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Quality Telematics: What’s in a number?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

When considering which is the best telematics device for your needs, how high up on your list is quality? Is your answer “top of the list”? We at Redtail think it should be and so should you!

Quality should be top of the list when considering any and all products and services, including telematics.  I’ll admit, I might be slightly biased in my thinking (but when it’s about quality, I’m ok with that).  A major part of my role at Redtail is Quality Management of Redtail’s BSI ISO9001 Quality Standard accreditation.  Consequently, I’m faced with decisions about Quality almost daily (and you might think me crazy but I love it!).

telematics-quality-control

I’ve been at Redtail for over 6 years and I’ve worked closely with each department at one stage or another.  I’ve worked with the Development & Production teams, been involved in customer-impacting projects, managing our customer support, and currently focus on our marketing and quality standard efforts.  Even performing the marketing and quality roles, I still work closely with many of these departments.  I’m not telling you all this to brag (those who know me know that’s not in my nature).  I’m telling you because I think it’s important to identify how ingrained the culture of QUALITY is.

I have always felt I’m not alone in thinking that QUALITY is the most important aspect of Redtail’s business ethos.

Now, I hear you ask “Why on earth are you tell me this?”  but stay with me.  I know, this monologue about quality might seem a bit random but trust me, I have a point.  This (possibly strange) fascination with quality that I have made me wonder about our devices and data.  We pride ourselves on having what we consider top-quality products and data, so what does that data tell us?

It tells us that over 7,500 Redtail devices have been reused more than 10 times!

redtail-telematics-quality-stats

This is just a snapshot of the larger operation of Redtail devices; this is just a sample from one of our customers.  This particular customer recycles Redtail’s devices multiple times with their policyholders.  The device gets returned and refurbished and then gets sent to the new policyholder to plug in and use.  Importantly, the refurbishments are largely superficial (such as replacing outer casings that were damaged or scuffed by the previous user).

Great from an environmental (more recycling and less waste) and great from an economical perspective too!

To delve a little deeper, those 7,500 devices have, between them, driven over 800 million kilometres (500 million miles) averaging more than 100,000 kilometres (62,000 miles) each.  That’s a significant amount of kilometres!

To put that into perspective, if you were to travel to that distance out into space, you’d actually travel FURTHER than Jupiter!!​

solar-system

Without the high quality standard of Redtail’s products, it wouldn’t be possible to recycle the devices so many times.  Furthermore, many of these devices have been active in various different vehicles since 2015!!  That’s right, 2015.  AND, they’re still going!  I wonder how many more miles these incredible little devices will record before their day is done… watch this space I guess (haha, space, get it)!

48v vehicle tracking – the adventures of a golf cart

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Redtail has been developing a 48v vehicle tracking system for use-cases such as golf cart performance.

We recently had a golf cart arrive at our head office just outside Cambridge for our developers to play with perform some more in-depth testing.

48v-golf-cart-vehicle-tracking-3

While en-route to our head office in the UK, the device fitted to the golf cart actually tracked its journey.  Why not take a look?!

Golf-cart-location-tracking

 

The golf cart started its journey in Reedsburg, Illinois, US, and spent a > 4,500-mile-long journey making its way to us.  Unfortunately, the golf cart battery ran out mid-voyage so only managed to track as far as leaving the US.  It’s something outside our little black box’s control but it was fun tracking it while we could.  Indeed, we work tirelessly to ensure our devices are top quality but we can’t control all external forces!

However, we can track your vehicle’s battery health and inform you if it looks like your battery needs a check.  A VERY handy tool that’s been particularly useful during the pandemic!  With our 48v tracking system, we hope to expand this use-case to other vehicles now too.

redtail-telematics-vehicle-battery-monitoring

 

With so many not using our vehicles regularly, it’s reassuring to know our little tracker is looking out for us.

While we might not have been able to track the golf cart’s journey, it did arrive safely at its destination.  And, of course, we were happy to receive it!  In fact, some might argue that the fun didn’t actually start until the golf cart reached our offices…

48v-vehicle-golf-cart-tracking-1

 

How do you get a golf cart off of a lorry?  Sounds like a simple question with a simple answer, but what if you can’t find the right tools?

Well, funny story, we ended up in an unusual situation when the golf cart turned up on the back of a lorry.  A bit of a misunderstanding meant the golf cart was delivered on a lorry without a forklift onboard.  Consequently, some of our Redtail staff went on a little adventure trying to track one down from one of our neighboring local businesses.

Thankfully, a local engineering firm was able to help us out.  So the golf cart went on a little extra adventure.  The lorry driver drove from the Redtail office to a nearby industrial estate where the forklift was used to offload the golf cart.

48v-vehicle-golf-cart-tracking-2

 

Remember I mentioned earlier that the golf cart battery had gone flat in transit?  Well, that added an extra obstacle when trying to get the golf cart back to the Redtail office.

As a result, we managed to find a local garage that was able to put the cart on a transporter and bring it back.  Luckily, it made it back to us again.  In one piece and fairly quickly, all things considering.

Plus, everyone involved now has a fun and entertaining story to tell… which we hope you enjoyed reading.

And here is a photo of the aforementioned golf cart sitting happily on the transporter in the Redtail office car park.  See looks happy sitting there in the afternoon sun having enjoyed a nice little adventure, right?

golf-cart-on-truck

 

Now, the next chapter of fun can begin looking at our 48v tracking… watch this space!

