Global vision by local fleet-management tech business

17 Dec 2009

More than 100,000 vehicles worldwide are tracked by a Dublin company’s technology to ensure firms protect their costs. Derek Bryan is a director of FleetMatics.

Tell me how a Dublin firm has become a global player in fleet management?

We have some 10,000 vehicles being monitored in Ireland alone in all areas of business, from logistics to transport and construction. Globally, we have 100,000 vehicles under management.

Our technology is very much a tool for the business owner to measure and increase productivity. We have 13 offices worldwide and we are profitable to the extent that we are progressing with our global expansion.

We follow the software-as-a-service model because that’s the way things are going. We essentially fit a tracking device to a vehicle, which then connects up to a satellite that records the vehicle’s activities. The information is securely hosted on a server that customers can access from any internet connection. They can then track vehicles in real-time and also run historical reporting.

What value do businesses gain from tracking their vehicle assets?

We have seen an increase in business because companies are looking to drive down costs. The type of reporting firms can get would be engine idling fuel, time at location, overtime measurement – the key is to increase productivity, enhance services, direct vehicles, see how long workers spend onsite and fundamentally improve customer service.

The technology is scalable from firms with one or two vehicles up to organisations with thousands of vehicles to manage.

Are firms willing to invest in this technology?

When you employ a system like this, firms see a rapid improvement in productivity, usually through the reporting function, because this ensures reliability of service. This includes services that would historically have been unreliable because investment in this area wouldn’t have been forthcoming.

The investment we’ve put into this can be seen though our state-of-the-art command and control station that ensures 99.99pc monitoring, which is unique within the industry.

How does the technology work?

It is a very simple tried-and-tested technology using global positioning system (GPS) and GPRS mobile technology. Data is transferred to a server via GPRS every 30 seconds, so companies are getting updates on where vehicles are at 30-second intervals.

We manage all the data ourselves so the customer doesn’t have to worry. In terms of the mobile network point of view, we have a wholesale agreement with our mobile operator.

Our business model is rental – some systems require a capital expenditure or bank lease, but the rental model makes it easy for customers.

What are FleetMatics’ origins?

The company has been around since 1997. It was originally a software-development organisation, but FleetMatics has been in its current incarnation since 2004. Since then, it has seen massive growth, changing its sales model and selling to the UK and the US.

We recently employed web sales as an approach to market using Webex presentation technologies and that has led to massive growth in the US where we are selling 1,000 units a month via the internet alone. Now we also have a dedicated web-sales operation selling into Ireland and the UK.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Derek Bryan, a director of FleetMatics.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years