The fleet-focused Commercial Vehicle Outlook Conference directly preceding the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, had a large focus this year on the notion of the “Connected Vehicle” (not exactly a notion anymore given cellular/satellite connections that are hardwired into most new trucks), and the extent to which fleets large and small utilize various telematics providers.
In a session devoted to how the “Connected Vehicle” is at the point today where it can really deliver value to trucking companies and drivers at the bottom line by increasing greater visibility of truck systems at every point in the carrier maintenance and customer network, from the back office to the shop and driver to the shipper preparing the docks and dealing with invoices, Jim Coffren of Hirschbach Motor Lines stressed the need for interopability of data systems at the OEM level, and reps from Peterbilt and Volvo concurred that, well, that’s where things are going.“The days of ‘Billy Big Rig’ are gone,” Hirschbach noted, immediately offering a sort of apology for using the term but going on as such: “Truckers need to be sophisticated” in this day and age about technology use, he noted. “Guys who are growing and improving are embracing the technology.”
Truck makers, telematics providers — suppliers of all kinds of equipment are hearing that message. Here’s a video with Coffren, below. What do you think? Will such a future have any benefit to independents? I can imagine a future where independents might have many more options for choosing to give trusted shops and customers automatic windows into vehicle systems to keep tabs on maintenance and customer relations. Then again, the smartphones work for some of that well enough today… Here’s Coffren’s take from the fleet side: