Video telematics, which started out as a niche application for enterprise fleets who could afford it, has now come fully of age. Driven by the tailwinds of affordable hardware, increased awareness around RoI, and availability of advanced AI and analytics, video telematics is being seen less as an optional service, and rather something de rigueur – as indispensable to a fleet’s operations as track-and-trace, ELD, engine diagnostics, and other conventional telematics applications.
Like any new technology that starts out with a niche, and crosses the chasm to broader acceptance, the nature, and sophistication of the service and the different end-user personas that it caters to expands over time. The earliest video telematics solutions were built around the central use-case of video capture and on-demand retrieval to exonerate fleets and drivers in the case of accidents and related liability. Over time that expanded into automatic event capture based on G-sensor events, but the experience was still essentially around a fleet manager who interacted relatively passively with the system. The advent of on-device AI and real-time driver coaching changed all that, by vastly expanding both the scope of video telematics and the value it delivers to fleets, while at the same time recognizing the driver as a key persona to cater to.
Any leading advanced video telematics solution today has to be broad enough to cater to the needs of all stakeholders, while bringing everything together in a coherent whole – a 360-degree solution, in essence. What are the various components of a 360-degree advanced video telematics solution, and what use-cases do they cater to? We break it down for you, so you can make the best decision for yourself and your end-users.
The move from passive video recorders to AI-driven active safety alerts has made the in-cab experience a critical component of advanced video telematics. Audio-visual alerts are the primary modes of real-time driver feedback, and they need to be designed to convey the maximum amount of information while causing the minimum amount of distraction for the driver.
Driver feedback falls into 2 categories – safety alerts that warn the driver to take corrective action and which are primarily audio-based, and device status alerts that inform the driver of the status of the device and video application.
Safety alerts – Comprehensive safety alerts need to be based on an accurate and real-time analysis of the external environment (ADAS) and the cabin (DMS), that mitigate the risk of accidents:
- Driver distraction
- Driver drowsiness
Advanced video telematics solutions also need to provide TSPs and fleets the requisite data and analytics to determine which alerts are the most effective, and provide the configurability to tailor them for the specific needs of their fleet.
Device status alerts – Most commonly exposed through device LEDs, they should provide drivers easy access to the status of key device parameters like connectivity (LTE), device provisioning, video recording, etc.
It is also becoming important for video telematics platforms to support off-duty modes for devices, giving fleet managers or drivers the ability to disable recording from either camera in privacy-sensitivity situations.
Backend reporting and analytics
Consider even a medium-sized fleet of 100 assets (and drivers) with AI-based event generation supported by their video telematics solution. At a conservative estimate of 1 event per day being generated per driver, that comes to at least 2000 events per month. Assuming a single fleet manager assigned to these assets and drivers, it becomes apparent that it is humanly impossible to review everything, and derive actionable insights from them that can lead to positive behavioral change. Something is definitely amiss if your video telematics backend is just a passive (and massive) dump of data, making finding value akin to finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.
A significant part of the value from advanced video telematics comes from a modern and intuitive management portal that gives managers quick access to a few key workflows that can help them convert data into outcomes:
- See the most severe events easily, with the ability to drill down into a specific event or a particular driver.
- Save coachable events, add comments and other meta-data, and assign them to the driver for review.
- Retrieve video footage from a past duration of interest, AND stream real-time video to be present virtually in the cabin, on-demand.
- View driver scorecards and trends to determine who needs to be rewarded and who needs to be coached.
For the modern fleet manager on the move, all of the above needs to be supported by a user experience that is responsive and optimized for tablets or smartphones.
Health, diagnostics, and device management
So you have gone ahead and deployed a solution with a great in-cab experience that drivers like, and an intuitive management portal that helps fleet admins get the maximum value in the least amount of time. Job well done, right? Unfortunately no, because you have missed (or treated as an afterthought) a key part of the ongoing experience that customers will have with your advanced video telematics solution – customer service.
As with any enterprise technology solution, paying lip service to customer service is not enough. The solution needs to be designed from the ground up to make critical health data easily accessible to customer service personnel so that they can proactively catch and react to issues before they become a crisis at 12 AM on Wednesday. Even when crises do inevitably happen, it would mean your customer-facing folks are not clutching at straws, but have all the necessary information available to guide a customer through a timely resolution.
Key health metrics that need to be readily accessible by customer service personnel include:
- Application software and firmware details
- Device mounting details
- Issues with connectivity
- Issues with device storage
- Issues with cameras and other sensors
- Alerts for abrupt power-cut (e.g. in case of severe impacts)
In addition, to keep devices up-to-date with the latest improvements in device software (including the latest AI models) a robust OTA service needs to be integrated that allows solution administrators to upgrade device firmware and applications in line with the latest product enhancements.
Driver and installer experience
We have already spoken of the in-cab experience which primarily deals with the driver, but the driver experience with advanced video telematics should extend beyond reacting to real-time alerts while on a trip. Similarly, the experience of installers, while infrequent, is critical to ensuring that devices can be installed and set up as accurately and efficiently as possible.
For dash cam hardware, the majority of which are display-less, mobile companion apps that help drivers and installers interact with a device in their vicinity form a natural modality for interaction. From providing interactive guides that help in adhering to mounting guidelines (critical for the optimal performance of AI engines), to helping in quick diagnosis when issues occur in the field, these apps can be veritable Swiss Army Knives in their versatility. For drivers the utility can extend further, as an actively engaged stakeholder in the success of the fleets safety program:
- Sign-in to a dashcam (driver authentication), helping in the creation of accurate scorecards
- Review events and videos selected by fleet managers for coaching, provide feedback and complete the loop on coaching
- Monitor their own performance, and see where they stand with respect to their peers
- Challenge or dispute events where they deem themselves to be not at fault
In essence, if you are thinking of launching an advanced video telematics solution, you can deliver the most value if your solution has thought through the 360-degree experience of all stakeholders that will interact with it. It needs to ensure that key workflows for each type can be completed easily, and serve the broader goal of driving the fleet’s safety metrics higher. As an example, thinking only about how fleet managers can coach drivers in the context of in-person meetings, would ignore the significant population of drivers that rarely come back to the yard – a gap that mobile apps help bridge very effectively.
Here’s wishing you success as you design and launch your advanced video telematics solution. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.