Fleet management is streamlined through new GSM and GPS interface

Fleet owners can ensure more efficient management and performance of their vehicles through a recently launched fleet management interface solution developed by top asset management solutions provider QCIC, and world leading satellite navigation technology developer and global positioning system (GPS) manufacturer Garmin.

The fleet management interface involves the linking of a Garmin navigation device to QCIC’s flagship QIC-FLEET solution, which is designed to enable fleet owners to effectively and affordably manage numerous variables related to the location and performance of individual vehicles and equipment by transmitting relevant data on the GSM network, via a preferred network partner.

QCIC director Brian McKenzie reveals that the new interface, launched in late 2013, provides substantially improved communication and vehicle management in an interactive manner through a Garmin navigation device. “Any newer model Garmin GPS unit can be effortlessly connected to the QIC-FLEET device via a fleet management interface (FMI) connection cable.”

McKenzie points out that this new interface provides measurable value to numerous industries, including; couriers, meter taxis, towing companies, emergency services and businesses that are heavily reliant on travelling sales representatives. “The interface provides two-way communication to ensure that a central control room can clearly communicate with the driver of any specific vehicle in the fleet.”

What’s more, the QIC-FLEET/Garmin interface enables the user to track the exact location of any vehicle at any given time. Through this improved communication channel, the Garmin GPS unit informs dispatch on the estimated time of arrival (ETA) of the vehicle, and the parcel or load that it may be carrying for delivery to a site. It also gives employers the flexibility to employ people that may show potential, but do not necessarily have a good knowledge of certain areas or regions, as the Garmin interface will guide the newly appointed representative to the exact sales area.

“The ETA is updated in the software every two minutes in order to ensure accurate and near real time updates. As part of this two-way communication, the QIC-FLEET device ‘replies’ to the Garmin GPS unit and provides the driver with detailed travel information, and plots the entire day’s journey according to the most efficient routes for each destination,” he continues.

McKenzie states that the QIC-FLEET/Garmin interface also boasts the ability to pre-plan a route for the following working day. “While the vehicle is standing stationary overnight, the interface is able to load the next day’s business or sales calls onto the Garmin GPS unit for the sales person to start their navigation the next day upon entry of the vehicle.”

Should the driver wish to decline any of the predetermined stops, McKenzie highlights the fact that a message is sent via QIC-FLEET informing dispatch that the destination has been declined, thereby enabling accurate tracking of all deliveries and work that is being done. Upon accepting the destination point, the Garmin GPS unit guides the driver along the most suitable route to the sales area.

McKenzie notes that another major benefit of the QIC-FLEET/Garmin interface is the fact that it alerts dispatch when the driver reaches a destination, in addition to recording the amount of time spent at the destination, and the time of departure.

“This value added feature ensures that management is able to determine whether the driver is utilising time to maximum efficiency and productivity. With rising fuel and toll costs, together with increased traffic volumes, the interface also assists companies in determining the most cost effective routes. It also provides a record of the driver’s driving habits, and costly habits such as speeding, over-revving or harsh braking can be identified and rectified within a short timeframe,” he says.

Companies utilising the QIC-FLEET/Garmin interface are also covered during cross-border journeys by transmitting relevant data on the GSM network, via a preferred network partner. McKenzie indicates that Sub-Sahara Africa is well covered by the GSM network. “This ensures that the interface is able to supply clients with sophisticated GSM solutions through preferred network relationships and deliver near real time data to the end user, even when a vehicle is thousands of kilometres away.”

McKenzie is confident that the QIC-FLEET/Garmin interface will gain measurable market share moving forward. He states that there is potential for considerable future growth particularly within the insurance industry. “As all information is captured and recorded, it eliminates the complexities related to hearsay from parties involved in an incident. Garmin has added camera technology to the interface and in the near future clients will be provided with a clear and more comprehensive visualisation of what is happening inside and outside the vehicle,” McKenzie concludes. 

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