Let’s say you have a teenage driver in the house. You could probably talk to him or her about poor driving habits until you are blue in the face, but it’s unlikely your lectures would make much of a difference. But imagine you had video footage of your teen, say, texting and driving, and accompanying data showing that the car was swerving into the wrong lane while this was happening. At this point, it would be a lot easier to coach some good driving habits into your teen, though you’d have to make sure to continuously reinforce this coaching, lest that teen slip right back into bad driving habits.
This paradigm is quite similar to the business model used by SmartDrive, a company that gives fleets and drivers complete visibility and direct answers on how to dramatically lower collisions and improve fuel consumption. I spoke with Steve Mitgang, CEO of SmartDrive about the company’s business model, its value proposition, and its approach to the market. Mitgang pointed out that people are not in the market of buying reports, and they don’t want to create tables and crunch data, so he feels that SmartDrive is in the “answers business,” doing all of the hard work for its customers so when they pull up a dashboard, they can see their drivers and focus on what can save them money, fuel, etc.
The combination of SmartDrive’s real-time, video-based data integrated with onboard computers can deliver a 50 percent reduction in collisions and a 15 percent reduction in fuel. For large fleets that spend hundreds of millions of dollars in fuel, that is a significant savings. Mitgang is proud that his company helps customers save money and improve safety, and, with rising fuel costs and over 43,000 motor vehicle fatalities in 2011, his company can make a difference.
As illustrated in the teen-driver example above, the addition of video into the fleet management space can make a huge difference. The SmartDrive solutions can capture in-cab and road video and combine it with vehicle data such as braking, acceleration and turns to get a comprehensive insight as to what is happening on the road. Just as your teenager is more likely to acknowledge bad driving habits when seeing what he or she is doing, fleet drivers are more apt to accept coaching when they have a visual record of what happened on the road during a particular incident.
SmartDrive partners with many industry leaders, including embedded M2M solutions specialist Sprint (News - Alert). The partnership between the two companies is a strategic one and a critical part of the success stories seen by SmartDrive customers. SmartDrive sought a network partner that could provide extensive coverage and high visibility throughout the United States and Sprint was the perfect partner for those needs.
As for the future, Mitgang believes it is a bright one for SmartDrive. As its database of real-world experiences grows, SmartDrive would be able to perform predictive analysis to help anticipate and correct dangerous maneuvers, for example. SmartDrive technology could also be used to fight driver fatigue and distracted driving, further improving safety. No matter what the future holds, SmartDrive will continue to innovate and work to help its customers not only save money, but increase safety on the roads, which benefits everyone in the long run, even your teenage driver, who is more concerned with checking her e-mail than saving you on your fuel bill.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey