Mark Packman is the Chief Executive of Matrix Telematics.
Why camera upgrades should be on every fleet manager’s Christmas list this yearTweet
The increasing prevalence of ‘Crash for Cash’ and, more recently, ‘Flash for Cash’ scams means cameras have become more of a necessity than a luxury for fleet managers. Far more comprehensive and detailed than GPS data alone, footage taken from a dash cam is widely used as a security measure. If drivers are involved in a dispute, they can prove who is at fault, rather than relying on subjective eye-witness statements.
What camera options are available at the moment?
Dash cams of varying quality are widely available – often storing footage on SD cards within the camera. However, the majority of camera options produce video footage which is low quality and cannot be relied upon in all weather conditions. For example, if it’s particularly sunny or foggy it might not be possible to see important details such as license plates.
Another problem with some of the cheaper options is that although keeping an SD card handy on the dashboard might seem logical, it is also easy to remove putting it at risk of being stolen or tampered with. This makes it a far less reliable source of evidence than a cloud based storage system.
How are things improving?
Developing HD quality, wide-lens camera systems has been a major priority. Recording in HD means footage is as crisp, clean and detailed as possible, ensuring that no matter the weather or driving conditions, fleet managers can always rely on their telematics device to provide the information they need, 24/7.
The better camera options connect to a black box device hidden within, not on top of the vehicle’s dashboard. Instead of storing data on a vulnerable piece of hardware, a black box transmits the camera’s data to the cloud where it is stored and available for download whenever necessary. In the event of a collision, this footage will be available within seconds.
With footage data stored in the cloud, drivers don’t need to wait until they get back to base before steps can be taken to protect them. The fleet manager can take a look at the footage immediately and share it with any third-parties – avoiding long meetings or hours filling in a report. It’s simply a case of watching a five second clip.
My advice to any fleet managers shopping around for an improved camera solution this winter is to keep a look out for these innovations and make sure that they’re getting the best upgrade possible.
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