Dashboards. If there’s something you have too much of, it’s dashboards. You have a dashboard for equipment operation data, a dashboard for each truck OEM and maybe even every engine manufacturer that provides proprietary data; third-party telematics data dashboards; service-related dashboards; shop management and parts inventory dashboards; or maybe even just spreadsheets. Equipment data is of no use to your shop if it’s behind a dashboard you never log into, and that’s why a few third-party telematics companies offer App Store-style marketplaces.
Two of the biggest names in telematics, Verizon Connect and Geotab, both provide their own Marketplaces that offer a host of apps for their respective fleet management telematics platforms to enhance their core functionality. Peruse Verizon Connect’s Marketplace, for example, and you’ll find apps for everything from fuel management and routing to accounting and, perhaps most importantly for fleet service managers, maintenance.
“From a maintenance diagnostic perspective, we understand that the more data we can provide to a fleet to tell them what’s wrong with their trucks, the more we can prevent unplanned service events out in the field,” said Erin Cave, vice president of product management at Verizon Connect.
The biggest service-focused standout apps in Verizon Connect’s Marketplace are the OEM integrations—Mack, Volvo, Hino and Fuso, to name a few—that offer direct integration into the Verizon Connect Fleet platform to offer enhanced OEM diagnostic information into the Verizon Connect dashboard. In the case of Mack and Volvo data integration, Verizon Connect Fleet can be enabled over-the-air using the trucks’ built-in hardware (depending on the make and model). So you enable the Mack or Volvo app for Verizon Connect Fleet, the truck gets an update on the road and you’re in business.
“It’s not just plots on a map anymore,” said Kevin Aries, Verizon Connect product management and product success lead. “Even fleets that know telematics can still need to be educated on what modern telematics means today. The work that your fleet does in the field, the communication the fleet has with the customer, the data that you’re getting from the engine, diagnostics and preventative maintenance for the vehicle—all of these things coming together in one picture is probably not something that a veteran telematics customer would have experience with.”
Imagine if you knew all of the information surrounding an engine fault code—driver behavior, environment data—plus the vehicle service history, in addition to the type of load the truck is hauling and the details of the delivery from looking at a single dashboard. Then ask yourself: What service decisions could I make better based on that info?
With marketplace app integration, the answer could be at the press of a button. Adding Fleetio, for example, to Verizon Connect Fleet can provide daily odometer updates, saving you the hassle of pulling the odometer readings when a truck hits the shop. You could quickly snag it from the dashboard related to that vehicle. You can even attach files and documents such as repair orders to build a service history.
When it comes to data, if you can dream it, you can build it.
“We have the teams in place to develop strategic partnerships with specific companies so that we can get the right solution in the hands of our customers and make sure that it is a solution that everyone is happy with,” Aries said. “We’re constantly adding new partners into our marketplace. These apps aren’t hacked API solutions. These are well negotiated, discussed, strategic relationships that we’re building with folks in the market.”
The bottom line is that today’s telematics providers are building the solution you’ll need tomorrow. Maybe it’s already available. If it’s not, all it takes is a phone call to start working together to build the right solution.