We have a new capability which will make the administration of scheduled reports and alerts literally 1000 times easier for large fleets (e.g. more than 1,000 vehicles).
A customer which has 300 or so pilot devices has created roughly 175 scheduled reports to run for each of their groups to each of the appropriate recipients, for ONLY THREE SEPARATE REPORTS!
And now that they are moving forward with over 4000 total vehicles, that would imply roughly 2,000 would need to exist in total. Just to send the right person 3 reports each week.
Since GPS Insight prides itself on delivering insight WITHOUT too much difficulty, we redesigned how certain capabilities work within the product to leverage our hierarchy and soon-to-be-released custom categories and attributes.
Here’s how it works (using a different customer as an example):
First, go to our new “one click” menus to bring up the Custom Categories & Attributes screen:
Open up the Hierarchy "describe with custom categories/attributes" menu
Once that’s open, create a new attribute:
Create a custom Attribute/Category
You can define many things to include the name, what GPS Insight “objects” you can set values on, the value type (email list, in our case, or date, integer, etc.), and whether or not to treat it as a category (e.g. pick-list of predefined values), as well as visibility/editability by other users:
Define Attribute/Category properties
I will also create an unrelated category called “Maintenance Type” for vehicles here:
Creating a custom category in GPS Insight
Then when you are done, you see the “matrix” of available custom categories/attributes and the various types of objects they can be applied to (e.g. users, vehicles, drivers, landmarks, and hierarchy nodes — soon we will add others):
GPS Insight custom categories / attributes and the objects to which they've been assigned
Now I can actually add the values — one (or more) email address per geographic node (or any type of hierarchy node).
Assigning email addresses to Hierarchy Nodes
This is where it gets REALLY POWERFUL:
If you want to create a scheduled report, you can choose ONLY the hierarchy and the “Address” corresponding to your new “Custom (email) Attribute” and the hierarchy will be “traversed” so that each city/state/region and the top-most node (US) will have a report for ONLY the vehicles in that region/state/city sent to ONLY the email address specified at each level.
This means instead of almost 2,000 reports to be defined, you only have to define >> THREE << !!! (assuming all you want are the 3 you’re interested in — of course there are no practical limits to how many reports you define within GPS Insight). And if the recipients for each area for them are the same, you only have to create the hierarchy once, assign the vehicles once, and enter the emails once. And soon we will have an automated spreadsheet upload as well as FTP mechanism to create the hierarchy and specify vehicles/contacts on a regular basis for our large customers with systems where they can be easily exported.
Additionally, when I want to create an alert for all vehicles, sending the idling alert to the APPROPRIATE RECIPIENT(s) and escalating it appropriately to higher and higher levels of management, all you need to do is complete an alert creation form like this:
Create Idle Alert for thousands of vehicles/recipients in GPS Insight
This fundamentally creates 5 separate idling reports — one for the driver him or herself at 15 minutes, where they’re emailed or texted (or sent via Garmin) a message asking them to turn off their vehicle, and 4 more for the higher levels (city, state, region, and US). However, unlike previously, where there was a “static” recipient or set of recipients for each “level,” now if an Atlanta vehicle is idling for 20 minutes or more, the Atlanta contact receives the alert. If it’s a Charlotte or Phoenix vehicle, the appropriate Charlotte or Phoenix contacts get the alert. Then if it’s 30, 40, 60 minutes, the appropriate supervisor/directory/CEO (etc.) will receive it for ONLY the vehicles for which they’re responsible.
This would literally take creating hundreds, even thousands of alerts with separate vehicle groups, separate recipients, at each of the levels of your organization.
Instead you create one alert and it acts like all of those.
PLUS, you can have any number of hierarchies — perhaps it’s better to have a vehicle-type hierarchy where the managers of the delivery vehicles is separate than those of the service, support, sales, etc. vehicles — you can use that type of hierarchy rather than a geographic hierarchy, and the same principles apply.
This is a really powerful aspect of GPS Insight, and sometimes hard to understand why it’s so important. Trust me, for multi-thousand vehicle fleet customers, it’s the difference between a very simple administrative way of sending out reports and alerts, and a colossal nightmare of constantly changing vehicle groups, report/alert recipients, etc. It’s also very helpful for smaller customers who have a large number of alerts and reports to administer.
And if it’s easy to administer, customers use the product. But if it’s a nightmare, they give up and that “unattended return on investment,” as I like to call it, is completely wasted just because the product isn’t used to its fullest.
Please bear in mind these two features are dependent on the hierarchy capabilities, which are not generally turned on for all accounts (to keep smaller accounts from using it when they’re better off with simple vehicle groups). If you want access, please let us know and we will discuss the suitability and availability for your account. It may be a week or two before these features are fully available.
In the near future, custom categories and attributes will allow you to describe your vehicles/landmarks/users/drivers, and drive filters for which vehicles to show on a map, allow you to easily reference aspects of drivers/vehicles/landmarks (such as drivers license #, certifications, vehicle equipment and capacity, notes about a location or customer, and more). We will keep you posted as these incredibly powerful capabilities are available in production.