By: DickinsonFleet On: January 21, 2016 In: Industry news Comments: 0

Trucking SmartwatchWe have spent quite a bit of time here on the Dickinson Fleet site discussing technology and the future of fleet management.  We’ve covered the overall theme of better connecting the drivers to the road and the road to the drivers.  But one thing we have yet to drive into  is the question of – how is this important data going to be delivered to the drivers and managers?  The answer to that question could be right on your wrist.

Wearables in Trucking

As Transport Topics recently reported, the trucking industry is “trying on wearables” so to speak.  Smartwatches are traditionally thought of as tools that help with the world of health and fitness, but they might be just what the transportation industry needs as well.  Devices such as the Apple Watch can deliver important information right to the wrist of a driver creating minimal distraction. 

“By using an alert that doesn’t depend on the eyes, or even the ears, to get the driver’s attention, the technology avoids the potential distraction that would be caused if it forced drivers to divert their gaze”, said Randy Boyles, senior vice president of mobile strategy at PeopleNet.  PeopleNet is just one of the companies working on developing software for the Apple Watch. 

The watch can deliver important data about the driver back to the Fleet Managers.  This could include health information that will show whether or not the driver is fatigued and other performance metrics.  Likewise, the watch can remind the driver of turns by “tapping” on his/her wrist, serve as a quick reminder on Hours of Service (HOS) and so much more.  Overall, the thought is that a smartwatch will allow the professional driver to keep focused on the road while receiving non-intrusive alerts.  But will drivers and transportation companies adopt this technology?  That’s the big question.

Will Drivers Wear Smartwatches?
As new technology comes out, the reaction from drivers is often one of reluctance.  Similar to on-board cameras, drivers may wonder if the increased level of monitoring and communication provided by smartwatches is meant to get them in trouble.  The key to using this technology to improve productivity is to get drivers to realize the value that it can provide in their jobs and their lives. 

In coming months, many companies will no doubt join PeopleNet in creating both Apple and Android apps for drivers and Fleet Managers everywhere.  It sure is going to be interesting to see wearables will change the communication landscape of the trucking industry as we know it.  The trucking industry will certainly try smartwatches on for size.  The only question remains – will they fit?

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