What future lies ahead of vehicle telematics equipment for the remote control of commercial fleets?
Tips & Perspectives
What future lies ahead of vehicle telematics equipment for the remote control of commercial fleets? Embedded onboard computers, preinstalled from factory? Or brought-in devices, a.k.a. aftermarket devices? For now, aftermarket devices will still take the lead. Here’s why. It is a fact that some truck manufacturers are installing GPS/GPRS devices from factory, along with software applications capable of dealing with the basic needs of tracking and tracing. However, these applications are mainly focused in facilitating remote vehicle diagnosis, therefore improving the quality and effectiveness of maintenance actions. When it comes to fleet management capabilities, these solutions have in general not evolved so much as a dedicated fleet management application. There is, however, other compelling reason why OEM/factory fitted solutions have a hard time convincing customers: in general, fleets are not composed of vehicles of only one brand. There are some explanations to this, but one of the most frequent is that companies do not want to rely on just one truck brand, which would probably make them lose some negotiation power in the moment of buying or leasing more trucks. So, in general, truck fleets are multi-brand. This brings a strong argument against using a fleet management solution offered by a truck manufacturer. Companies would either have a system to control just part of the fleet, or would have to deal with several different software solutions, one per each truck brand on the fleet. This is not, of course, a convenient approach and is usually rejected. On the other hand, makes are still not addressing lighter vehicles such as commercial vans. For those, fleet management must really be achieved through the integration of aftermarket GPS/GPRS devices. Finally, most of the commercial vehicles already on the streets, by and large, including trucks, have not been fitted yet with any vehicle tracking hardware. So there is plenty of room for the integration of aftermarket devices. Valério Marques CEO – Frotcom International