workforces deal with on a daily basis.”

Bouchard’s market view comes as a flurry of new products and services from telematics providers are being targeted at fleets of all sizes.

Fleetmatics has announced the release of a new platform and three new products: Reveal – a business-intelligence based fleet management product specifically aimed at SMEs; Reveal+ – a version of Reveal for larger enterprises; and Work, which provides even greater insight and is designed to manage customers, jobs, schedules, invoices and fieldworkers.

Jim Travers, Fleetmatics CEO, said: “Whether for a business with five service vehicles or many thousands, Fleetmatics’ new platform helps businesses to be smarter about their mobile workforces and turn them into true engines for growth.”

BK Boiler Services, which operates a fleet of 16 LCVs, says using telematics has helped cut its costs. “Our van mileage has almost halved, dropping down from 28,000 to 15,000 miles per year. That’s a huge reduction in fuel costs,” said the business’s owner, Mark Worthington.

Fleetmatics says it is providing customers with greater visibility of their business, such as how the fleet has performed operationally in the past and how its performance compares with similar businesses.

“This capability is powered by tens of billions of data points gathered through the system over the past several years,” Travers said.

The Fleetmatics launch came as it announced global revenue of £30.7 million, up 35% year-on-year for the first quarter of 2014.

It also reported approximately 472,000 active vehicles under subscription, up 32.6% compared to more than 356,000 during the first quarter of 2013.

For the full year, revenue is expected to be in the range of £135m to £136m, which would represent annual growth of more than 29%.

While Fleetmatics focuses on a range of fleet management products, other telematics providers are hoping to attract new business with less traditional applications. 

MySafeDrive, offered by eDrive Group, is similar to the insurance-based telematics systems offered to consumers, and is aimed at LCV and car fleets.

Individual drivers have their own log-in and are given alerts and updates.

It monitors how they are driven giving drivers points scores which can be used to gain discounts on products and services that can be used for private cars.

The system can’t be turned off, so driving will be monitored during private mileage, but MySafeDrive doesn’t track vehicles.

However, it can be used as a crash management system, recording what a vehicle does in the moments before an impact.

Simon Murray, sales and marketing director at eDrive, said: “This isn’t a fleet management system.

“It offers the benefit of telematics in monitoring the driver, but also gives responsibility back to the driver for their own behaviour on the road.

“The system can be set with a threshold so the fleet manager is alerted to poor driving and that can be addressed, but the points scores are usually enough to encourage the drivers to modify their behaviour and drive safely.

“It doesn’t drill down in as much detail as some systems but it encourages driver buy-in because of the incentives and could be used on the grey fleet.”

MySafeFleet can be programmed with maintenance alerts for servicing and tyre changes to ensure these are carried out.

There are partners signed up with MySafeFleet for insurance, vehicle servicing and maintenance.

And, as points scored build up, drivers can use them against the cost of insurance, tyres or fuel on any vehicle.

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