The people behind the KeepTruckin logging software platform for Android and iOS mobile devices are committed, says CEO Shoaib Makani, to giving away associated hardware to satisfy the electronic logging device mandate free of charge to all users. That is, should the mandate take effect in future.
Current plans from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration show a track suggesting a compliance date as early as 2016.
How will the company do it? “We’re definitely going to have the hardware,” currently in development to connect to trucks’ electronic control modules, a requirement of the ELD mandate, says Makani. “And the model will be to give it away and generate value on top.” Armed with a subscriber base, KeepTruckin will be able to offer fleet and owner-operator customers dynamic products on top of the current free service — premium software add-ons to its free web-based dispatching platform like IFTA reporting, maintenance monitoring, sophisticated load planning and further dispatching tools, as well as factoring services — in order to stay profitable.
With connections to truck operating data via ELD hardware, further offerings could extend into usage-based insurance — Makani points a model in what the MetroMile company is doing in the auto space today. Likewise, “If we have the digital connection with drivers such that we know where they are and if they are loaded or not, we can deliver the best load board service that has ever existed,” he says.
There’s a catch to the free-ELD offer, if you can call it a catch: users will have to at least be using the KeepTruckin electronic logbook (available for Android and iOS) in advance of the mandate “to get the ELD hardware for free,” Makani says. “This advances our current goal as well” — more users of the free logbook and dispatch software in the short term. Both have grown primarily by word of mouth, Makani says, since Overdrive first reported on it, to 15,000 active driver users today.
That product, including the dispatching functionality, will remain free, Makani says, regardless of what happens with the mandate. “We’ll be adding additional features to the software-only product” as well, “but the core product will remain as it is, and remain free.”
KeepTruckin’s technology today, as previously reported, is seeded by lead investor Google Ventures, a fact Makani says skeptics might do well to remember. “Drivers and fleets can be sure that we will be able to deliver on our promise of a free ELD,” he says. “We have an incredible engineering team and are financially backed by the pioneer of ‘freemium’ technology products.” You know who.