I was reading this article ("Automakers get on board with in-car Wi-Fi") when an idea came to me to address those fleets concerned with driver retention, especially those involved in long-haul where drivers are forced to be out for long periods of time and park in remote places.
According to a recent American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) study, the parking place may well be on the side of an entrance or exit ramp. That’s not exactly a convenient place for free Wi-Fi such as at a truck stop. And, not many state-run parking areas for trucks come with internet connections.
Trucks are now coming with multiple wireless connections. Older fleet management systems may still have 2G or 3G connections. They will be looking to upgrade for one of two reasons. First, the old AOBRDs need to be updated to fully compliant ELDs soon. Second, the 2G and 3G networks are going to go the way of previous cell phone networks by disappearing into the ether.
If I were a large enough fleet, I’d be pressing my truck OEM to provide a discounted 4G LTE plan with unlimited data on their embedded diagnostic unit, with a Wi-Fi connection for the drivers, so that the driver can access training and entertainment options regardless of where they are parked. If the passenger car people can do it for up to 3-5 people in a car, then the truck vehicle OEMs can do it for drivers, and bus OEMs (many truck OEMs are also Bus OEMs) can do it for 50 passengers on a coach headed to the casino or some other tour.
That’s my New Year’s wish for driver retention. Give me data — all the data I want as a driver, not just all the data the fleet wants.