Will EOBRs become free apps?

By Aaron Huff on

The use of consumer-style Android and Apple devices for fleet management has opened up new possibilities for driving down costs. Owner operators, and even company drivers, might be willing to subsidize, or pay outright for the phone and other in-cab hardware necessary to run electronic logbooks along with other safety, compliance and performance applications. After all, the phones perform double duty as personal devices.

Drivers might also be willing to pay for part of the monthly software subscription as well. Allowing drivers to take ownership of the data might be the future of transportation. Drivers, especially owner operators, would have more flexibility to change carriers and share their data without having to change computer systems each time they change employers. They could keep the same hardware and software no matter who they worked for.

One day, EOBRs and fleet management systems might also be offered for free for fleets and drivers. Consider mobile apps like Facebook or LinkedIn. These are free because data has a market value. It can be sold to advertisers, for example.

Drivers could share industry-specific information through new social media platforms. As more drivers share free-form messages, performance details, images, videos and other content from their devices, they will create a new market for advertising.

In the future, drivers that use fleet management apps might be willing to sell their data to traffic companies and their performance statistics to driver recruiting services. Fleets already pay for MVR reports, why wouldn’t they pay to know drivers’ records for performance and profitability?

What is the industry going to do with data? While it may seem farfetched for fleets to not own drivers’ EOBR and performance data now, the trends in the consumer world make it impossible to ignore.

Aaron Huff

Aaron Huff is the Senior Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. Huff’s career in the transportation industry began at a family-owned trucking company and expanded to CCJ, where for the past 12 years he has specialized in covering business and technology for online and print readers and speaking at industry events. A recipient of numerous regional and national awards, Huff holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Brigham Young University and a Masters Degree from the University of Alabama.

4 comments
Wayne
Wayne

TDSM also has a free E-log application available through our web site TDSM.com.  It works on Windows devices at the moment and will soon be available for BlackBerry and Android devices.  Your comments are right on the mark.  I believe communication technology will continue to evolve with open architecture so that the dedicated and proprietary systems in place today will quickly become obsolete.  Fleets will be able to put smart phone technology in the truck to take advantage of their flexibility and convenience.

tozz22
tozz22

i use big road and i like it a lot

kellyfrey
kellyfrey

@BigRoadinc offers a free electronic log app on Android devices today - with an iPhone app release on the horizon.  to date over 42,000 drivers have downloaded and used the app - with one of the highest user ratings of any app in the Android Market

David McQueen
David McQueen like.author.displayName 1 Like

It's good to see the technology is rolling right along.  I'll be glad to get rid of the paper logs.  The glitch will be that drivers still have to log "on duty" and "off duty" in the oil field service industry because of the exceptions to the HOS regs.  I wonder whether anyone ever considered starting at the beginning and completely revise the FMCSA safety regs instead of the continuous patches and amendments and exceptions/exemptions and NPRMs, etc.  The mandated E-Log devices will be a relatively large capital expense for the small private carriers who can't just raise raise rates at a moments' notice like the common carriers.

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