Improved insights and control over fleet operations set to enhance management, efficiency, and productivity, while strengthening driver, vehicle, and road safety.
By Mugundhan Deenadayalan, Senior Industry Analyst & Amrita Shetty, Senior Manager, Communications & Content –Mobility
Commercial fleets are embracing advanced technology and software solutions as they seek to boost productivity, reinforce driver monitoring and coaching, ensure regulatory compliance, prevent cargo theft, improve road, driver and vehicle safety, bolster total cost of ownership, and streamline insurance claims processing. In line with this comes the recent announcement from Ford Pro™, the commercial division of Ford Motor Company, that it will be expanding its suite of productivity solutions – including the integration of telematics with dashcam – with innovative new features. The objective is to help commercial fleet customers gain more comprehensive insight into vehicle operations, thereby ensuring more effective control, management, safety, and productivity.
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Software and Technology for Deeper, More Targeted Insights
Ford Pro offers commercial fleet customers an integrated suite of products and services ranging from providing the vehicles themselves to software, repair & maintenance, charging, and financing services. As part of its continued efforts to leverage cutting-edge technology and accelerate business productivity, Ford Pro commercial solutions will extract connected vehicle data and seamlessly integrate it into the cloud-based, Ford Pro Intelligence platform. This will allow fleet managers to access deeper, more targeted insights required for improved control over vehicles in operation as well as over upfitted equipment.
In addition, Ford Pro Telematics with Dashcam is a productivity maximizing solution that seamlessly integrates video telematics and fleet management solutions provider, Lytx’s dashcam with Ford Pro Intelligence and Ford commercial vehicles. The dashcam captures both in-cab and road-facing activity. This allows driving patterns, driver behavior such as cell phone usage, and driving incidents such as speeding and harsh braking, to be monitored with a view to remedying unsuitable driver behavior, minimizing distractions, and encouraging adherence to correct driving practices. At the same time, it is a vital tool in settling insurance claims.
Meanwhile, the new Ford Pro Upfit Integration System (UIS) simplifies the upfitting of commercial vehicles, improves vehicle safety, and provides support during operations in hazardous conditions. Upcoming additions to the Ford Pro UIS include the Vehicle Motion Inhibit Control that has safety, comfort and convenience enhancing features. For instance, the Sub Compartment Lock feature allows drivers to lock/unlock compartments in which cargo is being stored.
Other tools available to fleet managers include the Fleet Start Inhibit that allows a range of commands to be delivered remotely. This prevents misuse of fleet vehicles. Safety is further enhanced by the Vehicle Security app5 which allows for remote vehicle alarms and security alerts.
Today, fleets the world over confront multiple challenges whether in terms of boosting uptime, managing risk, maintaining fleet health, or bettering driver performance. This, in turn, demands tools that promote productivity, time, resource and operational efficiencies, as well as asset safety. Ford Pro’s wide-ranging portfolio of productivity solutions is geared to realize such objectives, while arming fleet managers with comprehensive and granular insights for improved management over fleet and driver performance.
Frost & Sullivan’s research highlights that video telematics represents a transformative tool for commercial vehicle fleets. For example, the facial profiles of drivers can be used as a safety feature wherein the vehicle unlocks only for the designated driver. It can be used as a productivity feature wherein the in-cab camera can detect and automatically record work hours for a trip/day based on the designated driver’s facial profile.
Our research also indicates that strategic partnerships between OEMs and video telematics vendors, such as the one between Ford Pro and Lytx, will become increasingly common, representing as it does a win-win situation. For a start, it will facilitate rapid solution integration and plug-and-play capabilities to meet burgeoning demand from commercial customers.
For video telematics providers, partnerships with OEMs to develop factory-fit solutions will yield benefits in terms of new customer acquisition and geographic expansion. As with Lytx’s previous industry-first collaboration with Daimler Trucks North America in installing factory fit Lytx video dash cam systems in DTNA’s class 8 trucks to improve safety, we see this new collaboration with Ford Pro to be an extension of Lytx’s strategy to partner and collaborate with leading OEMs to get access to new customers and expand its footprint.
For OEMs like Ford, novel, value-enhancing solutions with advanced productivity and safety features will mean increased ARPU. Moreover, OEMs will potentially be able convert video-related data sets into new monetization streams. Connected telematics will also play a crucial role in helping to lower fleet insurance premiums and accurately settle accident claims.
We believe that ecosystem collaboration – among video telematics vendors, telematics service providers, OEMs, and Tier Is – will gain momentum as demand from commercial fleets for advanced telematics solutions, including video telematics, grows. At the same time, fleets will be looking for companies that function as a one-stop shop for fleet management tools, software and services.