Driving Device Can Save Integrators Thousands?

By Brian Rhodes, Published on Feb 10, 2014

You might have great employees in your security company, but they could be better drivers. A new device boasts it will save thousands by telling you how to do it right. Furthermore, it claims to be an easy plugin fit for most fleet vehicles.

Not only will Automatic make all that windshield time more affordable, it is inexpensive itself: less than a full tank of gas to buy, and no monthly fees.  But for all of it's claims, how useful is it? We take a look in this note.

How It Works

The Automatic 'driving accessory' is a small sensor that plugs into your vehicle's OBD II port.  The device gathers information about your vehicle as it is being driven, including rapid acceleration, speed of travel, and even rough braking. That information is sent to you smartphone, where the company's app takes the raw data and matches it to GPS information collected by the phone. The end result: the app will 'coach' you to drive within more efficient parameters and help you plan trips to maximize gas and minimize wear. 

For many security companies, the cost of operating service fleet vans or sales vehicles is a big operation expense. Automatic claims it will help each driver in your fleet be a low-cost operator by giving them feedback on how well their car is running and being driven. The company's promotion video below gives an overview:

Key Values

Driving Coach: Being careless with your car is costly. Whether it is slamming on the brakes, stomping on the gas, or just planning your routes inefficiently, the app reflects the driver's net decisions as a weekly 'score'.  Meet or exceed that score for a year, and you have saved hundred, maybe even thousands, of operating dollars. The plug chirps to notify the driver when the vehicle falls outside the efficient parameters.

Reporting: The app also logs the data it collects, so exact travel distances and routes can be recalled later. Actual job mileage expenses can be billed to 1/10th of a mile, and the driver can 'prove' when unforeseen events like traffic or vehicle trouble impacted service times.

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Diagnostics: If the 'engine service' light comes on, the device notifies the phone immediately. The app is also able to interpret the trouble code, so the driver knows how serious the issue really is; there is no delaying a job for something minor like a bad O2 sensor, but if oil pressure drops immediate action can be taken to prevent costly repairs.

Crash Notification: The app also will dial out when the vehicle is involved in a crash.  Based on feedback from the sensor and location of the unit, local emergency services will be automatically called for help.

Parking Reminder: The app also incorporates a 'push pin' feature that marks the exact location you leave the service van on a sprawling jobsite, or sales car in a crowded garage.

Price

Automatic costs $100 [link no longer available], which buys you a plug to fit your vehicle and matches the type of smartphone running the app. There is no monthly subscription required, because the plug and the phone communicate directly via Bluetooth with no need to incorporate cloud servers to crunch data.

Not a Management Tool

Automatic is not a fleet management or tracking tool. It is a 'driving coach' that is only beneficial to willing drivers, and is not useful to operations in real-time at all. Managers who want to 'peek in' and see when/where/how their service vehicles are running will not have the need met by Automatic:

  • No Location Overview: While GPS data is used, it remains private to the driver and is not displayed on a management login. 
  • No Alarms: Unlike tracking platforms that automatically notify home base when the vehicle is stopped for too long or is driving outside a 'normal' region, Automatic will not alert based on driving behavior or route deviations.
  • Opt-In: The driver must be willing to use Automatic for it to be effective. If the user simply ignores the 'coaching advice', it will have no effect on how well or poorly the driver operates the vehicle.

Smartphone Required

The system is only useful when the driver carries a smartphone. If your service techs or sales people do not have iPhone or Android devices [link no longer available], the plug has no app to download to, nor can information be stored and downloaded for analysis later.

Real World Impact

When it comes to the bottom line, using Automatic will save the most money for those security companies who drive the most miles. While good habits benefit even occasional drivers, companies outside dense urban environments will benefit most. The company blog claims that drivers averaging 70 mph spend $50 more per 1000 miles in gasoline than those averaging 55 mph:

Aside from gas costs, the wear on tires, brakes, and the drivetrain is lessened when easing into starts and stops - points Automatic coaches on. 

From our experience in semi rural service territories, a single service van can average 250 - 300 miles per day, which means the device can save ~$50 per week in fuel per van. Given fleets of multiple vans, companies can save thousands of dollars each month just by driving more economically.

Drawbacks

Any potential user of Automatic must evaluate whether saving money on gas is worth extending the 'unproductive' time of driving. Following the coached advice will indeed slow drive times down, and the tradeoff is less billable/productive time for technicians or salesmen. 

The design of the plug may be a factor too.  The plug itself is where the chirping reminders are sounded, and the location of this plug coupled with the road noise inside the vehicle may result missed alarms.

