The RAC has announced it is offering businesses and fleet operators a flexible and easy means for reducing vehicle running costs with the launch of ConnectOne, its new connected vehicles product.
It says that, rather than the expense and complexity of traditional telematics services that effectively involve ‘hard-wiring’ units into vehicles, users simply plug the matchbox-sized ConnectOne device into their vehicles’ 12v sockets before pairing them with a compatible Apple or Android smartphone. Within minutes they can be tracking each of their vehicles’ trips and locations as well gaining an understanding of each driver’s behaviour behind the wheel. All this data, which is displayed clearly in the intuitive app, can be used to optimise routes taken by drivers as well as to coach staff on how to save fuel and lessen vehicle wear and tear – all of which can save money.
The RAC says the product is ideally suited to cost-sensitive businesses, grey fleet and short-term rental operators who have never explored connected technology before because of the cost and commitment required when taking on traditional ‘hard-wired’ telematics services. ConnectOne’s power comes from its flexibility – with a rolling 30-day contract with no long-term commitments, organisations only pay for the devices they use and can scale the service up or down as their requirements change.
It says the true ‘plug-and-play’ nature of ConnectOne means businesses, such as couriers and delivery companies whose driver numbers vary seasonally, also stand to benefit as boxes can be easily swapped between vehicles. The system is also ideal for organisations that operate ‘grey fleets’ where individual drivers might use their own vehicles for business use; in these instances, drivers can switch off or disconnect the ConnectOne box when not working to protect their privacy, ensuring that the only data collected relates to genuine business trips.
As well as tracking vehicle location and driver behaviour data – the latter being the fastest route to saving on fuel and other vehicle running costs – ConnectOne helps fleets stay HMRC-compliant by accurately logging vehicle mileages and, with timesheet and expense claim functionality built-in, it cuts down on unnecessary administration. Those in charge of fleets can also geofence specific locations so they receive an alert when vehicles enter or exit them, making it easy to keep track of drivers returning to depots and to detect potential unauthorised vehicle use.
Nigel Humpherson, RAC’s head of commercial and connected solutions, said:
“With costs escalating, looking for savings becomes an ever more important task for businesses. With ConnectOne, we’ve developed a solution that dramatically reduces the financial barriers associated with taking traditional ‘connected car’ services, which allows organisations to quickly see savings from keeping a closer eye on their vehicles – all delivered via an easy-to-use smartphone or web-based app.
“ConnectOne’s power comes from its simplicity and flexibility. Boxes can be swapped between vehicles quickly and easily, enabling business owners and fleet managers to get full visibility of the vehicles they have responsibility for, whether they are part of their own fleet, belong to a subcontractor, are on hire or even belong to an employee who sometimes uses their own vehicle for work purposes.
“We also know that organisations can be nervous of locking into long contracts and of signing up to telematics solutions if they don’t know how their fleet requirements may change in the future. Many might also be waiting on delivery of new vehicles held up because of the semiconductor shortage and can’t justify the cost of having telematics units wired into existing vehicles which they may not be using for much longer. ConnectOne gets around both problems by providing a flexible, low-cost route to discovering the benefits of having a connected set of vehicles, safe in the knowledge they’re on a rolling 30-day contract and can easily scale the solution up or down as needs change.
“The vehicle insight ConnectOne offers is rich, giving organisations large and small an excellent opportunity to both keep control of costs and to get a better understanding of how vehicles are being driven – insight that can be used to coach staff to become better drivers. After all, a safer driver is also a cheaper driver.”