It feels like everything is linked to everything these days. Just recently, I was reading an article on the BBC concerning ‘Smart Socks’, which feature integrated sensors that measure weight distribution, movement and orientation of the foot. This data is uploaded to your smartphone, and can then be sent across to a physiotherapist to analyse, formulate the necessary treatment plan and assess if the patient is properly applying themselves. All this, from a pair of socks.
In a similar vein, fleet managers are increasingly benefitting from the development of telematics to measure and analyse their vehicle’s condition. From its humble beginnings as a simple tracking system, the technology is now able to measure everything from a driver’s performance, to a vehicle’s condition, to the safety of vulnerable road users via integrated vehicle monitoring solutions. With the growth in this field all too clear at the Commercial Vehicle Show in April, it feels like no better time to introduce a dedicated telematics feature in this issue.
It’s not just fleet managers who will benefit from this development in technology, either. Technicians can extract data to gain a quicker understanding of a vehicle’s health, which can immediately be sent to a workshop management system and on to smart devices throughout the workshop. Diagnosis and treatment can be analysed and selected, parts ordered and repairs processed, all while updating the customer continuously.
Recent industry initiatives have reflected these technological advancements, whilst encouraging stakeholders to embrace change. After the official launch of the Earned Recognition scheme, for instance, the FTA unveiled its own data hub, which aims to “bring together both vehicle maintenance and driver data from multiple sources”. Speaking about the introduction, FTA’s Chief Executive, David Wells, commented: “We want to help operators capture 100% of their fleet data with the confidence that it is held confidentially, securely and not used for commercial gain.”
This highlights the other side of the coin. With the ‘Internet of Things’ becoming ever more integral to business, concerns over data capture and cyber-attacks are also growing. High profile social media companies – naming no names – have done little to help this, yet with a small amount of planning and expertise, costly issues can be avoided.
Ultimately, it’s all about being proactive. Embracing this new technology in all its guises will provide a fully integrated solution for fleets, drivers and technicians to keep vehicles moving and reduce downtime. The idea of everything being connected to, well, everything, can be a slightly disconcerting thought, but if the medical industry is using it to the benefit of patient health, it has to be worth at least thinking about for vehicle health.
Before I finish, it’s probably a good idea to introduce myself as the new Editor of CVW magazine. It’s an exciting time to be involved with the industry, and I look forward to continuing to provide readers with the latest news, market trends and technical advice. As always, any comments and opinions are welcome, so please do get in touch via our various social media platforms, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.