The name LoJack has been synonymous with vehicle theft prevention and recovery for the past two decades. When a vehicle is reported stolen, police officers enter the information into state and federal crime computers. The theft report is automatically processed by LoJack computers, triggering a remote command to the specific LoJack unit in the stolen vehicle.
Troopers can then pick up homing signals from the LoJack device concealed in the stolen vehicle using LoJack tracking computers installed in patrol vehicles.
With LoJack’s long history in a niche market, it might have been easy to overlook the announcement LoJack made in January, 2013, about expanding into fleet management technology. The change came in an instant by a strategic alliance with TomTom, a worldwide provider of mapping and navigation technology.
With the alliance, LoJack created a new Business Services division that will offer fleets its longstanding theft recovery service alongside the new LoJack Fleet Management Powered by TomTom system.
One of the reasons LoJack chose to partner with TomTom was the company’s track record of staying a step ahead of its competitors, says Courtney DeMilio, senior director of national fleet sales for LoJack. TomTom’s latest Personal Navigation Device (PND), for example, is much more than a navigation device; it is a full-blown telematics platform.
LoJack is using the new telematics platform to manage its own fleet of 160 vehicles. “We are our best customer,” she says. “We are dispatching jobs all day to do installations.”
DeMilio says LoJack’s new fleet management offering can provide customers with savings in all directions, including fuel consumption, routing and managing safety.
One of the unique features is to provide active feedback to the driver through the PND rather than just capture and send information to the office for review.
Loaded with TomTom’s extensive map data, the PND alerts drivers immediately if they exceed posted speed limits for a road. It also gives drivers a heads up, or “level one” warning for exceeding fleet parameters for idling and other areas. If drives ignore the warning, the system will automatically send an e-mail or text notification to a fleet manager.
The PND display shows drivers their performance and how it compares to the rest of the fleet. It also tracks their improvements, over time in areas such as speeding, steering, and fuel conservation.
Through the system’s web-based interface, managers can locate vehicles and find the best vehicles to dispatch to jobs. Once jobs are assigned to drivers, job information can be sent electronically to the PND. The job pops up on the display for drivers to accept, followed by spoken, turn-by-turn directions to the location.
“On the employee side it makes life easier,” she says. “Drivers appreciate the benefits. It takes the stress out of the job.”
The PND provides live traffic updates every 3 minutes in order to route drivers efficiently to their destination.
Another unique feature is the ability to create workflow routines for customer service. For instance, a fleet may want its drivers to contact a customer when they come within 10 minutes of arrival. The PND can calculate the expected arrival time using variables such as the speed of the vehicle, remaining distance, and traffic speed.
When the driver is within 10 minutes, the customer’s name and phone number will automatically pop up on the display. The driver can call the customer, hands free, using a wireless Bluetooth connection between the PND and a cell phone.
LoJack Fleet Management Powered by TomTom also has features to automate driver logbooks and time sheets used for payroll and billing.
“We are able to take away the administrative burdens,” she says. “We are giving transparency to the driver and customer.”