Fleetmatics is a major player in GPS fleet tracking and management. Recently acquired by Verizon, they are one of the more prolific tracking solutions on the market. However, a large part of that business is focused on fleets of smaller local vehicles. Think of service vehicles like plumbing or cable repair vans, local delivery trucks, etc. Over the road trucking is not historically their core market, and it shows somewhat in their ELD offering.
The system is priced somewhere in the upper mid-range for BYOD options. There is no up-front cost. Estimated monthly costs are $35/month for the basic REVEAL platform and hardware, which gives you GPS tracking and many other tools and reports. Adding on electronic logs is an additional $10/mo. And as always, we include an estimated $15/mo for a cell enabled tablet or smartphone with a data plan. So all-in you’re looking at something close to $60 per unit per month, if you are providing the cell data plan rather than asking drivers to use their own.
REVEAL is the basic fleet management offering. This is a great product used by fleets all over the country. The tracking is reliable, and there are some really great dashboards and reports to help you manage your mobile workforce. The back office tools for tracking and fleet management are visually attractive and easy to use. The tracking hardware can be concealed behind the dash, to help avoid tampering. And the device even has its own 4G cell connection. So even if the display tablet/smartphone is turned off, fleet managers can still get location updates from the unit. All this makes it a very robust GPS tracker. If all you need is tracking and fleet management this would be an excellent choice.
However, there are some significant shortcomings that trucking fleets looking for an ELD should consider. The system is a bit light on some of the features that are standard in many other systems. No two-way messaging, no truck route navigation, minimal engine diagnostics, no team-driver mode. Integration with transportation software like TMW and McLeod is limited or non-existent. The install process is much more involved and time consuming than most other BYOD ELDs. Rather than plugging straight into the diagnostic port, the 3-wire system must be connected to power, ground and ignition separately. The LogBook software used by drivers requires downloading a completely separate app from the main Fleetmatics app, and the LogBook app has received rather poor reviews from drivers in the Google Play store.
Perhaps most importantly, many ELD-mandate-required features are under construction but not yet available. Personal Conveyance and Yard Move modes are still in the works. Drivers cannot yet send logs via email or other wireless methods. Drivers can edit their own logs, but a mandate compliant approval process for edits made by fleet managers is still under construction. And on the topic of log edits, the system for making log corrections is a bit cumbersome, and there is not an easy way for fleet managers to quickly assign unassigned driving. Fleetmatics is actively developing all of these features, with the full intention of releasing them before the December 2017 deadline. But interested fleets should be aware that some important capabilities are not yet available, and will likely need some months of working out kinks once they are released.
Fleetmatics is a respected, thriving company with a strong history as an industry leader in tracking and telematics. As a Verizon subsidiary, they have the resources to make serious improvements to their product, and we have every reason to suspect they will do so. But for now, trucking fleets looking for an ELD should be cautious. This market is not yet the Fleetmatics wheelhouse, and until some improvements are made, the ELD component of REVEAL feels like an afterthought.
UP FRONT COST
3-YEAR TOTAL COST
Pros & Cons
- Good GPS fleet tracking
- Nice dashboards and reports
- ELD device has its own 4G connection
- Not focused on trucking or ELD
- Mandate-required features still in progress
- Poor driver reviews
We used Verizon Connect (Fleetmatics) for 10+ years. Fleetmatics was purchased by Verizon 3-4 years ago and that’s when the customer support began to fail, which resulted in our decision to discontinue using the product. I say “using” because we are still paying for it since Verizon locks its customers into long-term contracts. I would spend 8-10 hours each time I needed support. I don’t have time to mess around. My time is far more valuable than the $350/mo that we are paying.