APPS & ACCESSORIES: Tap on the right application

Date: Tuesday, October 10, 2017

From improving driver safety to carrying out stock inventories, there are all manner of van market apps available. It’s just a case of finding one that best suits your needs, as James Dallas reports.

Appy Fleet gives staff feedback on their driving skills, plus they can also record mileages for the purpose of making expense claims

Once you have chosen the right light commercial vehicle for your requirements in the specification that best enables the vehicle to fulfil its particular function then the next consideration is to see if there are any applications or even accessories to improve its efficiency, economy or safety still further.

The variety of products and technological aids on offer is immense and industry stakeholders – from vehicle manufacturers to accessory suppliers to technology firms to fleet management companies – are getting involved.

An inspector calls

At the CV Show in April fleet management firm Leaseplan revealed a smartphone-based vehicle safety checking app.Commercial vehicle boss Mark Lovett told What Van? the device could help to bring HGV levels of compliance to LCVs by enabling drivers to conduct online daily vehicle checks and provide essential data to fleet managers.

He said the Driver Check app enabled Leaseplan to alert customers when their vans need servicing and to reveal which drivers have sustained the most damage or faults to their van, which may mean driver training is required.

Lovett said the tool can also demonstrate Leaseplan has done all it can to help operators ensure the roadworthiness of their fleets and reduce the downtime caused by vans needing to be taken off duty for repairs.

Happy days

Leasing firm Ogilvie launched its Happy Drivers app at the end of 2015 and has been continuously updating it ever since. Free to download, it offers the ability to book services and provides driving tips tailored to all seasons of the year.

Happy -drivers Menu [1]

The Happy Drivers app from leasing company Ogilvie is free to download

A Find Your Nearest function provides directions to local facilities such as supermarkets, fuel stations, EV charging points, Ogilvie’s fast-fit partner Kwik-Fit’s centres, or car parks. A checklist of what to do in the event of an accident is also included.

Being free of charge to all drivers the app does not carry Ogilvie branding – however, Ogilvie Fleet drivers can receive more targeted information if they choose I’m An Ogilvie Driver at login.

For example, the firm openly promotes the AA, Green Flag and RAC in the event of a breakdown, but Ogilvie drivers would only see links for the RAC as this is the firm’s fleet partner.

A recent development allows Ogilvie drivers to see live information on their vehicle, such as the timing of the next service, and this could extend to include notifications to prompt drivers if a service is overdue in addition to the established practice of notifying them by email.

Trak Global presents its Appy Fleet product as an app-based telematics tool to encourage safer and more efficient driving without the cost of installing a black box because drivers pair the app with their vehicle via Bluetooth, and the GPS sensor in their phone is used to track their movement.

The app’s Driver Score feature, which drivers see when they open the app, provides instant feedback on driving behaviour. The score is based on speed, driving-style smoothness and frequency of breaks, and each is given an individual score to highlight areas for improvement.

Drivers are ranked alongside others within their fleet to encourage friendly competition to improve performance.

The app stores all journey and mileage data, which is sent to the Fleet Manager Dashboard, where managers can view driving activity across their whole fleet. Real-time fleet tracking and email alerts of extreme events are also part of the Fleet Manager service.

Trak Global has recently introduced a Risk Management service for fleet managers to Appy Fleet. Features include Geo-fencing, which provides alerts of unauthorised use of fleet vehicles, at night for example, and alerts for extraordinary speeding events – such as speeds recorded in excess of 100mph.

While the driver smartphone app is free, the Fleet Manager Dashboard function costs £4 per driver per month.


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