Affordable, Practical Vehicle Telematics
Telematics systems that help businesses keep track of company cars used to be expensive and required special equipment. Until now. General Motors has launched a new service called Commercial Link.
The service uses OnStar technology in 2015-model-year-ornewer vehicles, allowing small businesses to manage their vehicles more efficiently, without installing special equipment, for an affordable price.
"We asked our dealers and customers what they needed in such a service to meet their needs," said Chris Rauser, GM Commercial Link senior product manager, who notes that the service is available for businesses with one to 15 vehicles.
General Motors' new Commercial Link service is designed for small businesses to access vehicle information -- such as location, fuel level, miles driven, and maintenance needs -- at any time. Without the cost of buying an additional device, Commercial Link uses data from the embedded OnStar hardware that is transmitted from the car for near real-time views of their vehicles on maps.
Location Location Location
Seeing where employees are located on a map allows businesses to better schedule appointments and deliveries. Commercial Link also allows managers to view the current location or route of any registered vehicle and access its location history.
The location-tracking feature encourages employees to drive for business only -- and to not take side trips not related to work. Rauser says that the Commercial Link service is ideal for delivery services, home maintenance, florists, contractors, limousine services, or any other business where the vehicle is used as a tool.
Commercial Link also monitors the speed of vehicles and, to encourage safe driving, will send text or email alerts when a driver drives above set speed limits.
A popular feature of the Commercial Link service is remote door unlock, says Rauser. The ability to unlock the vehicle remotely saves time if keys are locked in the vehicle, by allowing the employee to get into the car without calling a locksmith or roadside assistance.
Maintenance & Fuel
"Keeping track of business vehicle maintenance is especially important because business vehicles can be driven between 30,000 and 100,000 miles a year," said Rauser. "Monitoring tire pressure is very important when trucks tow heavy trailers."
Managers can be alerted when service is required and maintenance can be monitored through the Commercial Link web portal software. Commercial Link monitors vehicle fuel consumption rates and shows fuel efficiency reports to help achieve cost savings.
Reports & Graphs
Information is presented in easy-to-read charts and graphs, including consolidated reporting for year-end analysis and business expense purposes. Commercial Link can be customized around to the needs of each user, allowing for personalization of account dashboards and the ability to set up text or email alerts around sensitive items, such as if a driver is low on fuel or requires vehicle maintenance. Subscribers to Commercial Link have access to 24/7 phone and chat support.
Commercial Link is available on most 2015-model-year-andnewer Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac vehicles, and is available to subscribers via a basic OnStar account that come for free for five years.
Rauser notes that commercial telematics services usually require a long-term contract commitment and payment in advance, while Commercial Link requires no activation fee, no annual contract, and no additional equipment. Owners of compatible GM vehicle models can try out the service for one month for free.
The Commercial Link monthly subscription costs $10 per month. In addition to access through the web portal, a mobile app will also be available this summer for Android smartphones and iPhone.
In addition to Commercial Link, most 2015-model-yearand-newer Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac vehicles are equipped with OnStar 4G LTE, which provides a built-in Wi-Fi OnStar 4G LTE allows workers to utilize their vehicle as a mobile office, allowing them to stay connected, email and more while parked at job sites. hotspot for up to seven mobile devices to connect.
The OnStar Basic Plan includes RemoteLink Key Fob Services, allowing owners to remotely start and lock/unlock a car, and activate the horn and lights from a compatible smartphone with a data connection. It also includes OnStar Advanced Vehicle Diagnostics, and coming soon, OnStar Smart Driver.
OnStar first launched on three Cadillac models in 1996. A customer contacts OnStar every 2 seconds, adding up to about 5.5 million calls a month, or 185,000 calls per day, from its subscriber base of more than 7 million users.
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2016
General Motors has launched a new platform specifically designed for small businesses to access key vehicle information such as location, fuel level, miles driven and maintenance needs at any time. The new vehicle management service known as Commercial Link uses data provided by the embedded OnStar hardware and aims to provide small business owners with a detailed, near real-time view of their vehicle operations to more efficiently manage their fleet.