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ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE: Safeguarding fleets with connected data

Date: 30 March 2021

Data is one of the most important resources for the modern fleet manager. Beverley Wise, director UK & Ireland, Webfleet Solutions, explains how it can be harnessed to safeguard valuable fleet assets.

The connected car is a buzz-phrase that continues to gain traction in the automotive world, exciting motorists and whetting our appetites for ever smarter mobility innovations.

For businesses, however, connectivity is nothing new, with telematics solutions harnessing vast data sets to improve the management of vehicle fleets.

Technological advancements have led to these solutions becoming increasingly sophisticated, with data insights helping companies look after their vehicles and drivers, improve productivity and serve customers in more efficient and effective ways. 

Benefits of fleet management simplified

In recent times, cars have been rolling off the production line with line-fitted connectivity, making for much greater convenience and flexibility. Webfleet Solutions has harnessed this opportunity by connecting directly with vehicle manufacturers, on behalf of customers, to retrieve data from pre-installed telematics hardware. 

Mercedes-Benz, BMW and PSA Group (Peugeot, Citroën, DS and Opel-Vauxhall) have now all joined the Webfleet Solutions OEM.connect programme - with more manufacturers set to follow suit - making it faster, easier and cheaper for businesses to benefit from fleet management technology. 

By working together with manufacturers to support fleets, data from each vehicle can be presented to users in the same standardised way, on the same interface - irrespective of the make and model - helping simplify comparison and analysis.

A spotlight on fleet health

The connected fleet delivers a wealth of opportunities for improvements in business workflow, but the relationship between telematics data and robust service, maintenance and repair (SMR) also offers high value.

WEBFLEET's vehicle maintenance planning tools, for example, enable fleet operators to make use of real measured mileage reported by the odometer, directly from their vehicles, to plan maintenance intervals. At-a-glance reports can be generated offering maintenance overviews. These enable fleet operators to keep tabs on everything from service intervals to MOTs. Users can also create maintenance tasks for each vehicle, copy maintenance tasks to vehicle groups, monitor their status and plan accordingly.

Although EVs have fewer moving parts, contributing to lower maintenance costs than their ICE equivalents, such solutions for effective SMR management remain paramount to minimise costly downtime. On-board diagnostics, malfunction alerts and connected EV health data, including battery status, will become increasingly important elements of this, ensuring preventative maintenance work is carried out in a timely manner.

Irrespective of the powertrain, the impact of harsh driving styles on fleet maintenance costs - which may include aggressive cornering, braking or speeding - cannot be underestimated. WEBFLEET's OptiDrive 360 functionality scores and profiles drivers based on a range of key performance indicators that relate to efficient, smooth and safe driving.

This allows performance benchmarks to be set and the identification of problem trends that can ultimately result in costly vehicle repairs. Managers are able to drill down into individual areas of performance to gain greater insights into specific problems.

An eye on the vehicles

Integrated camera systems expand on the fleet visibility offered by telematics solutions, providing further opportunities to not only safeguard fleets, but also enhance driver safety.

WEBFLEET Video combines Webfleet Solutions' vehicle and driving data with advanced machine vision and AI-powered camera technology from Lytx to give fleet managers a more complete picture of how their vehicles are operating. Not only does this give them a better understanding of why driving incidents occur, the video footage also provides clear evidence in the event of insurance claims. This can help protect drivers from non-fault claims and enable education and training to be better targeted.

Harnessing connected data to look after your fleet will not only save you money, but will help boost productivity, customer service standards and business reputation.