Connected vehicle technologies are mostly viewed as those that enable high-end communication between vehicles and infrastructure for advanced requirements such as autonomous driving. However such technologies have much more significant roles to play in the area of vehicle monitoring and related maintenance, in present times.
A company that is leveraging on connected technologies and Telematics to its advantage of offering relevant value-added services to customers is VE Commercial Vehicles Ltd (VECV). V Venkateswarlu, Vice-President, Aftermarket, VECV, provided insights into the services offered to enable improved fuel economy and vehicle maintenance, in the journey to achieve highest uptime of vehicles.
VOLVO TRUCKS VEHICLE UPTIME CENTRE
The VECV has begun the concept of Vehicle Uptime Centres recently, with the head command station situated in the company’s office in Bengaluru. This is the first of the current total count of 12 uptime centres established by VECV across the country, which began offering services to customers in January, 2019. The centres monitor over 5,800 trucks that have been deployed mainly for purposes such as mining, and construction and infrastructure. The uptime centre does not provide coverage for buses at moment, but will look at expanding in this direction in the future, noted Venkateswarlu.
The Uptime Centre is a digital home for VECV customers, said Venkateswarlu. With over 90 % of the Volvo trucks purchased by customers being used for over 20 hours in a day, the focus of this centre is in enabling improved productivity and increased efficiency, he added. The manner in which these two criteria are met is by target the areas of fuel utilisation and vehicle maintenance.
Venkateswarlu observed that about 50 % of fleet operating costs arise out of fuel consumption, for which the centre performs specific activities to provide customers information on improving their fuel economy. The uptime centre tracks every vehicle and its driver behaviour, and analyses the gathered data to offer relevant feedback to customers on steps to improve fuel efficiency.
Meanwhile, in terms of maintenance the company begins with steps early in the purchase process, with factors like fixing a 1-year schedule of service during vehicle purchase. In addition to this, VECV provides services to the extent of preventive and predictive maintenance, as well as remote diagnostics, which are all possible through the numerous ECUs present in the vehicle.
Dynafleet is the first service offered by VECV, which is on a subscriber model of Telematics providing solutions to enhance fuel consumption, vehicle utilisation and driving habits. The second service includes VOSP (Volvo Service Program) along with Remote Diagnostics and Predictive Maintenance. VOSP is a global platform, which deals with vehicle service schedules digitally. The first and second uptime services are pro-active in nature.
On the other hand, Fleet Uptime and Volvo Action Service (VAS), the other Uptime Services are reactive in their approach. Fleet Uptime is an India-specific development from VECV, with certain European markets looking to adopt this solution, noted Venkateswarlu. Meanwhile, VAS includes an entire ecosystem for the purpose of vehicle upkeep. It includes a call centre, regional uptime centres, workshops, service vans and customer offices. VECV is also planning to introduce an app for the use of customers that connects them to the ecosystem mentioned above.
VECV is the first company in India to offer a complete comprehensive digital uptime service to customers, noted Venkateswarlu. He said that the Uptime Centre is a value-add service at present, not currently a revenue stream for the company. It is clear that while such services are based on connected vehicle and Telematics technologies, their monetisation is yet to take place. Therefore, offering more solutions like those provide by the VECV Uptime Centre will bring such technologies to the forefront, enabling them to become mainstream, and eventually bring in monetisation capabilities as well.
TEXT: Naveen Arul