XRS is a great product for fleets looking for low cost of entry, and a Bring Your Own Device hardware model. XRS provides a simple “Relay” box which plugs into the truck’s diagnostic port. The Relay then communicates with any Android device of your choosing, wirelessly via Bluetooth. The Relay is in charge of detecting engine status and GPS, while the tablet displays information to the driver and sends logs and messages back to the home office.
One of the biggest advantages here is that there is almost no up-front cost. Monthly service plans start at $23/mo (with 3-year contract) for a basic ELD, and range up to around $39 with all the extra features. A mid-range plan with logs, IFTA, and some other useful fleet management tools is around $26/mo. Of course you also have to provide a tablet or phone with cell service from a major US cell company (Verizon, Sprint, etc). With most cell companies, you can get a free Android tablet with a 2 year service contract, so again no up-front cost. A 4G data plan for the device will likely run around $10-15/mo. Of course a fleet could opt to have drivers provide their own phone/tablet, thus eliminating this cost entirely, but introducing some headaches that come with managing devices you don’t own.
There are certainly pros and cons to the BYOD idea. Drivers get to use consumer-grade tablets or phones, which usually have much better touchscreens than what you get from many of the ELD providers that manufacture their own. On the downside, the devices are very easy to turn off, thus ending all communication from the system. These general purpose tablets can also be used for other apps. This may be a pro or a con for your fleet. Some type of mobile device management software is recommended for limiting how the tablets are used, which brings a bit more monthly cost (around $4/mo).
Overall the driver experience with XRS is pretty simple and easy to understand. The unfortunate exception is the somewhat rigid driver login and pre-trip process. Both steps are easy to do, but if the driver forgets either one, they can drive the truck without drive time being captured on their log. There is very little warning to help the driver notice he forgot to this, thus mistakes will happen that need to be corrected by your back office staff. Training goes a long way toward avoiding this, but its an unfortunately easy mistake.
Beyond that one strange caveat though, the driver experience is very good. Similarly the back-office tools are simple and easy to work with. Making log corrections is relatively easy, and there are many useful reports and dashboards to help you manage the compliance and operation of your fleet.
All around XRS is not quite a top-shelf solution, but its a solid pick for the budget conscious fleet.
UP FRONT COST
3-YEAR TOTAL COST
*$23/mo, plus an estimated $15 phone/tablet data plan.
Pros & Cons
- Inexpensive, very little up front cost
- Works with high-quality consumer tablets/phones
- Easy to install / remove
- Driver process is a bit rigid, easy to make mistakes
- All communication is via the tablet. Easy to disable
- Multiple vendors involved. XRS and cell provider
The product is affordable. But. you will sacrifice functions from other, better ELDs. So, its up to you how “worth it” are the extra bells and whistles…