 

Comments (13) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Manufacturers Doing Better Than Expected Against Coronavirus on May 05, 2020
Coronavirus impacts are not hitting manufacturers as badly as they feared,...
K3 Wall Mounted IR Temperature Gun Tested on Jun 12, 2020
Is this the solution to not spending thousands of dollars on fever...
Verkada Coronavirus Response: Free Temp Systems For Government and Health Care on Apr 07, 2020
Verkada has built a reputation on giving away things for free - free Yeti...
K3 Pro Wall Mounted IR Gun Tested on Aug 28, 2020
The original K3 model was lacking in features that the K7 model had and was...
Integrators Rising Against Coronavirus on May 27, 2020
IPVM integrator statistics make it clear - Coronavirus's impact on business...
AHJ / Authority Having Jurisdiction Tutorial on Aug 06, 2020
One of the most powerful yet often underappreciated characters in all...
Add Door Operators To Fight Coronavirus on Mar 31, 2020
IPVM recommends that integrators advocate and end-users consider adding door...
Favorite Video Surveillance Hard Drive Manufacturer 2020 on Aug 27, 2020
Western Digital and Seagate effectively have a duopoly in hard drives but...
ADI Adds Lockers on Mar 20, 2020
Locker delivery is a growing trend, spurred by Amazon. Now, ADI has added...
Opgal ThermApp MD Thermal Screening System on Apr 21, 2020
Israeli thermal provider Opgal claims they were first on the market detecting...
Spectron IR Thermal Fever Screening System Examined on Apr 14, 2020
Most are quick to avoid "fever screening" and "medical" labels, but...
Dedicated Vs Converged IP Video Networks Statistics 2020 on Sep 10, 2020
Running one's video system on a converged network with other devices can save...
Injes Tiny Temperature Terminal Tested on Jul 17, 2020
While temperature terminals have trended bigger, the Injes DFace801 is...
Quantum Dots Potential for Surveillance Cameras Explained on Sep 08, 2020
Quantum dots are starting to be used in TVs for better images, but how will...
Dartmouth College Deploys K3 Temperature Screening on Sep 29, 2020
While Dartmouth College has a $6+ billion endowment, the College has bought...

Recent Reports

ISC Brasil Digital Experience 2020 Report on Oct 23, 2020
ISC Brasil 2020 rebranded itself to ISC Digital Experience and, like its...
Top Video Surveillance Service Call Problems 2020 on Oct 23, 2020
3 primary and 4 secondary issues stood out as causing the most problems when...
GDPR Impact On Temperature / Fever Screening Explained on Oct 22, 2020
What impact does GDPR have on temperature screening? Do you risk a GDPR fine...
Security And Safety Things (S&ST) Tested on Oct 22, 2020
S&ST, a Bosch spinout, is spending tens of millions of dollars aiming to...
Nokia Fever Screening Claims To "Advance Fight Against COVID-19" on Oct 22, 2020
First IBM, then briefly Clorox, and now Nokia becomes the latest Fortune 500...
Deceptive Meridian Temperature Tablets Endanger Public Safety on Oct 21, 2020
IPVM's testing of and investigation into Meridian Kiosk's temperature...
Honeywell 30 Series and Vivotek NVRs Tested on Oct 21, 2020
The NDAA ban has driven many users to look for low-cost NVRs not made by...
Ubiquiti Access Control Tested on Oct 21, 2020
Ubiquiti has become one of the most widely used wireless and switch providers...
Avigilon Aggressive Trade-In Program Takes Aim At Competitors on Oct 20, 2020
Avigilon has launched one of the most aggressive trade-in programs the video...
Mexico Video Surveillance Market Overview 2020 on Oct 20, 2020
Despite being neighbors, there are key differences between the U.S. and...
Dahua Revenue Grows But Profits Down, Cause Unclear on Oct 20, 2020
While Dahua's overall revenue was up more than 12% in Q3 2020, a significant...
Illegal Hikvision Fever Screening Touted In Australia, Government Investigating, Temperature References Deleted on Oct 20, 2020
The Australian government told IPVM that they are investigating a Hikvision...
Panasonic Presents i-PRO Cameras and Video Analytics on Oct 19, 2020
Panasonic i-PRO presented its X-Series cameras and AI video analytics at the...
Augmented Reality (AR) Cameras From Hikvision and Dahua Examined on Oct 19, 2020
Hikvision, Dahua, and other China companies are marketing augmented reality...
18 TB Video Surveillance Drives (WD and Seagate) on Oct 19, 2020
Both Seagate and Western Digital recently announced 18TB hard drives...