11 oct 22

Damian Penney, Lytx: “The telematics industry is joining forces on safety”

The fleet industry has learned a lot during and from Covid. Companies are now more agile than ever before and their interest in technology has increased. Most importantly, these uncertain times have motivated them to strengthen their mechanisms for solidarity, says Damian Penney, Vice President EMEA at Lytx

There’s a real dynamic change taking place in the fleet industry, according to Mr Penney, with companies resolutely going for a more robust and unified approach to safety challenges. 

But first: How has Lytx been performing in Europe so far? 

“Pretty well, because we decided to work with telematics partners who were already embedded over here, who know the culture and who have customers. We have opted for an indirect model and work with companies who have been around Europe for a long time. We've decided to help enable those companies to take on board our technologies by providing them with a solution and a support service that will make them successful. We've been applying this model for the last two years.” 

In your opinion, what is the top trend in international fleet and mobility management today?

“There are several trends, I think. Sustainability is on everybody’s mind at the moment. There's also the issue of the driver shortages. But also, we talk a lot to insurance companies. There will be a push on cost, which will drive the need for productivity. The whole area of safety and incident prevention goes hand-in-hand with sustainability. We can use technology to help more companies take better care of their employees, rather than just use it to reduce fuel costs. Sustainability, driver shortages, and safety insurance are a powerful trio of trends. Sustainability in particular is a trend people will be dealing with over a very long term.”

What’s new in insurance?

“A percentage of the fleet is mandated, 25% at least, where there is no discussion with regard to the use of connected tech to ensure safety and risk mitigation. And then there's the next 25%. Then, usually, the other 50% probably have some technology or have a good safety programme in place . So, we're working with those insurance companies, because they're trying to get ahead of the game. In the past, they paid out when people had incidents or accidents. Now, they're trying to identify the risk before something happens, and then make the fleets aware of this risk. And they need the right sort of technology to allow them to tell fleets “There's this type of risk on that stretch of road for your drivers, and unless you act, accidents may happen”. And that kind of precision is why I think the insurance industry is getting quite excited about this technology.”

Money is tight these days. So what should fleets do to improve their safety? 

“Well, technology has become cheaper - and the benefits have become clearer. The insurance companies are now saying “If you adopt this measure, we’ll give you something in return.” There is definitely a compelling business case for using this technology. We're selling hundreds of thousands of these products now into Europe through our partners. It shows there is a strong demand for video-based telematics solutions, and people wouldn't buy them unless they had a good ROI. People are starting to understand that video can help reduce costs in these uncertain times.” 

What’s the future for safety telematics? 

“These last few years, I've noticed that companies are putting competitive issues aside and are sharing and collaborating on the topic of safety. They join forces to go to policymakers and formulate which measures are needed to improve road safety. We've started to see, especially across Europe, safety managers working together to share best practices and data about road safety. Today, technology allows people to look at other people's data remotely. For instance, we have hundreds of thousands of trucks in the US, and if you sign up for this safety club, you can connect and look outside on the camera at a truck driving along the road, which could be somebody else's truck. You can see what is happening 50 miles (80 km) ahead: what the weather is like, how serious the collision is that has just happened. Having that level of access to live data is incredible because it takes connected vehicles to the next level. What we’re now doing in Europe is trying to encourage that sort of collaboration.” 

Lytx is the proud sponsor of the Fleet Europe Hall of Fame. The new inductee will be inaugurated on 17 November at the Fleet Europe Awards 2022 in Dublin, Ireland. More information fabout the event can be found here