Fleet Summit 2021

We asked our Business Development Manager Patrick about his experience at his first Fleet Summit!


Hi Patrick! Thanks for agreeing to take part in our blog. We can’t wait to hear about your time at the 2021 Fleet Summit. Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?

Hi, yes. I’m Patrick Hewitt. Simplytrak’s Business Development Manager. I’ve been with the Simplytrak team since April 2021.

So, tell us! How was your first ever Fleet Summit? Was it as expected?

It was actually better than expected! I had interesting conversations with everybody that visited the stand. You’re able to meet with direct potential customers – who want to do business with you, they’re looking for the solutions Simplytrak have. It was interesting.

The event was also really organised. The team did an amazing job ensuring both exhibitors and those visiting the stand were kept safe. So, well done to those guys!

During your time at the Fleet Summit, did you find the requirements of the fleet industry had changed due to the Pandemic?

Not necessarily. The world is continually evolving and therefore the telematics industry needs to too. The brilliant thing about Simplytrak is that we’re always two steps ahead. Always. Hence SimplySecure.

Ah, Simplytrak’s newest solution. Can you tell us more?

Sure! SimplySecure has been designed with the world’s largest courier operator. It’s the solution the courier industry has been searching for. Designed to prevent vehicle theft, SimplySecure stops the driver ever leaving the keys in the ignition. Whenever the driver’s door is opened with the keys in the ignition, the horn will sound, hazard lights will flash, and the vehicle is instantly immobilised. The vehicle cannot be stolen.

It’s something I would recommend to anybody in the courier industry.

It would be great to know what conversations you had during your time at the summit. Is there anything memorable you can share with us?

I had some really, really good conversations. G45 was particularly interesting. What they were looking for was completely niche. But something Simplytrak can nevertheless deliver. Quite honestly, all the conversations were interesting. I spoke to the likes of John Lewis, East Riding Council, Chichester District Council, Amey…the list goes on.

All were looking for a range of different solutions and features, but I found one of the biggest and unique selling points that Simplytrak were able to offer was our driver training feature on the Simplytrak Scorecard. We were able to show them how to save on their fuel consumption, create safer and better driving environments for their drivers etc. They all seemed to be very interested.

From the conversations had, how do you believe Simplytrak can help the fleet industry?

Trust in Simplytrak! Our solutions come with standard features that are anything but standard. We aren’t here just to track your assets. By partnering with Simplytrak, you’re protecting your future.

Interested in learning more about Simplytrak’s solutions? Download our July 2021 eBook here:

Although retailers have had to close their shops due to Covid-19, Black Friday sales are bigger than ever and set to continue online. Brands have even began pushing their Black Friday deals as far as a month before the day!

Covid-19 and shopping

Research by Scurri shows a 74% growth in online shopping since the Covid-19 pandemic.  45% of UK adults say they have received more parcel deliveries since the pandemic than ever before.

Increased competition amongst brands suggests that this Black Friday is set to be the biggest in history! 85% of UK customers are already planning to shop for Black Friday this year and according to reports, sales this Black Friday are expected to increase by at least 14% compared to last year.

Black Friday 2020

With the overall increase in online shopping, couriers offering more flexible delivery times and the fact that this year’s Black Friday is going to happen whilst we are in lockdown, companies are expecting a surge in orders. Because of this, reports predict a rise in vehicle emissions.

Companies are hiring extra drivers to cope with the demand for next day delivery. This year around 5 times the daily volume of orders are expected to be placed. Companies are preparing for the expected increase in Black Friday orders – creating a higher demand for couriers.

Make sure your vehicles are secured and tracked, contact us for a quote today.

What do you think will be the biggest connected car developments in 2020?

In short, more of the same. We have had connected cars at the top of manufacturers ranges for a while now. Tesla is at the pinnacle with high end manufacturers like Jaguar Land Rover and Mercedes following their lead. The connectivity comes at various levels. Every Tesla is connected to Tesla HQ as is their Supercharger network. Over-the-air software updates and information about how many Superchargers are free on your journey are two advantages of this for the driver. This is mainly because a Tesla is as much a computer with wheels as it is a car. Jaguar Land Rover and others are still more car than PC today but all moving in the same direction. Electrification and subsequent connectivity back to the manufacturer will certainly become more mainstream.

