Set for December 16, 2019, the final deadline to meet the ELD mandate is fast approaching. At the core of the new mandate is the IoT technology that replaces the cumbersome paper trail of the dated Hours of Service (HOS) and other fleet logging systems. In a recent webinar, Aeris CTO and founder, Syed Zaeem Hosain, conversed with representatives from our customer, M2M Datasmart, to answer some commonly asked questions that fleet managers and supervisors have regarding ELDs and choosing the best service provider to meet the requirements for the new mandate.
These five questions featured in the Q&A portion of Aeris’ Electronic Logging Devices: IoT Connectivity Enables Conversion and Compliance webinar highlight some of the major concerns that fleet managers and supervisors have over the impending ELD mandate.
How important is it to have remote monitoring visibility over all your devices deployed on the roadways?
Syed Zaeem Hosain, Aeris CTO and Founder: In a perfect situation, it's great to be able to have remote control over everything you have deployed in the field. This can be expensive, however, in both hardware and the cellular service costs. Because a truck is an expensive asset that needs to be continuously productive, fleet tracking companies and their customers are willing to equip mobile devices with cellular data plans for this level of visibility.
From an ELD perspective, if fleet managers have a data plan for the driver's tablet, they can see their driver's logs as they update every few minutes. If they are stopped by a compliance officer, they can transmit encrypted data to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) web service during the stop. Is this required by the mandate? No. The FMCSA only requires drivers synchronize their data with the server via Wi-Fi every seven days. Although, with a real-time connection, you can see route guidance, traffic, have access to dispatch, and other productivity applications beyond just the HOS logs. The biggest advantage of real-time, remote visibility is always knowing when your assets are productive, and knowing when to take corrective action.
What kind of system is being built by Datasmart ELD in conjunction with Aeris for the ELD mandate? How are you approaching the development of this system?
Jeff Stone, Chairman M2M Datasmart: Datasmart ELD has produced a product that combines ELD software with a telematics hardware device fabricated by the Houston-based company, Geometris, that is used to monitor the fleet vehicle's engine. Datasmart ELD has chosen to resell best-of-breed hardware and software rather than bear the development costs. Aeris network connectivity is the other key piece to our ELD offer.
How do Aeris and the ELD mandate play together?
Syed Zaeem Hosain: For IoT solutions in general, Aeris focuses on providing systems, networks, data storage, and analytic capabilities with the highest level of reliability as possible. Aeris works with companies, like M2M Datasmart, to develop the complete product solutions that fleet drivers and managers need to use in order to comply with the ELD mandate.
Jeff Stone: For ELDs, an Aeris data plan supports the ELD tablet. This allows our technical support staff to connect with drivers using our own tablets to help them with editing and troubleshooting. By updating the server every three minutes, we always provide the best available information to help our customers. The Aeris data plan that supports the engine bus monitor allows us to remotely update firmware in the ELD device from time to time when required, look at traffic data, and the location that passed every two minutes. The small 2 MB data plan in the telematics device allows us also to offer a fleet tracking service that is a great profit generator. Data plans from Aeris allow us to layer on other services, like load boards and temperature monitoring, that offer additional, important services to truckers and fleet managers.
Address the 10,000-pound rule for trucks: a lot of businesses who use bigger pick-ups such as a Ford F350s don’t realize that they need to follow the new ELD mandate. Can you provide any information about this caveat to the mandate?
Jeff Stone: When the MAP 21 legislation was passed in 2015, the law was changed to require vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 10,000lbs to be electronically monitored. Many companies still are not aware that their trucks and vehicles fall under this requirement of the new ELD mandate.
It is important to take this requirement seriously for all commercial vehicles with a GVWR greater than 10,000lbs because fines and tickets will eventually ensue. To make sure that these requirements are fully understood, Datasmart ELD has been on a campaign to educate all commercial vehicle operating companies of these new rules and the types of fleets to which they apply. Further information about the GVWR requirements can be found on the FMCSA website.
Is it possible to use an ELD to monitor fuel consumption, including the number of times trucks refuel?
Jeff Stone: It is possible to monitor fuel consumption with ELDs. The Datasmart ELD uses a product developed by Geometris that can report fuel consumed in gallons or liters for any trip segment or any date range. This is a unique capability, as most telematics platforms perform in the same way as standard fuel gauges that only read the percent of fuel level in the vehicle. You may be able to derive fuel consumption from that information, but you would need to know the total fuel tank capacity. Many trucks modify their fuel tanks, so a percentage may not give you the information you're looking for.
The Datasmart ELD does track mileage by state for International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) compliance, and allows drivers to take a picture of their fuel receipts. The tax paid and the state where the fuel was purchased can be recorded at the time of purchase, eliminating many human errors.
Aeris: The Leading Connectivity Platform Partner for ELD Service Providers
Aeris has partnered with Datasmart ELD to produce one of the best solutions for reaching complete compliance with the new ELD mandate requirements.
To learn more about how Aeris and Datasmart ELD can help you reach full compliance by the 2019 deadline, download the “Electronic Logging Devices: IoT Connectivity Enables Conversion and Compliance” webinar or contact us today.