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FLEET APPS: Fleet app-etite for mobile help lifts off

Date: 30 May 2013

There has been an explosion in the number of mobile apps available in the business car arena since our last look at the market a year ago. Jack Carfrae looks at some of the best available for fleet operators and their drivers.

Alphabet Alphaguide

Designed for customers of the UK's third largest leasing company - and free to download to the same people - Alphaguide is something of a one-stop-shop for corporate drivers. It contains information and advice on vehicle ordering, maintenance and defleeting, plus helpful tips such as how to book in for servicing, windscreen repairs and a guide to short-term hire vehicles. Tyre fitters/vendors authorised by the firm can be located by GPS, and the My Vehicle function allows users to store insurance details and other such information.
There's also a suite of accident management functionality, including an easy access line to Alphabet's driver service centre and the emergency services, and an accident report facility with witness, third-party, location and photography abilities.

Mark Gibson, head of marketing and business development, Alphabet
"In essence, we've designed the app to act as a portable driver support resource throughout the entire lifecycle of their fleet vehicle.
"Fleet teams should spend less time fielding routine enquiries while drivers experience hassle-free travelling and can access important information while they are on the move.
"On average, people have 23 apps installed and have used nine of those within the past 30 days, while almost a third of time spent online is through mobile devices. With those kinds of figures, it made sense for us to launch an app to the UK market."

Audi Mileage Tracker

Not only is this app free to download, you don't have to be operating a fleet of Audis to use it. Its sole purpose is to make business mileage reports and expenses claims easier and more accurate, which it executes by tracking each trip via GPS and automatically generating an expenses report.
It isn't a case of pinching the data from Google maps either, because the system logs journeys from door-to-door in real time, so it accounts for traffic jams and drivers deviating  from their usual route. Regular trips can also be programmed into the app and replicated later on. The reports can be converted to spreadsheets and emailed to colleagues and managers, so you don't even have to print them out.

Nathan Dennis, fleet & aftersales marketing manager, Audi UK
"We wanted to help our fleet drivers and make their lives easier. We decided that the best route to do this was by offering them some kind of utility. mileage tracking and its tax implications was something that most fleet drivers could do with some help with. Coupling this requirement with the explosion in the ownership and usage of smartphones and applications led us to the development of the mileage tracker app.
"In the first instance we developed only for iOS, but the response has been so overwhelmingly positive that we are now looking into Android and Blackberry versions. It just goes to show that having utility at the core of your marketing really is important."