Manufacturers are adopting voice-operated In-Car Assistants as standard fit in many cars. Do you think your products will integrate with these systems, or will there be problems? 

In car assistants are becoming more widespread across the manufacturers ranges also. The manufacturers will be highly protective of these systems and rightly paranoid about the potential for hacking them. As vehicles head towards autopilot-type functionality, these risks are concerning but will not stem the tide. Hence manufacturers will be slow to open up much if anything of these systems to third party integrators and we do not expect any outside of the largest of tech companies to get real access to real integration for the next few years.

With 5G becoming more widespread, will you be able to offer more services at greater speed for clients?

5G is currently being rolled out though coverage is limited to large cities at present. There is still a lot of infrastructure to build to make this a reality throughout the country and many systems that use the technology will also be using 3G and 4G as a backup for the next few years. Eventually this will lead to faster systems and newly built vehicles will have a future-proofing feature in preparation for nationwide 5G coverage.

The challenge in the vehicle space is simply the mobility of the assets themselves. Whilst 5G coverage may quickly become widespread across London, even vehicles that commute into the surrounding counties will need tech that doesn’t exclusively rely on 5G to function. Equally, all this fast connectivity assists the manufacturers as much as the vehicle owners. Service warnings and fault identification will benefit the main dealerships over independent repair centres, for example.

Manufacturers will also quickly be able to track and monitor their vehicles after the sale. However, this will not help a fleet owner monitor a mixed fleet anytime soon. Nimble third-party companies are leading the charge to integrate camera/tracking systems to assist drivers. These too will adopt 5G and much R&D is quietly happening right now to stay ahead of the game for the consumer. When 5G arrives in your area, your camera systems at least will be ready.

Simplytrak’s MD Ian Wood is featured in this month’s Fleet World Magazine. Read below what Ian has to say on the arrival of artificial intelligence in telematics solutions.

Different versions of the same tech

AI, ML and algorithms are all connected phrases but are in essence different versions of the same underlying tech. Whilst to the software and marketing teams this matters, to the end-user the focus should be only ever be on the suitability of the total solution provided to their business.

Algorithms can be very simple ‘if-then’ commands used throughout the software world and have been around a very long time. Awareness of them only became much more widespread as their use became more prominent when the likes of Google updates helped to create an entire industry designed around outsmarting the search engine giant.

All telematics hardware contains firmware which works on that very basis too. ‘If this panic button is pressed, activate this output’ is a perfect example. ’If this input becomes live, send an ‘ignition on’ message to the server’ being another.

Machine Learning on the other hand is often a collection of algorithms working together to perform a task or tasks without being programmed how to do so. This is more frequently used in data-mining telematics information to highlight inefficiencies in fleet use or bad driving behaviour/vehicle use.

AI is the ‘new black’

AI, however, is ‘the new black’. It differs from the above by its algorithms being able to cope with unstructured data and creating tasks essentially based on surprises. Whilst buzzy in terminology, in real terms it’s widespread use for our purposes is very limited at this time.

Business needs are individual and complex and telematics solutions should always have a focus on the end goal of increasing efficiency and safety in fleet use. The use of AI will happen soon enough. But for all the buzz, AI is still just a set of behind the scenes processes based on algorithms, data-collection and manipulation. The focus of the end user must remain on using telematics solutions to improve fleet and asset use and gain maximum efficiencies for safety and their bottom line.

Simplytrak are a no nonsense provider of advanced and often bespoke telematics solutions.

Which one should you choose?

Well the answer depends on what you are trying to achieve.  If you are trying to track your mobile workforce than the app might be sufficient. However, if you want to track driver behaviour, fuel consumption and have accurate route replays you’ll need an installed vehicle tracker. When weighing up your options make sure that cost alone is not the drive to your decision or you might end up feeling disappointed.

What will a mobile phone tracker app offer my business?

You might decide to use a mobile phone app for ease of use with no installation needed in your vehicles. However, if you are trying to keep track of a fleet it really isn’t a reliable option. Loss of signal could mean that you can’t always access the location of your fleet or that parts of the journey aren’t recorded at all. As the tracking device is the driver’s phone then the GPS can just be turned off if they wish to stop their employer tracking them. A GPS app can also drain your employee’s phone battery so unless they turn up to work with a fully charged battery every morning you run the risk of their phone going dead.

