Tell us about inthinc and the solutions you offer fleets.
inthinc Technology Solutions is a global solutions provider with a suite of services that help fleets operate safely, efficiently and in compliance with regulations.
Safety is our first priority. We made our name in safety with our unique driver-focused system and a set of features that is unmatched in the industry. We also work in fleet efficiency – monitoring vehicle performance in real time and optimizing routes and performance based on tracking where your vehicles are, how they are being driven and where they need to go. We provide managers and drivers with automatic alerts and notifications for anything they need to track, like accident detection or when a truck enters or leaves a worksite.
We have integration systems to streamline and automate systems, like billing or payroll, based on the data we collect. We automatically track hours of service regulations and collect digital trip inspections. We make sure fleet managers know that the trucks are being maintained, and what needs work – reporting back to the server when check engine light turns on and tracking routine service.
Let’s delve straight into safety.
In safety, inthinc is the leader because we offer features you can’t get anywhere else. We pioneered in-cab and real-time verbal mentoring. It means that you have a telematics device in the truck, and as you are driving around, this device is talking to you – it’s like an alert passenger in the cab reminding a driver to slow down or put on a seatbelt. It is not just telling you that you did it wrong, it gives you a chance to change your behavior, a grace period before it reports a violation. It’s like having a coach that reminds you – hey, you could be doing better at this, you could do better at that – and the results are remarkable.
We have a feature called “Speed-by-Street” where we track the real accurate posted speed limit of all the surface streets, freeways, residential streets – everything. There is a map of those speed limits in the device so that we can talk to the drivers in real time with respect to the speed limits. Nobody else has this map, you can’t buy it; we had to go create it. It took a lot of time and a lot of investment but it is key to having a safe fleet. The combination of driver mentoring with accurate, real-time speed limit reporting can have a 95 percent reduction in speeding in your fleet – with all speeding out, it means safety in.
Tell us about the compliance device.
We have been doing electronic hours of service since 2005. inthinc has a person in most committees that make and effect laws for electronic hours of service. We have a person on the committee at the Federal Carrier Motor Safety Association. We have someone on the committee at the American Trucking Association. We are regularly consulted by IIHS and what they publish. In this industry you have to be on the committee to keep up with the law. The government is trying to do the right thing in addressing driver fatigue because they believe fatigue leads to fatalities – you can only work so much. Now they are working on tampering and faking driver logs. They are getting involved in vehicle-to-vehicle communication and just trying to take things to the next level. But they are legislators, they don’t really understand what it is like to operate a fleet – and they certainly don’t know what it is like to roll out a technology.
What we have been trying to do is feed the center of that pipeline of information to the government from the fleets that we work with, so that they understand the right technology isn’t necessarily the flashiest, but it is the one that works every day. The right technology is what’s dependable and what works for fleet managers – and we have got to listen to those fleet managers, because at the end of the day, if they can’t implement it, it is not going to happen. It’s the right people, in the right committees, to help government receive the best information from our customers, and that all leads to technology that actually gets the right job done.
On top of that, we offer custom solutions for company regulations as well, like a pre-trip inspection that you require in a custom way, or you have post-trip inspections that you want digitally tracked and logged. The platform that we put into the vehicles makes all of that automatic, easy to use and in compliance with all of the laws.
What about the verbal coaching?
The voice you hear in the cab is a computer voice. I actually modeled it after the HAL 9000 – “what are you doing, Dave?” Because it occurred to us, you are speeding, you are alone or you are slamming on your brakes and just that thought in your head: what are you doing, Dave? You are up to something that you know you shouldn’t be up to. That is the actual voice we went for. There is something more human and compelling about a voice in changing driver behavior.
In my presentation at the NAFA Institute & Expo this year, I showed data where we used a fleet to test just beeping to the drivers, without the voice. Over the course of about a year we beeped at them whenever they turned too sharp, slammed on the brakes, accelerated too fast, broke any speed limit or didn’t wear their seat belt. Then we turned off the beeping and let the incident rate return to normal before we turned on our verbal coaching to test and compare. With the overall fleet, which was thousands of drivers, beeping reduced dangerous and inefficient driving in about a year by 60 percent. With our verbal coaching solution, we saw a 95 percent reduction in speeding; and it wasn’t just that it was such a bigger reduction – we almost erased all speeding in the fleet by the third week of use. There is something human about hearing a voice tell you, “what are you doing, Dave?” And you know better. You hear a beep you ignore it but you hear a voice – you make a change. That is what our driver-focused solution does.
Chief Technology Officer
Corey Catten leads the engineering and software development teams at inthinc in designing and delivering state-of-the-art technology to its customers. Prior to inthinc, he held CTO positions at SIVOX Technologies, a speech recognition and voice integration software company, and at Avaltus, Inc. where he helped grow Avaltus to become a subsidiary of USA interActive (now InterActiveCorp.). Mr. Catten holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Utah.