22 Feb 19

The Technology that Drives Fleet

Radical changes in the IT landscape over the last few years have created a new breed of IT offering for the fleet and leasing industry. Delivery of technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain promise to disrupt the industry in the next 2-5 years. Artificial Intelligence is a complex areas that covers a variety of different trends including Machine Learning and Robotics. Machine Learning is an application of AI that uses a variety of algorithms and models to ‘self tune’ the program. This looks set to provide relief for fleet managers by catering for many of the mundane, repetitive tasks.

Eliminating Repetitive Tasks

Ron Sullivan, co-founder at OviDrive, an app based solution that provides “automated vehicle management SaaS”, sees AI as being able to “eliminate the need for highly skilled people to repetitively perform mundane tasks”. Sullivan sees this as only one trend in a series of changes sweeping fleet technology. “The newer trend is toward predictive analytics.” He say, drawing a distinction between simple statistics and genuine analytics. As a simple example, he Talks of a vehicle where fuel consumption increases and “does a diagnostic on the asset behaviour, geography, tyre inflation, and identifies the cause and sends an alert to remedy, or books the vehicle in for service”

The Rise of SaaS

OviDrive is not alone in driving the move away from on-premises implementations toward Software as a Service (SaaS) and the adoption of cloud based solutions. The great benefit of SaaS of course is that it removes the need for costly, time consuming implementation projects, allowing the user to access ready-to-use software for a monthly fee. The lower cost means that fleet managers with a smaller number of vehicles are gaining access to software that was previously only available to large FMOs.

The Gap is Closing between Leasing Company and Fleet managers

Piet Maes, Chief Technology Officer for Sofico, a Belgium based software house with clients managing over 2 million contracts around the world, sees this as part of a broader trend. He explains that Sofico have now introduced “Miles.next, a cloud-native microservices architecture that uplifts the existing […] application into a hybrid cloud platform.”

"Traditionally, FMO tech was aimed at operational efficiency while tech for corporate fleet managers was aimed at providing actionable insights." say Maes. He explains that with ‘driver experience’ becoming more important, B2B and B2C are converging with boundaries between back and front office increasingly blurring.

The last several years have perhaps seen more technology development that at any period before. For the Fleet Manager that stays abreast of these changes there are enormous advantages to be had.

Article authored by Shane Curran