For millions of smartphone users, app stores open up a world of possibilities to turn their devices into multi-purpose tools for almost any occasion. There is an emerging trend in telematics that replicates this experience for fleets — larger telematics solutions providers (TSPs) are offering “marketplaces” of app-based tools to solve fleet challenges. With direct connectivity through the TSP, fleets can forego separate, expensive enterprise solutions.
“Fleet marketplaces can provide broad choice through a ‘single pane of glass’ experience to browse, try, buy, and access a range of value-added products and services that can help to impact fleets' top and bottom lines,” says Scott May, chief marketing officer at GPS Trackit. “A fleet marketplace offers a range of innovative solutions that can help to solve for fleets' key challenges like reducing costs, increasing productivity, improving safety, and ensuring tighter compliance.”
Fleets should contact their TSP to see if they offer a marketplace through their systems. If so, accessing these marketplaces is as easy as jumping onto your solution provider’s website through your vehicle’s devices, your desktop, or even your smartphone.
Benefitting from Data
In many cases, telematics marketplaces offer data integration with third-party solutions, allowing fleets to access actionable, intelligence-based combined data.
“A comprehensive fleet marketplace will provide solutions ranging from driver-related — gamification, behavior, training — to HR-focused to field-based to core solution areas like telematics, dash cam video, ELD and asset management,” says May.
Some apps utilize data from telematics data marketplaces. For instance, with some apps, fleets can opt to aggregate telematics or traffic data collected from mobile devices, roadway sensors, or OEM vehicle providers, according to Carl Temme, vice president of business development at IntelliShift.
“Telematics data marketplaces may be used by the telematics or fleet management app provider to complement other sources of data such as data gained from an after-market telematics gateway device,” says Temme. “The fleet owner/operator can work with their telematics solution provider to determine the best combination of apps and data sources for the fleet’s assets, use-cases and objectives.”
Both fleet customers and partnering companies see benefits from telematics marketplaces where a number of complementary apps reside. Whether it’s vehicle maintenance or inspections, driver compliance hours-of-service rules, fuel management, route optimization, data analytics, video safety, or other vertical-specific apps, fleets and solution providers find common ground to support each other in the development and refinement of these apps.
Companies that partner with telematics providers, offering solutions through the marketplace, also benefit from this new sales channel, while fleets are provided with more responsive customer support.
Many app-based solutions go further than the direct connection, requiring equipment installation and other services to get up and running. Fleets should contact their TSP see if they offer these “white-glove” services or whether they’ll need a third party, and if not whether they can handle in house.
As with all forms of technology, the space is evolving. Fleets, telematics providers, and partnering companies are only scratching the surface of the types of solutions offered and their benefits.
“The market for fleet technology solutions continues to advance at a dramatic pace,” says May. “A holistic fleet marketplace can provide not only access to the latest innovations and thought leadership, but also a clean one-stop shop for inundated fleet managers and other buyers looking to quickly address key needs.”