Anyone with social media access has been exposed to the sometimes funny, sometimes tragic video clips of motorists misbehaving taken by dashboard cameras – but, these go way beyond amusement and are vital for fleet managers looking to stem the tide of rising costs.
Whether for educational purposes to demonstrate how hijackings occur or for laughs by documenting ‘instant karma’ incidents, dashboard cams have become a fixture inside many vehicles.
However, this technology was originally and still is implemented to ensure drivers, particularly those employed by logistics and transport companies, have proof of incidents such as hijackings, road rage incidents and motor vehicle collisions.
Although, dashcams today are used for light-hearted humour, there is a more serious side to this technology. Logistics companies need to make sure they have a complete solution that allows real-time driver monitoring and event notifications as they happen, providing vehicle owners and fleet managers with greater visibility and control over their vehicles from the minute they leave the depot, until they return.
Several companies, especially those dealing with truck fleets, Right Track for example, offer setups that show in-cab footage of the driver as well as a forward facing camera recording the road ahead.
“When most people think of a dash cam, they think of a simple set up with a recording device that saves to an SD card which must later be removed from the dashcam so that footage can be downloaded,” says Laurence Smith, Executive at Graphic Image Technologies.
“This might be sufficient for individual use, but when dealing with a fleet of trucks or vehicles, such a simplistic set-up is ineffective. However, this is no longer the case now that dashcam technology has advanced to the point where it has become effectively an off-site vehicle DVR (Digital Video Recorder) system, combined with front and rear dash cams built with multiple sensors and 4G connectivity to provide real-time cloud-based vehicle tracking and monitoring.
“Add easy scalability to the mix thanks to a cloud platform, and today’s dashcam system is everything logistics companies, shuttle services, taxi associations and car hire corporations have been waiting for, and more.”
Like all other industries, the transport and logistics sector is under huge pressure to reduce the risk involved in moving goods and people, and that is where modern dashcam solutions shine.
Now fleet managers and operational managers have access to a live stream on any device, as well as the ability to view multiple vehicles on a single screen. The latest dash cams are equipped with smart sensors that are capable of registering and recognising trigger events, such as sudden stops, sharp acceleration or collisions, to automatically send a 10-second video clip of the event to be stored in the cloud, while simultaneously sending email or SMS notifications, allowing operators to respond directly to vehicle incidents timeously.
“When it comes to post-event investigation, no longer will fleet managers have to trawl through reams of footage to isolate an incident because all events footage will be easily managed through a central events dashboard that logs events by description, date, time and type,” says Smith.
“This also means such footage cannot be tampered with or destroyed. This makes dashcam footage exceptionally useful for evidentiary purposes in insurance claims and criminal cases. Fleet managers are now able to see exactly what is happening inside their vehicles and with access to hard evidence of driver behaviour, they are better able to monitor fleet performance and driver safety.”
Today’s smart dash cam solutions will offer full GPS tracking of single or multiple vehicles, in real-time, to deliver total transparency into each vehicle’s trip with deep contextual information. For example, point-by-point location information, time, and travelling speed, all of which make it simple for the operator to locate the necessary footage relating to a specific event.
Such solutions have a distinctive edge in that they offer intelligent analytics and automated reporting for true visibility into driver behaviour and vehicle treatment, which is exactly what fleet managers and car rental companies need.
“To get the most out of such cloud-based dash cam systems, fleet operators must look for offerings based on low upfront hardware costs and affordable annual subscription fees. Such solutions provide scalable, reliable vehicle monitoring and tracking services that will be ideal for everything from small applications (such as security-conscious families) right through to large-scale applications like fleets of trucks, taxis and buses.
“Useful for so much more than footage to share on social media for a laugh, today’s cloud based dash cam system is a game-changer, giving business owners and fleet operators the peace of mind that comes from complete visibility into every driver, every vehicle and every trip made.”