I think it goes without saying, Dash Cameras will eventually be standard across most fleets in the
transportation industry. Unfortunately, accidents are going to happen and of course, when they do, there’s lots of finger-pointing. Not to mention, you are the big bad transportation company with the deep pockets. In these situations, the fact of the matter is that it could be anyone’s fault. Maybe the driver was texting or maybe the car pulled out in front of the driver. Whatever the case, insurance companies will be involved and ultimately, time and money will be spent sorting things out. So, the question begs, should you as a company have Dash Cameras in your fleet?
Types of Technology
First, we must understand the two types of technology and their benefits. The first is the stand-alone Dash Camera. When there is a harsh breaking event, this camera records and shuts itself off when the truck is sitting, turned off or just simply driving down the road. This type of dash camera also only allows for data to be received, by going out to the vehicle and pulling out the USB chip. Not to mention, it does not have the ability to be managed on the same dashboard that you do IFTA miles and track your fleet.
Herein lies the problem. GPS tracking and cameras have been developed separately as technology has grown, so you see companies that only offer Dash Camera and nothing else. The result is, transportation companies have a software for dispatch and a software for ELD and vehicle tracking. Then comes the software for cameras, which means they now have three different interfaces that they need to log into. And don’t get me wrong, as a cheap option this does still work, but could there be a better way? Could there be software that has all of this rolled into one platform, while keeping the cost low?
One thing to remember is, accidents aren’t cheap and having just one accident every two years can cover the cost of the actual camera system. The fact of the matter is, having cameras on each vehicle changes the way the drivers behave with company purchased vehicles. Now, I am not saying drivers are bad, because most drivers are good. But there are some drivers that do change their behavior, once they know someone else is watching; this adds to an increased level of safety. And, after all, isn’t that what this is all about, safety? Having dash cameras is for both the safety of the driver and the safety of others. It’s nice to able to reference the actual camera footage for forensic verification.
Now, what about the second form of technology, that allows us to use a vehicle dash camera in each one of our vehicles? There are some companies that are on the leading edge of combining ELD tracking, GPS and cameras all into one dashboard, with the sole goal of making it super easy to use. And that’s just the thing, making it easy to use has been something that a lot of telematic companies have failed to achieve.
So how does it work? Well, have you ever heard of an IoT gateway? Wait, what does that mean? An IoT gateway is a device that plugs into the diagnostics port in the vehicle. This then, allows you to connect multiple devices into the IoT gateway, using the gateways own Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. And therein lies the magic of an IoT gateway, because now you can purchase one solution that offers tracking and cameras, all in one. Not to mention, because the IoT gateway has Wi-Fi, drivers can plug their smartphones and tablets directly into the IoT gateway using the Wi-Fi. Also, dash camera video footage will stream to the gateway and allow for that data to then be uploaded into your cloud dashboard. From your cloud dashboard, you will be able to see every truck’s footage, from any point in time. You can also go back and search a specific date if needed.
One thing also to consider, is the quality. You want to choose a vendor that offers HD quality video. What good is a camera, if the picture quality is so low, that you can’t make heads or tails out of what’s actually happening?
Cameras are here to stay! I would think by now, if you have read this entire article, that I have brought up numerous points as to the reasons why. With that said, I encourage you to look into cameras. And, even if you only want to try a few, just to see what they’re like, I would encourage that as well.