Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Mobile technology will ‘transform fleets in 2014

Here is a recent article published in Fleet news with content from me
Fleets are expected to take advantage of low-cost mobile technology in an effort to achieve further efficiencies.
That’s the view of Steve Reynolds, managing director of TBS Enterprise Mobility. He told Fleet News: “2014 will be the year of smartphones and tablets for fleet management.

“The decreasing cost and increasing durability of consumer devices will drive a shift in the industry from paper-based to automated processes.”
The latest data suggests that 61% of the UK adult population now owns a smartphone and, with this high proportion of the workforce well accustomed to using consumer devices in their personal lives, Reynolds says it has never been easier to deploy mobile enterprise applications.
“More and more, blue collar and task-oriented staff are coming to expect to carry out their work supported by user-friendly consumer devices,” he said.
Following in the footsteps of smartphones, tablets will play an increasing role in field-based processes – with their low price point of around £150 making them a viable consideration for businesses.
Global sales of consumer devices are predicted to reach 1.7 billion in 2014.

“These factors combined will see a sharp rise in the enterprise adoption of smartphones and tablets in 2014, transforming fleet management,” predicted Reynolds.

However, it’s not just the hardware which a growing number of fleets will embrace. Mobile apps and ‘gamification’ could drive efficiencies, helping fleets cut costs.
Reynolds, who is also president of the mobile data association, said: “There are currently around two million mobile apps available to download.

“During 2014, we will see the use of apps aimed at improving driver behaviour and fuel efficiency grow in the fleet sector.
“Although many vehicles come with efficiency features built in, ultimately the driver is in control of their habits at the wheel, which is why apps can be a catalyst for behavioural change.”

Health and fitness apps demonstrate how gamification techniques can be very effective in bringing about positive behavioural changes and help people to reach goals using their own steam.
Apps which focus on making efficient and safe driving behaviour fun are already available. The Automatic app works by plugging a bluetooth-enabled dongle into the vehicle’s data port, paired with the smartphone.

“The app monitors and scores driver behaviour by making use of the sensors and accelerometer in the smartphone and information from the engine management system,” said Reynolds.
“This information is then compared with other drivers in similar cars that have driven the same journey segments and placed in a good driving league table; fostering a fun, competitive attitude towards better driving.”

Apps such as this demonstrate an affordable and effective way of improving fuel efficiency, minimising wear and tear, and encouraging responsible driving across an entire fleet.
Reynolds also expects to see collaborative connected satellite navigation apps emerge.

These will use cloud technologies in order to intelligently disperse drivers over different routes, to encourage an even spread of traffic flow.

Information captured by the app can then be fed back from the smartphone into central office systems, giving clearer visibility of drivers. 
“With consumer device adoption for fleet management set to rise, enterprise integration of apps will increase, enabling businesses to create even greater levels of efficiency,” added Reynolds.



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