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The start point for the best source of fleet information

Focus the key to connected future

Date: 08 October 2019   |   Author: Sean Keywood

The fleets of tomorrow will need to identify the key aspects of the increased information they receive from vehicles, as they face being 'drowned in data'. Sean Keywood reports.

Fleet managers will need to make sure they are not overwhelmed by excessive amounts of data following the advent of connected cars.

That was one of the views expressed by industry experts at Let's Explore 2019, the third annual event of its kind organised by the former TomTom Telematics, which has now been rebranded as Webfleet Solutions following its sale earlier this year to Bridgestone.

This year's event was on the subject of data performance, and one of the sessions saw panellists grilled about how fleets can use data to improve efficiency.

In the course of this, Gavin Urtel, director of vehicle camera firm ICanProveIT, was asked what challenges the Internet of Things and connected cars might pose, and he warned that a situation where data which was previously analogue, kept in the vehicle and only be seen by the driver, could now be sent remotely to the fleet manager, could provide a pitfall if not handled properly.

He said: "That data from a vehicle being sent remotely does mean the fleet manager is being drowned in data.

"As more and more is being extracted regarding what's happening to the vehicle or being done to it, in my view an organisation that doesn't adjust going forward will be at risk.

"A person who analyses it and can benefit from it is going to be in a very strong position going forward."

Fellow panellist Glenn Sherwood, director of RL Automotive, said that managers would need to be selective about which data they chose to focus on.

He said: "[Managers should ask] what are the pinch points in the business? There's a lot of tech that can play into that.

"It's about taking data and working out what is crucial to this business. It's those key areas you have got to analyse by exceptions, and you also need to have a culture change of how people use that data as well.

"People have to understand how to use it so it's beneficial for them and the business."

According to Sherwood, organisational culture also has a role to play in the use of data for fleet safety purposes.

He said: "It's about education. Data is a key for change in a lot of ways. You have got a lot of demands on peoples time and resources, and it's not getting any easier, and that can create a safety situation.

"In the past safety was just ticking a box. With technology all that stuff can be proven and it's key for the future that we drive behaviour, for that is equally as important as the tech you use."

Another speaker convinced of the importance of data to fleets was Jerome Boullet, Bridgestone's EMEA digital strategy director and innovation committee chairman.

He said that while Bridgestone saw the role of fleets increasing in the future, there needed to be a meeting of minds between fleet managers focused on issues such as vehicle uptime and total cost of ownership, and others in their organisations looking more narrowly at productivity.

He said: "These need to start working together to optimise the business. And to do so we strongly believe telematics and advanced management systems will be at the core."

Boullet said that with manufacturers investing more in data and in-car sensors, managers would need platforms to optimise total cost of ownership with integration of factors such as insurance, remarketing, and vehicle and tyre maintenance.

He said: "We know our priority is to create more data and more insight. Then it's about building the interface so fleets can access that data over time."