FleetMatics’ big Reveal
High up in a function suite of the Millbank Tower, FleetMatics hosted a press event for the launch of its new software package, Reveal
The new telematics platform is designed to offer an even better insight into the operation of a fleet, providing figures not only on how much fuel is wasted, but how much money is expended on each journey.
The intention is to display results that matter and are meaningful in a clear, precise and usable way. It is the company’s new generation of fleet tracking and management tools, which were launched in conjunction with a similar event in the USA
Proceedings started with a presentation beamed in from the US by FleetMatics CEO and Chairman of the Board, Jim Travers. He began by highlighting the global nature of the business and mentioned his product was ‘groundbreaking’ in the fleet telematics industry. He stated FleetMatics is a leader in providing a software as a service (SaaS) solution in this industry. SaaS sees all data and associated software for the system stored and made available online. All sized fleets use the product, he explained, with the company having customers with over 1,000 vehicles to SMEs with five.
‘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, cost savings and differentiating customer service,’ said Jim. ‘As part of that equation, we’re providing customers with intelligence about their business, such as how the fleet has performed operationally in the past and how their 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. This incredibly rich data set has also helped us generate the new concepts and features in our products.’
FleetMatics has approximately 22,000 customers, with around 39m vehicles monitored across a diverse set of industries. The SaaS model allows FleetMatics to collect and analyse high value data points from across its customer base, enabling it to deliver historical and benchmarking information and insights back to its customers. The comprehensive nature of a large and fast growing pool of more than 52bn data points gathered over a lengthy period helps to deliver the benchmarking information and insights with high credibility, reliability and relevance, according to the company.
This customer base is fast growing, according to Jim, saying at the end of 2013 subscribers were up 34%, claiming it is growing faster than any competitor. He said the company’s customer tends not to be the most tech savvy, with a lack of visibility into their business. Despite this, he said these SMEs are aware of the challenges tracking their vehicles can overcome.
FleetMatics’ event in London actually saw the release of three new products: Reveal; Reveal+ (the extended version of Reveal) and Work, a field service solution. FleetMatics Reveal is designed to be a simple to use GPS vehicle tracking solution for driving savings and improving productivity. It includes a comprehensive set of features including native apps for iPhone, iPad and Android, all designed to provide clear visibility into field activity as well as insight into driver behavior and workforce productivity metrics. Making FleetMatics available for use on mobile devices is an area the company is seriously paying a lot of attention to. February last year saw the number of log-ons from mobile devices exceed that of desktops for the first time. The FleetMatics apps have all the functionality of the desktop version, enabling fleets to be managed on the move.
Following Jim’s speech, FleetMatics’ Guy Fletcher described the new products’ features. The new platform was two years in the making and is the manifestation of FleetMatics’ vision of an ever extensible, analytics based foundation to deliver solutions, features, insights and applications that optimise how a mobile workforce gets work done, as well as how a business manages those mobile assets. The products that fall under the platform are intended to offer a complete solution for fleet and field service management. FleetMatics’ SaaS delivery model is intended to enable rapid set up with no up front investment allowing customers to generate compelling ROI often in just weeks.
FleetMatics customers played a key role in the development of the new platform, advising on many aspects based on real world experiences and pain points. One of the new features is something the company believes makes Reveal stand out from the plethora of other telematics solutions. This is the fact it provides clear to view money-metrics, it shows how many pounds and pennies each vehicle and/or driver has wasted through events like idling or harsh acceleration, etc. It shows what each journey costs using a series of algorithms and data input on fuel prices and other metrics from the operator. Guy said, ‘Most systems identify bad behaviour, but the real question is: What does that cost me? FleetMatics Reveal shows how much money is lost, giving more insight on fuel consumption, idling, etc.’
A new ‘Places’ feature has been added, allowing certain areas to be geofenced, with alerts sent to users if one of their vehicles passes through the selected area. The company has found that many customers do not have the time to create geofences or, if they do, they often draw the geofence incorrectly, losing visibility into important activity. FleetMatics has an advantage in that it automatically creates and categorises geofences and then, through a patented ‘hot spot’ algorithm, suggests corrections to geofences based on driving activity. It believes this is a unique and powerful industry first.
A Timeline View has been added, which is a visual, interactive representation of vehicle activity. It is designed to enable customers to easily consume vehicle and driver activity information. Customers can scan activity for multiple vehicles at a time, quickly revealing exceptions such as late starts, early finishes, long idles or long stops and drill directly down to the incident details. FleetMatics believes the level of interactivity and drill down capabilities of this feature sets a new standard for the industry.
According to FleetMatics, using driver key fobs or cards is not enough to solve the problem of inaccuracies in reports from drivers changing vehicles. To solve this, Reveal’s Dashboard control panel provides comprehensive flexibility to organise user’s accounts and all of the insight in the system by either vehicle or driver.
Scalable and easy to use
Above all, Guy said Reveal is designed to be scalable. He also mentioned that one of the key design briefs was to keep it simple. If it isn’t, then he believes customers just will not use it and not benefit from any return on investment. He said customers need to know the status of their fleet at a glance of the dashboard, the display of which can be configured to customer requirements. Each graphic on the dashboard can be ‘drilled’ into for more specific or in depth information. The system can measure individuals’ performance against the whole fleet or even against industry benchmarks derived from the extensive data the company has collected.
Moving onto FleetMatics Reveal+, this solution extends on Reveal and provides the additional tools necessary to address the complex requirements of a large fleet and mobile workforce. It is designed to enable larger customers to manage complex organisational structures and large numbers of users, as well as to produce executive level reporting across the entire enterprise. It enables straightforward integration with existing back office systems.
FleetMatics Work is a mobile field service management solution designed to manage customers, jobs, schedules, invoices and fieldworkers, helping customers save time and money while improving productivity and customer service. It integrates with Reveal to provide additional insight into workforce productivity.
Fleetematics systems can be integrated with third party solutions, transferring the data over to them if required. For example, one major Irish operator used the information from the system to provide real time arrival and departure information for its passengers. ‘We have a number of customers from the bus and coach industry’, said FleetMatics Sales Director Europe, Derek Bryan. ‘I’m amazed at the number of people we have from that industry, but then again, I shouldn’t be surprised because even though the industry has its own specific pressures it needs telematics to relieve, it does come down to money, like everyone else running fleets. We have found that safety is a big issue for them too.’
And finally . . .
After speaking to Derek, I was then given a run through of some of the customers FleetMatics has in the bus and coach industry, which includes some well known independents. Will this list expand? Derek would certainly be happy for it to and the feeling at the event was the company aims to penetrate even further into all its markets, including PSV. Good news was that this was the launch of a new platform, with further advancements to come.