Founded in 2005, Yorkshire-based Simplytrak’s fleet management and connected services solutions have been used to optimise the operations of many customers globally. Founder and director Andrew Johnson and managing director Ian Wood spoke to Natalie Middleton from Fleet World magazine about its continually evolving solutions and latest innovations to support fleets.
Founded in 2005, Yorkshire-based Simplytrak’s fleet management and connected services solutions have been used to optimise the operations of many customers globally.
Founder and director Andrew Johnson and managing director Ian Wood spoke to Natalie Middleton from Fleet World magazine about its continually evolving solutions and latest innovations to support fleets.
Operating from a small village in East Yorkshire and serving clients globally, this telematics company has been creating intelligent and innovative solutions for fleet managers for almost 20 years now. In the UK alone, clients include Ticketmaster, Wickes, Amazon Delivery Service Partner ATA Couriers and Practical Car and Van Hire, as well as regional Yorkshire organisations, such as Hull City Council.
During Simplytrak’s time in business, the face of the fleet sector has changed dramatically; from the types of vehicles run through to the operational nature of fleets, particularly driven by the pandemic.
A pioneer in providing safety solutions with remote immobilisation-based technologies and camera telematics to increase vehicle and driver security, Simplytrak’s latest innovation has been designed in partnership with the world’s largest courier operator.
Intended to put an end to opportunist and organised vehicle theft, the company recently launched its latest innovation, SimplySecure. Developed by a team of vehicle security and telematics experts on the back of the success of Simplytrak’s remote immobilisation solution, SimplySecure not only ‘auto-immobilises’ a driver’s vehicle but also educates the driver to remove the keys from the ignition every single time, eliminating the risk of theft and avoiding negated insurance claims.
“Artificial Intelligence and Machine-to-Machine Learning have been such buzzwords in our industry for some time now. With SimplySecure, we are implementing these concepts in one solution,” explains Ian Wood, who joined the company in 2015 as business development manager and became managing director in 2019. “Our team has developed a system that talks to the vehicle, enabling it to make its own decision as to whether the vehicle is immobilised.”
Explaining the background to the solution, Wood continues: “We were approached by one of the largest courier companies in the world, which was expanding rapidly – not least due to the first Covid-19 lockdown. They were looking at securing their vehicles when delivering parcels. We were asked to build on our existing security system specialising in the remote immobilisation of vehicles. Now we’ve gone down the route of talking to the vehicle’s own OEM system and integrating it with our tracking systems – using the machine’s artificial intelligence. Not only is SimplySecure a security and driver training device, it can provide all the other features a tracking system does such as monitoring fuel spend and mileage as well as geo-fencing.”
Wood says being a driver training tool makes SimplySecure relevant for fleet managers across industries by enabling them to create accurate risk profiles; both for entire fleets as well as individual drivers.
“In our client’s case, vehicles are generally stolen because drivers have a certain length of time to drop parcels off and they leave the engines running and the keys in the ignition. What our system does is, as soon as the driver opens the door, it immobilises the vehicle, whether or not the keys are left in the ignition or not to secure it. The driver then has to contact the head office to reset the vehicle.”
It’s a rapidly expanding area too, as the pandemic puts the focus on home shopping and an increased need for home deliveries.
Another area of specialism is van operators with mixed fleets, where relying on the data from the OEM’s own connected system becomes more complicated as operators have to integrate vehicles from different makes.
Andrew Johnson, who founded Simplytrak almost 20 years ago, says: “Most companies out there will have mixed fleets. And don’t want six different monitoring systems to monitor them. What they need is one system that monitors everything, so this is another area where we excel in.”
A further development that the company is working on will bring a solution to the fast-growing number of van fleets turning to electric vehicles.
Johnson outlines: “As electric vehicles come into the mainstream and companies start including them on their fleets, the drivers are going to need to take them home and charge them overnight.
“Now obviously they’re going to have to refund the electricity used at home, so our system will monitor how much electricity has been put into the vehicle so that companies can reimburse the drivers correctly.
Regardless of what fleet managers are looking for, from basic tracking to cameras, immobilisation, and security, Simplytrak says one of its main USPs is that it can offer it all.
The business has a dedicated team of software and hardware integrators that address the requirements of more niche and specialist customers, creating bespoke solutions.
Ian Wood explains: “The good thing with Simplytrak is that we can build around our bespoke system, from a standard tracking system to a complete system built around a fleet’s needs.
“For many fleets, if they want a Direct Vision Standard (DVS) system for instance, they’ll go to a certain company to supply that. If they want a camera solution, they’ll go to another company. The same for a security solution.
“Simplytrak can offer all of that from one platform. For instance, one of our largest clients has an immobilisation solution for driver ID; meaning before a driver can start the vehicle, they have to tap a dedicated key fob, which means that drivers can be restricted to which vehicles they can or cannot drive. They also receive remote tachograph information and have a full 360-degree camera solution to meet the requirements of London’s DVS.”
Johnson adds: “Thanks to our built-in system, all our solutions are connected. If a fleet has our camera solutions, they can access the data and footage through our platform. Regardless of what a fleet adds to our system, it all goes through that one single platform. So, you can now see what the driver is seeing from dashboard data to what the driver is actually seeing through the windscreen and to the rear.”
You can read the Fleet World article here.