6 steps to choosing your ideal technology partner for success in video telematics

In the world of commercial trucking, the significance of video is growing rapidly becoming almost as important as GPS.

In the world of commercial trucking, the significance of video is growing rapidly becoming almost as important as GPS. While vehicle telematics data gives the location, vehicle, compliance and operational analytics,video telematics goes further to reveal the ‘why’ around driver actions, vehicle handling, and surroundings. Video telematics provides invaluable context to vehicle telematics and is fast becoming indispensable for safety and reducing TCO for fleets.

For telematics service providers (TSPs), integrating video telematics has now become a game-changer. Video telematics can more than double the ARPU(Average revenue per user) for TSPs. With Video Telematics, TSPs can proactively help fleets enhance operational efficiency and safety. In a competitive landscape, video telematics is fast becoming a “must-have”, but in order to provide value and for TSPs to stand out in the market, the right video telematics solution must be chosen.

If you are a TSP considering integrating video telematics into your offerings, here are a few things you need to keep in mind:

1. Define your goals

When embarking on the journey to choose the ideal video telematics solution, it all begins with setting clear objectives. Picture your goals for incorporating video telematics: Is it to enhance customer satisfaction by providing real-time insights? Or perhaps to curb churn and keep your customers engaged? Maybe you're aiming to differentiate and increase sales by showcasing the value of integrated video + vehicle telematics. By clarifying your purpose, you streamline your decision-making process, aligning your choices with your desired outcomes.

2. Consider your customer base

The commercial fleets you cater to will impact the type of video telematics solution that is right for you. There are solutions that are ideal for large enterprise fleets and there are others which are best suited for small fleets. As a TSP, if you have a diverse range of fleets in terms of size and business vertical, you need to consider the solution which can support these diverse needs. Whether you are going to use the dashboard from the video telematics partner or whether you will use their APIs, make sure that there are workflows that support fleets of all sizes. For e.g., large enterprise fleets will need workflows for specific personas with access control implemented. Smaller fleets will have personnel wearing multiple hats in the fleet - for example, fleet manager and safety manager. The dashboard or APIs should support such a scenario too.

3. AI on the edge and low false positives

Once your objectives and customer base are understood, delve into the world of features and functionalities offered by different video telematics solutions. AI on the cloud is not as useful as edge AI - since there can be no in-cabin coaching with the former. With AI based in-cabin coaching becoming very popular, there are two things to look at: the breadth of risky driving events that can be detected and the precision of the AI (so that false positives are low). Look for a partner who develops all the AI in-house, this will mean they can respond to your customer needs the fastest and can support you and your fleet customers the best.

4. One camera will not work for all fleets

With diverse fleets in the installed base across verticals, their needs are also diverse. So, one camera will not work for every fleet in your installed base. To have maximum adoption among your fleet customers, you need to provide choice. The video telematics partner should support multiple hardware options across price points and features so that every fleet finds a fit for their budget. This is particularly true for TSPs with international businesses. Providing cutting edge AI earlier necessitated expensive cameras with powerful GPUs and DSPs. Sophisticated solutions are highly optimized and can do more with less - highly optimized neural networks can be engineered to work on commodity hardware. This reduces the bill of materials of the camera, helping your business and the fleet in terms of cost.

5. Ease of integration and maintenance

The practicality of integration and maintenance is often the unsung hero of any solution. A seamless integration process ensures minimal disruption to your existing operations, making adoption swift and efficient. Having extensive APIs as well as a functional dashboard provides you the flexibility to go to market fast, and later on decide if you want to leverage the APIs to make a deeper integration. Having no code integration option can be very appealing given how engineering bandwidth is always at a premium - this helps you take advantage of the video telematics opportunities here and now.

In addition to how good the video telematics partner’s offering is today, it is important to ensure that they are the right partner for the future also. How fast they can respond to issues, how fast they can turn around on customer requests are crucial factors in having a successful partnership that endures. This assures you that the video telematics solution you selected today will remain cutting edge into the future.

6. Installation and support

Like integration and maintenance, installation and support are often overlooked when selecting a video telematics partner. This can be a costly mistake. In terms of unit economics for the TSP, having a self-installed camera will help greatly. It helps the fleets in terms of scheduling installs and reducing downtime. Self-installation will mean having a very sophisticated solution for installation that guides the fleets through the process. For AI to work well, cameras need to be installed in the correct location and calibrated. The AI needs to be flexible in terms of how it works away from the ‘optimal’ location since the optimal location may not always be feasible. Automatic calibration is a must have.

As the video telematics business scales, support overhead can ruin the improved ARPU unless close attention was paid to it while selecting the partner. Having a partner that does video telematics end-to-end, from edge AI, systems software, backend, front-end to OTA and diagnostics will ensure that you have all the support you need through a single window. Leveraging technology to set up self-help tools for diagnostics ensures that your customer support teams have all the information they need to answer fleets’ questions.

Selecting the right video telematics solution is like piecing together a complex puzzle. Each step, from defining your goals to weighing features, from pricing considerations to ease of integration, contributes to the holistic picture. A solution that aligns with your objectives, accommodates the needs of a diverse customer base, keeps pace with technological advancements, and offers seamless support is the key to unlocking the potential of video telematics for your telematics service business.