You also run the risk of your business getting left behind. If your competitors are using more sophisticated fleet management systems, and they likely are, they’ll be eliminating paper work, increasing route efficiency and have an insight into unwanted driver behaviours.

Why should you choose installed vehicle tracking?

It might feel like the more expensive option but the efficiency it will drive across your business will offer you a significant return on your investment.

Increase revenue

A fleet management system allows businesses to be much more intelligent in how they schedule trips. Fleet managers can optimise planning too by assigning jobs to idle vehicles or that are within closest proximity or travel time to the location. Overall the number of jobs and trips can be minimised by planning the workload in a strategic way. By maximising the workday, your fleet will be able to complete more jobs and increase revenue.

Gain insight into driver behaviour

With a fleet management system it is easy to gain an understanding into unwanted driving habits such as excessive speeding and harsh acceleration and braking. By identifying any trends within your fleet, it will help you to educate drivers on safer and greener driving habits. This will reduce fuel consumption, maintenance costs and the chances of an accident.

Protecting your fleet

Your business can keep on top of all vehicle maintenance checks with a range of alerts set up inside a fleet management system. Healthy vehicles waste less fuel and are more efficient, reducing the risk of any unwanted repairs that may come. Specialist fleet management suppliers might also supply an immobilisation feature for extra security if it is stolen, allowing you to safely immobilise your vehicle until it is tracked and found.

Reduce time completing paperwork

A fleet management system will help your drivers, dispatchers and managers reduce paperwork as the system can automatically track and record the details of the time spent at a job. This makes invoicing much easier as job lengths will all be recorded in the system accurately.

Mileage records can also be recorded by a turn-by-turn updated system, eliminating the use of paper records and ensuring a correct submission to the tax office every time.

Reduce fuel consumption

Excess fuel consumption is bad news for a business and the environment. A fleet management system can provide fleets with the most efficient routes, saving time and eliminating unnecessary fuel expenses. A fleet manager can also set reports to inform them if engines are left running or vehicles are being used out of hours.

Overall an app can be a convenient tool for a mobile workforce but if they are going to be driving a vehicle on a regular basis an investment in vehicle tracking will be well worth the investment.

To learn more about how the Simplytrak system can improve efficiency across your fleet, please contact Ian Wood our Business Development Manager at E: ian@simplytrak.com or on T: 01430879197.

For a business reducing engine idling can open the doors to a range of benefits and is a sure way to create a greener and more efficient fleet. With many councils now acting on this too, as it may be time for your business to take the lead in the change.

So what are councils saying?

There is a growing concern regarding exhaust emissions and the damage they have on our health. Over 30 councils across the country have come together to tackle the issue of engine fumes caused by engine idling. Councils are considering introducing on-the-spot £20 fines if you leave your engine running while in the street or parked up and waiting. Although the new introduction of fines is highly likely to go ahead, it has actually been an offence to leave your vehicle’s engine running excessively since 1986.

How can your business act now?

If your business has a fleet then you may want to consider measures now that will significantly reduce or eliminate engine idling. This can start by simply educating staff. If staff are trained on the benefits of reducing engine idling this can go some of the ways. In many cases though, unwanted driving habits are learnt over time and the driver may not even recognise them. This is where a fleet management system can be a great insight.

With a fully-featured vehicle tracking system, like Simplytrak’s, fleet managers can be alerted to any periods of engine idling. The incident, date, time and location are available to be viewed within the system or downloaded in a report format and shared with the driver. This can also be a useful tool alongside driver scorecards that promote safer driving techniques and many businesses then use these scorecards to incentivise calmer driving.

By understanding the driver behaviour of your fleet, you will be able to use this analysis to create healthier driving habits that promote lower fuel and maintenance costs, reduce the risk of an accident and maybe most importantly, reduce the carbon footprint of fleets. As businesses come under more pressure to run greener fleets, a sophisticated fleet management system can be the perfect tool to help you achieve this.

To learn more about how the Simplytrak system can reduce engine idling and unwanted driving habits across your fleet, please contact Ian Wood our Business Development Manager at E: ian@simplytrak.com or on T: 01430879197.