When it comes to the changing landscape of the motor carrier industry, Bluetooth enabled devices are certainly the up-and-coming trend that should be avoided; the National Security Agency (NSA) called Bluetooth “inappropriate” for sensitive operations and advised users to turn off Bluetooth capabilities whenever possible to minimize security risks.
Other than risk of exposing fleet vehicles and their safety to hackers (or anyone with a Bluetooth connection and a smartphone) there are also reliability issues with connectivity and loss of data. Anyone who has used Bluetooth headphones can tell you that if your phone is merely in the wrong pocket- you will lose connection.
The unreliability of Bluetooth connectivity and loss of connection is resulting in consistent failure of inspections. This has lead to a massive industry-wide search for comparative knowledge and non Bluetooth devices. Which ELD is going to keep you in business?
Besides Bluetooth, there are a plethora of diversified features across many available ELDs. We have compiled a list of the most relevant ELD providers with a feature matrix for your convenience.
ELDs fit into two categories: point solution (an ELD that only solves compliance) and ELDs that are part of a FMS (Fleet Management System) -these ELDs are actually the cheapest as they provide a ROI offsetting the actual cost of the ELD itself. An FMS can also boost profitability in other areas we well.
If an ELD uses Bluetooth and is integrated with a FMS, the lack of connectivity will lose the logging data (causing inspection failures) as well as lose the efficiency data, thus rendering the FMS inaccurate and possibly unusable.
The technical limitations and bad press surrounding Bluetooth is proving to be an unreliable solution, FMCSA Instructor Samuel Mayfield believes that “Bluetooth ELDs may become revoked as early as next year.”
NEW eBook: The Right ELD. Driving Profitability from the ELD Mandate.
|Fleetmatics||FleetUp||Geotab||KeepTruckin||Network Fleet||NexTraq||Omnitracs||Teletrac Navman||Telogis|
|FMCSA Compliant ELD||-|
|IFTA||Additional Cost||Included||Additional Cost||Additional Cost||Additional Cost||Additional Cost||Additional Cost||Additional Cost||Additional Cost|
|Voice Over HOS||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|10 minute installation||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|24/7 Live Support||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|10 second GPS||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|3G Network - Non Bluetooth||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Specialties||-||Ease of Use (User Interface) Fuel Cost Savings, Maintenance Log||GPS Jamming Detection (Log)||Driver Scorecard||Roadside Assistance (Allstate, 4x per Vehicle, per Year)||-||-||-||Route Management|
|Live Map||Google Maps API; 120 Seconds||10 Seconds GPS Location Update, Google Maps, ETA||100 Seconds||60 Seconds||120 Seconds||120 Seconds||120 Seconds||Google Maps API; 120 Seconds||120 Seconds|
|Fuel Management||No Fuel Data||Accurate Fuel Data per Trip from Engine Fuel Analysis Report||Fuel Report||Fuel Report||Fuel Report||No Fuel Data||No Fuel Data||No Fuel Data||No Fuel Data|
|User Interface||Outdated; Requires Specific Training||User Friendly, Ease of Use Cloud||Better Than Industry Average||Better Than Industry Average||Outdated; Requires Specific Training||Outdated; Requires Specific Training||Outdated; Requires Specific Training||Outdated; Requires Specific Training||Better Than Industry Average|
FMCSA Instructor Samuel Mayfield answers your questions about compliance, exemptions, and which ELD is the right ELD.
Bluetooth isn’t the only danger to ELDs. Many ELD point solutions are in a race to the bottom in terms of price- develop the cheapest device that barely qualifies as compliant and put it in the market for a fraction of the price of the competition.
All this does is flood the market with cheap, unreliable, and dangerous temporary solutions. The most affordable ELDs do not come with fleet management capabilities at all, and therefore, they provide zero ROI. Telematics solutions with an FMS attached might be slightly more expensive, but the ROI can be massive and return much more than the cost of the ELD itself.
Many fleet owners are hoping that compliance will be delayed or that the mandate will “go away” once the total economic impact of the mandate is apparent- and these folks are waiting until the last minute or even worse, going after the cheapest compliant device “just in case”. Don’t make this mistake…
As the FMCSA vets the validity/effectiveness of devices, many of the will become revoked and will need to be replaced even if you are still in contract with the provider of a non compliant ELD. This will also have a major impact on the already dwindling availability of ELDs on the market.
The best move to make here is to become compliant with a safe and trusted ELD before the supply and demand shifts (ELD shortage could possibly drive monthly costs higher than they are now) that utilizes cellular technology and requires minimal setup/install time and driver training.
Every fleet is different. Questions about yours? Talk with our experts now.