Inside the data driven tool helping fleets recover from the COVID 19 pandemic

Jul 30 2020

Commercial Mobility Recovery Dashboard data initiative

Webfleet Solutions’ Paul Verheijen and Geotab’s Mike Branch reveal all on the collaboration to create the Commercial Mobility Recovery Dashboard.

Launched in May in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commercial Mobility Recovery Dashboard is a new tool created in collaboration between Bridgestone’s Webfleet Solutions and Geotab, two global leaders in connected transportation, mobility, and telematics.

The dashboard, which was explicitly designed in response to the global outbreak, analyses data from more than three million connected vehicles across Europe and North America to help fleets better understand the pandemic’s impact on their activity and to support their recovery efforts.

To help shed insight on the development of the dashboard, findings to date, and what can be expected from it in the future, we spoke to Webfleet Solutions’ VP Product Management, Paul Verheijen, and Geotab’s VP Data & Analytics, Mike Branch.

How did this project first come into existence?

Paul: We (Webfleet Solutions and Geotab) share the belief that our data can be used for good. Not only in a way to create value for our customers to optimise fleet operations but also to help shape decisions and innovations in our society. Especially in these challenging times, the access to aggregated vehicle data is a vital component in analysing the impacts on our economy.

After much analysis, we have found that counting the number of trips, measuring the total driven mileage, or measuring the total operational time leads to similar conclusions with respect to describing overall activity. We decided to combine our anonymised and aggregated data analytics to create this dashboard.

We both wanted to help government and business decision makers make sense of the current commercial environment and provide a reliable source of information for insights that can help steer decision making.

What are your key findings from the dashboard to date?

Paul: Overall, the dashboard has reported positive trends regarding how fleet activity is recovering across Europe and North America. Since we launched the tool, we’ve seen steady week-on-week growth in all countries. Given the severity of the pandemic, it has been a remarkable effort from the global supply chain and fleet industry.

Canada, Germany and France, for instance, have returned to pre-COVID-19 baseline activity levels – or even higher – by July. Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, and the USA are all clearly above 90 per cent. For Spain and the UK, commercial vehicle activity is still lower, currently at around 80% of normal. Though both countries have also trended upwards since the launch of the dashboard.1

Commercial Mobility Recovery Dashboard

Do you have concrete plans for the dashboard and/or partnership beyond this particular project and the pandemic?

Paul: The dashboard will be updated on a weekly basis for the foreseeable future. There is no set timeline for how long the dashboard will be in operation, but we anticipate it to be at least six months.

Mike: While there are no specific activities that we’re planning together at this time, helping our communities and key stakeholders through the recovery process is a top priority and we are always exploring new ways to innovate and improve our service delivery – be that through partnerships or otherwise.

What does this project and the collaboration between two so-called industry competitors say about the future of partnership in the mobility space?

Mike: We – and the rest of the industry – all want to provide the best tools and service to our customers. The extraordinary circumstances we are facing around the globe further compounded our mutual desire to help communities in any way we can as we collectively navigate the recovery process. This partnership was the result!

Paul: The partnership is a very pragmatic example of how telematics and commercial vehicle data can create unique mobility and smart city solutions and insights. We are just scratching the surface of how telematics will help shape the future of mobility.

How can you see this partnership evolving?

Mike: Only time will tell, but we believe that this small step provides a compelling example to the mobility industry – and potentially further afield too – that the power of two or more companies sharing aggregated and anonymised data analytics and learning from another is not a linear equation and the sum of the two is exponential. Data does not know boundaries; it is infinite and can be leveraged by multiple sources and multiple times.

What does the mobility sector look like in a post-COVID-19 world? What big changes can people expect to see?

Mike: The experiences of COVID-19 continue to accelerate digital adoption across almost all sectors and markets, with healthcare and transport at the forefront.

Already we have seen transport ministers come out and publicly state that advanced telematics and data solutions are cornerstones to routing and contactless deliveries. The movement of goods and people through cities will become more efficient as a result, while efforts to reduce pollution and congestion increase. Central to this will be macro scale uptake of electric vehicles.

While individual governments are beginning to recognise and incentivise their adoption, only when the correct infrastructure and financing is available to businesses and consumers alike can we expect meaningful change. At the core of all of this is having the data to hand to correctly model and understand the challenges and opportunities such an undertaking involves.

Disclaimer

1 Figures as of July 24, 2020; Measured countries: France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Mexico.