As the December 18th deadline looms, fleets are running fast to get Electronic Logs software installed. There is a continuing debate on whether fleets should allow drivers to bring their own device (BYOD) or if they should invest in company-purchased mobile devices.
Let’s face it, BYOD is very tempting. Companies don’t need to invest in the purchase of mobile devices and wireless carrier data plans on these devices. However, there are some disadvantages with BYOD.
- BYOD will, just by its nature come in all shapes and sizes. Smartphones will dominate as drivers are less likely to bring tablets from their homes. This means varying screen sizes and different operating systems, Android, with its own ‘fragmentation hell’, and the much more predictable iPhone, but even here, don’t be surprised to see early generation iphones with early versions of less stable phone operating systems.
- Phone variety and inspector squinting are closely related. Almost 80 vendors have self-certified on the FMCSA website all claiming that they are compliant. Imagine an inspector looking at the ELD graphs on a variety of phones versus a tablet.
- BYOD devices are not designed for harsh environments like one might expect in busy long-haul routes. In addition, they need to be constantly charged. BYOD devices are not single purpose: The entire social media and personal activity of the driver revolves around smartphones. A lot more apps are running and draining the battery on BYOD.
- BYOD devices, by their very nature of portability, as drivers move in and out of trucks at stops is not designed to be mounted on trucks. One day we will have inductive charging cup holders, but today, the driver has to fidget with the small end of the USB port charger every time they get into the truck. BYOD devices have a high degree of personal usage. This could lead to distracted driving versus single purpose, dedicated tablets.
- Many BYOD solutions connect to the ‘dongle’ installed in the JBUS port via Bluetooth. If Bluetooth is turned off, you could lose hours of driving logs and most of these systems don’t have backups so you can’t catch up if you lose the data. In addition, Bluetooth with BYOD has ‘competition’: The Bluetooth channel could be competing with hands-free systems, music player, headphones and other devices. Bluetooth channel contention can sometimes lead to missing out on vehicle computer heartbeats.
If you’re managing a fleet and want fewer support headaches, you should strongly consider a vehicle installed ‘platinum’ option:
- Vehicle installed, and even better, power from the vehicle battery instead of the USB port
- MDM (Mobile Device Management) software that locks down the tablet and prevents drivers from touching Bluetooth and other settings or deleting any applications
- Rugged casing for the tablet with a quick dismount to display to the inspector.
- A built-in wireless data plan, with a predictable fixed cost, to support the ELD software and any other proprietary apps that the company needs for its operations.
- Leasing plans that don’t require you to fork upfront fees for hardware.
Azuga supports both options, BYOD and a full-on vehicle installed kit depending on your requirements. We’d be glad to assist as you make our selection. Please contact us at email@example.com.
All the best in your preparations for the ELD mandate!