Commercial trucking fleets play a crucial role in the economy, connecting supply and demand. A healthy trucking industry is critical for the economy – and as customer expectations soar with expectations of same-day delivery of a wide catalogue of products, it is trucking that will play a key role in contributing to high customer satisfaction which businesses prize.
Among the biggest problems trucking faces, driver shortage, driver recruitment, increasing costs, nuclear verdicts against fleets and risky driving are prominent. In recent years, the adoption of dash cams has been on the rise – since it promises to effectively address these key problems to a large extent. Drivers feel protected with cameras recording everything – as it can save their careers if they are involved in a not-at-fault accident. Having a video helps reduce fraud and bring down insurance costs. With AI on the edge being able to better detect risky driving such as texting, tailgating, etc., fleets can coach drivers and remediate before risky driving results in a horrendous crash. Real-time coaching for drivers in the form of notifications helps prevent crashes, rather than just react to crashes. Drivers do heroic things on the road, avoiding crashes when others commit mistakes, and cameras enable positive recognition for drivers thanks to the context they provide to any event.
Dash cameras becoming less expensive, cost of data reducing, fleets understanding the value of video beyond just exoneration, and several extremely competitive products promising solutions to fleets’ most vexing problems, is resulting in an explosive growth of video telematics – conventional telematics augmented by video data. Making this a more attractive proposition for service providers is the fact that for video telematics, SaaS-based revenues are predicted to constitute a larger part of value over time, a reversal from today, where the hardware makes up for most of the value.
In light of this significant opportunity, TSPs are looking to augment insights from location, compliance, engine data with insights from video. Tier-1s and OEMs are also exploring the possibility of having vehicles video telematics ready off the assembly line – with telematics service providers partnering with OEMs to offer the service, as is the trend with conventional telematics presently. To make the most of the fast-growing market, it is essential they select the right technology partner – one they can count on to deliver value to themselves and their customers.
5 key points to consider when selecting a video telematics technology partner:
- One size does not fit all – Given the diversity of commercial vehicle fleets, with different classes of vehicles, different vocations, different budgets, different risk profiles, different problems to address, one size does not fit all. As a large TSP looking to offer video telematics to fleets, or an OEM/Tier-1 looking to offer video telematics built-in, this is especially important since one will want to have a very large addressable market for their offering. Being hardware agnostic ensures support for different cameras and form factors (road facing, driver facing, 360-degree), and at different price points, ensuring a wider adoption by fleets. With modern trucks being factory-fitted with cameras, one could even leverage the camera already installed on the truck.
- Deep integration – Fleets benefit the most from technology when there is more context, leading to new insights – data from location, engine, compliance, and driver behavior viewed together. Having to log in to separate portals for different needs makes for a poorer user experience. A robust set of APIs that can integrate video and associated analytics deeply into existing fleet portals to provide a seamless view can make all the difference.
- From reactive to preventive – AI on the edge provides for real-time coaching based on audio notifications. If a driver is using a handheld device or violating stop signs, notifications will make the driver more self-aware and attentive – this can be the difference between a trip with no incidents and a trip with an at-fault incident. While post-hoc coaching has its uses, AI is now evolving coaching to the role of a co-pilot always riding with the driver.
- Easy to install, easy to operate – Making video telematics self-installable helps reduce downtime for vehicles and removes the associated cost (of downtime and installation). Having multiple installation options (OBD, direct wiring, etc.) is very helpful. For a fleet manager, being able to configure the solution to do what she needs it to do is critical. Given how busy fleet managers are, the solution should not dump more data on them – instead, automation has to be used carefully so that fleet managers see only the most important things and take action on them – examples include being able to rank the severity of various events, highlighting positive driver behavior, pointing to drivers who could benefit from coaching including what behaviors they need to be coached on and providing relevant data for the same.
- Future proof – As businesses grow, new requirements and needs arise. It is important that the solution keeps pace with your requirements. Ideally, the technology partner should have expertise in camera systems, AI/ML, and cloud technologies. This ensures that the technology partner is a one-stop-shop for video telematics software – this helps greatly when developing new features, reducing time to go to market, better support when in production, and a better price for the provided functionality given there are not many players in the software margin stack. Building a scalable, secure system that has nearly 100% up-time is not easy – and a proven track record greatly reduces risks. Knowing the industry intimately is important when it comes to best practices, alternate workflows, and processes – from a TSP’s viewpoint, this ensures that their fleet customers get the best.
If you are considering offering video telematics as a TSP, or considering making your vehicles video telematics ready as an OEM/Tier-1, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.