Lastly, and possibly most importantly, I just want to say how grateful we at Redtail are for all the help we received from everyone involved in our little adventure.

Our new Bluetooth Key Fob – an IoT story

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Our IoT family has recently been expanded with the addition of the new Bluetooth key fob.  But what isn’t classed as IoT nowadays?!  Definition time:

‘Internet of things – connection through the internet of everyday devices to send and receive data.’

[Oxford English Dictionary]

This overused term has become a handy catch-all that perhaps confuses but rarely clarifies what a company is offering.  It is indicative that we do not hear a potential customer requiring an ‘internet of things’ solution.

what-is-iot?

 

Now I’d like to explore some clarity.

  • Internet connection – think we get that – but needs quality!
  • Everyday device – mmmmm……I’ve seen this expressed as ‘familiar objects that you don’t expect to be used in this way’ ?!?
  • Send and receive data – well yes.  But we do need the sense of quality (again) and value in that data

We were challenged by the question (and we like challenging questions), of how to assert driver ID as a security measure.  All manner of ‘answers’ in terms of components, sensors, form factor – but our preference is for a more expansive view.  By which I mean responding to the market and customer requirements while considering the possibilities of what could be done.

Redtail-Bluetooth-key-fob

bluetooth-connectivity

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We identified Bluetooth Low Energy as the most suitable connectivity solution.

First, we selected an off-the-shelf module that enabled ease of development and fast time to market.  Then we designed a circuit board for the most efficient and effective provision of driver ID, whilst also offering scope for future thinking.  The board was designed to accommodate environmental sensor technology to allow response to future requirements from innovative customers.

Redtail-circuit-board-design-process

Of course, there is opportunity in home, in pet and in vehicle, in sensing temperature, power, current, pressure – and more.

Additionally, we scrutinized power efficiency, and include one year’s worth of juice from a single coin cell.  To avoid limiting ourselves to component solutions, we have built-in flexibility throughout our platform in our own firmware and software.  This allows us to evolve in line with customer needs.  For example, the device, whilst starting off in driver ID mode, can be used as a beacon in any and all manner of applications, including integration with smartphone apps.

The Vehicle Asset Management (VAM) device sends sensor data from source to DataWarehouse via the mobile network.

redtail-telematics-vam-devices-solutions

More generally, data from wireless sensors to a database to a webpage – we really have only just begun.

I am sure that we all attend numerous conference events propounding the IoT ‘art of the possible’.  We prefer to be a little more pragmatic.  Thinking and doing and will continue quality sensors to deliver data of value to you and your customers.

Economical driver versus inefficient driver

Reading Time: 4 minutes

We all like to think we drive well (myself included), but how much of an economical driver are we really?  Furthermore, could you confidently answer what an economical driver actually is?!

Tell me, what would your answer be if someone asked if you’re an efficient driver?  In fact, what would your answer be if someone asked you what efficient driving is?

These are questions we’ve been discussing in the Redtail office recently.

Lucky for us, Redtail devices and data enable us to scrutinize driving behaviors and vehicle performance in some detail.  This, in turn, helps us offer a unique view on driving in an efficient and economic manner.

So, we decided to put together a list of tips and tricks we thought you’d find useful.  Maybe you could consider some of these the next time you go for a drive.  Go on, give it a go!​

Check your tyres

 

  • Check your tires
    • Underinflated tires wear out faster and lose energy
  • Maintain a consistent speed
    • If you have cruise control and you’re driving along a motorway – consider turning it on. If you’re driving along other roads, try to maintain as consistent a speed as you can.  Slowing down and speeding up all the time is inefficient
  • Try to reduce the need for unnecessary acceleration and braking
    • If you accelerate quickly but smoothly, acceleration itself isn’t inefficient. However, if you accelerate to a higher speed than the roads allow and have to brake, you’ll unnecessarily need to accelerate again… and if your speed gets too high again you’ll need to brake again and the cycle continues
    • Try to reach a speed that suits the road you are on and maintain it so you aren’t accelerating and braking more than needed. It can use a lot of fuel and be a potential hazard
    • In city driving, nearly 50% of the energy needed to power your car goes to acceleration

reduce unnecessary acceleration and braking

A recent UK government Impact Study on Intelligent Mobility offers compelling data on the impact of ‘eco driving’.  The findings indicated a 5-15% reduction in emissions; a factor that improves fuel economy too!

More tips and tricks:

  • Change gears at an appropriate time
    • Don’t stick in a low gear for too long as high revs can reduce fuel efficiency
  • Anticipate traffic and the road ahead
    • If you see a queue ahead or traffic lights changing color, try to slow gradually as you reach them not suddenly once you’re there
    • Slow deceleration (trying to avoid using the brake to stop suddenly or harshly) is much more economical and will reduce wear and tear on your brakes. So, it helps save on fuel and maintenance costs!
  • Avoid idling
    • It wastes fuel and gets you nowhere
  • Make sure you service your vehicle as often as the manufacturer advises
    • Vehicles with a less than optimal engine can use up to 50% more fuel and produce up to 50% more emissions than one that is running properly

remember to service your vehicle as often as the manufacturer advises

Redtail Telematics device data clears young driver of ‘multi-million pound’ damages claim in court

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Redtail Press Release

 

 

Recently a road traffic incident went to court due to a dispute over who was at fault.  The car was equipped with a Redtail Telematics black box whose data was used as evidence in the case.  In addition, expert analysis of the data by Redtail assisted the Judge’s decision, who cleared the defendant of all fault.

Download here