Sandrine Ploog, Head of Operations at CARIFY, joined us for a webinar on data for connected fleets. Sandrine provided interesting real-life examples of how connected fleet data can be used to reduce costs and improve customer experiences, while Valdrin Shala, INVERS’s Product Manager, informed the audience about the technology needed to acquire and use the data effectively.
Running a fleet without the right data is like flying blind: you can’t see costly surprises coming at you. Car subscription operators and other vehicle-as-a-service fleets are implementing new data systems and technologies, leading to successes, and learning experiences. Here is what our webinar taught us about using connected fleet data effectively:
Basic vehicle location data brings control over fleet
Almost all telematics units can determine the location of a vehicle via their GPS/GNSS module. Operators can use this data for “geofencing” to get updates when their vehicles enter or leave a specific area. For example, they can get alerts when their vehicles drive to a country not covered by their insurance policy.
One of CARIFY’s customers started to incur multiple fines for traffic violations before stopping subscription payments. That’s when CARIFY decided they needed to retrieve the vehicle to protect the asset of their car dealership partner. Normally this would be quite difficult, as the car did not have a tracking device or any aftermarket telematics installed. However, thanks to INVERS’s OEM Integrations, CARIFY was able to locate their lost car simply by enabling a software connection to the car’s factory-installed telematics unit.
All it took to enable the data flow from the lost car’s OEM telematics was for CARIFY to:
- provide the car’s VIN
- provide a copy of the vehicle registration document to prove ownership
- sign a Data Processing Agreement
Learn how timely access to vehicle location and mileage data gives operators more control at 7:14 of the on-demand webinar.
Timely maintenance data can help reduce cost
How do you know when to perform maintenance on your vehicles, once they’re in your clients’ possession? Nearly a third of our webinar poll respondents rely on their client to tell them about dashboard lights related to service and maintenance, while nearly half rely on physical vehicle inspections or on regular intervals based on mileage.
However, there are downsides to all these common approaches. Clients often assume that operators are aware of maintenance that needs to be done, and therefore don’t report dashboard lights. Physical inspections take time and are hard to do for very long term rentals or subscriptions. Operators who rely on mileage intervals may perform vehicle service earlier or later than needed, resulting in unnecessary costs either way.
Fortunately, OEM telematics can provide a variety of useful maintenance data, including:
- Fluid levels
- Tire pressures
- Brake pad wear
Unfortunately, while OEMs are making more useful data available through their APIs, this data is usually not standardized. For example, one OEMs fluid level data may be in liters while another OEM may give it as a percentage. It’s then up to the developers who support mixed fleets to make sense of and standardize that data for their backend system. OEM Integrations was designed to take this tedious task off developers’ hands by standardizing the OEM data and letting INVERS take care of the implementation, management, and updating of OEM APIs.
To learn how timely maintenance data can reduce costs and improve the user experience, skip to 19:06 of the webinar.
Gradual improvements of the use of data
There is an appetite, even a hunger, for data from operators who want it to improve operations and user experiences while protecting asset values. At the same time, OEMs are increasing their efforts to supply that data. To get the most out of the newly available info, operators should first define which data they need to help them find the best technical solution for their use case. They should then have a plan for how to use that data to the best effect, starting with the basics before moving to more complex use-cases.
CARIFY exemplifies this iterative approach very well. The company started with aftermarket telematics dongles, before reassessing and realizing that their varied fleet and complex business model did not fit that technological solution very well. Their new, hardware-free solution is a better fit that will open many new automation possibilities, but they wisely laid out a three-part plan to crawl before they walk, and walk before they run:
- Transfer data between vehicles and software systems manually through Excel reports
- Use the API connection between INVERS and CARIFY systems to obtain data and to automatically connect and disconnect vehicles
- Build upon the data from the API connection to create automations for customer service, invoicing, maintenance, etc.
To learn from CARIFY’s data acquisition evolution, go to 29:02 of the webinar recording.