Truckcom, based near Stansted Airport in Hertfordshire, are doing something very different from other companies in the Tracking and Telematics sector.
"The main thing that makes us different from the competition is that we’re focussed entirely on smartphone based fleet management" says Hugh Wightwick, one of the Truckcom’s founders. Truckcom started trading back in 2005, when the word "Smartphone" was yet to enter common use. From the start, and still today, the company has focussed on the same set of benefits – fleet tracking, electronic POD, paperless vehicle checks, and integrated satellite navigation, all using mobile devices. Hugh feels that their early start was a mixed blessing: "the good thing is that we have had time to evolve a very capable system in close collaboration with our customers" he says "but the going was very hard back then – only a few far-sighted operators really ‘got’ the idea of giving a driver a mobile device as part of their fleet management approach".
That’s all changed now, and Truckcom is really reaping the benefits of the Smartphone revolution. "We’ve grown by more than 40% since 2011" says Hugh, "and future growth is looking good too, following our selection by DFDS logistics to supply Smartphone and office software for its entire 1200 vehicle fleet in 9 countries".
Truckcom Mobile now runs on Android and iPhone
As Truckcom grows, one of their challenges is to make sure that as many drivers as possible can easily access their App. "Google’s Android system is widely used, and we’ve had an Android App for several years" says Carl Bonsu, Truckcom’s mobile Team Leader – "but we’ve realised that many drivers already have iPhones, so we’ve recently completed the development of an iPhone version". The next step will be to develop a Microsoft Windows Phone version, which the company plans to do this year. With the reducing importance of Blackberry going forward, this means Truckcom will be able to run on more than 90% of all smartphones. "Also, we’ve recently built multi-language capability into the App – the DFDS project requires it to work in 8 languages" says Carl.
TruckcomST – Truckcom’s new Cloud Based Software
Another important challenge for Truckcom has been to make its powerful office software more easily accessible to a rapidly growing customer base. That’s where the company’s next big innovation comes in – a new version of their office software, called TruckcomST, that is entirely cloud based. Users just open a web page in their internet browser and they’re straight into using the system. "Back in 2005 we didn’t feel that web technology was capable of doing everything that Truckcom office needed – so our software was installed individually on each PC" says Hugh "but since then there’s been a lot of progress in web technology. Our new system is based on Microsoft Silverlight, which is perfect for us – it lets us do all the things Truckcom already did before – fleet tracking, electronic POD, vehicle checks, and much more – but all within the user’s browser".
The cloud based system is now live and already in use by DFDS and several other customers, including one of Truckcom’s longest standing and largest customers, Goldstar Transport. "We’re really impressed with the new system" says Derek Cawston, Goldstar’s Group Services Director. "It’s easier to use and much more versatile".
Looking forward, Truckcom has big promotional plans for 2014. "The great thing about the new cloud based approach is that customers can sign up instantly – and we’re offering free, no-obligation 30 day trials" says Hugh. The company is exhibiting for the first time at the Commercial Vehicle Show at the NEC in April. "We’re really excited about 2014. I think we’ll look back on it as a pivotal year for Truckcom"