July 25

Bill Wark

When Deploying IoT for Dashcams… What Should be on the Connectivity Checklist?

use case: using iot in connected dashcams for fleet management

Every year, there are an estimated half a million truck-related accidents in the US alone, and when there’s no evidence to prove otherwise – it’s truckers who are getting the blame. Dashcams may well be the answer to this challenge, if stakeholders can deploy the right connectivity solution. 

How can dashcams help with the rising number of accidents?

Dashcams can be split into two categories. There are one-way dashcams, which watch the driver’s face, using AI and Machine Learning to analyze for signs of tiredness or distraction. Two-way dashcams monitor the interior and the exterior of the vehicle, recording any dangerous behavior by other cars on the road, or logging hazards such as inclement weather or animals. 

While usually, truckers are held responsible for any accidents that occur on the road, real-time monitoring can uncover the truth. Instead of truckers taking the blame, with a knock-on impact on transportation companies, negatively impacting their reputation, not to mention their insurance premiums, having evidence that drivers were alert and responsible (or if another driver was acting recklessly) can make all the difference. Perhaps this is why the National Transportation Safety Board has been recommending dashcams as far back as 2015. 

Of course, to get this evidence, you can’t use a basic or traditional dashcam. You need one that can analyze the alertness of drivers, that can utilize AI and Machine Learning, and that can provide evidence that can be shared in a court of law without coming under question.

In addition, dashcams can be broken into or stolen, which, in a basic dashcam, would lead to all the evidence being lost. A connected dashcam leaps these hurdles, allowing for all data to be immediately uploaded to the cloud, to keep an unbroken evidence trail, and also allow the data to be analyzed further using AI or other technologies. 

What are the challenges for today’s dashcam providers?

In the transportation industry, dashcam providers have a number of challenges to overcome before they can realize the potential of this technology. 

Coverage

If a dashcam isn’t recording the data, it’s useless. That means that providers need to offer operator coverage everywhere that the truck or fleet might travel, and ensure that this coverage is always reliable and with low latency so that the footage is high quality. Any break in coverage or performance could be the moment that an incident occurs.

Cost

Many connected devices are idle for the majority of the time, and turn on once or twice a day to send data. In contrast, dashcams are on for long periods of time, and can stream from 500MB to 2GB per month. This can get expensive fast, especially when you consider that they aren’t profit-generating devices, they are meant to limit risk, like an insurance policy. 

Troubleshooting

If a dashcam is meant to monitor to see when a driver is tired, or if there are hazards on the road, or spikes in usage that signal a cyberattack, then managers can’t be reading over logs after the fact at the end of the day. Troubleshooting and support needs to happen in real time, during any 24/7 shift, and with absolute visibility into signs of risk. 

The solution: Why multi-IMSI meets the dashcam use case perfectly

At floLIVE, we champion our multi-IMSI approach for dashcam manufacturers and operators. A single SIM is connected to multiple local carriers, allowing for autonomous switching between operators in case of coverage gaps. This means as trucks move from area to area, they always have complete coverage and the lowest possible latency so that data quality is always high. 

If at any point coverage is poor or the device is struggling to meet performance quotas, or even if a cheaper data rate becomes available, the SIM can autonomously switch and connect to a different IMSI. This all happens over the air, as it’s impossible to know exactly where a truck and its dashcam might end up. 

Why not use eSIMs?

Customers often ask us about eSIMs, using eUICC profiles to have multiple operators from a single SIM. In some cases, eUICC might be a great choice for your business context. However, it’s worth noting that it can cost in the region of $20,000 just to build an eUICC profile, plus there will be a transaction cost every time you need to switch profiles. This might make eUICC a less than feasible option. In addition, as profile switching can only be completed with a connection,if your dashcams lose coverage, you will need to wait for them to return to range and reconnect before you can switch. Unfortunately, this may cause blind spots. 

If despite the cost considerations, the vendor flexibility of eUICC makes sense to you, speak to us about incorporating floLIVE into one of the profiles of your eUICC compliant eSIM, so that you can still switch between carriers even when you don’t have a connection, and wave goodbye to the transaction fees. 

Costs with no lock-ins

Keeping costs low for dashcams is important, so at floLIVE we focus on giving you the most flexibility and control that we can. This means we don’t tie our customers into contract lengths, and also – we don’t make you commit to a specific data usage plan or quota. 

Many carriers will lock dashcam manufacturers into 1 or 2 GB per month per device, which can add up fast. We believe that if your devices are not active, you shouldn’t be charged, and if they only use 427MB, that’s how much you should pay for. 

Real-time visibility through network events

With a dashcam use case, real-time visibility is not an added benefit, it’s table stakes. floLIVE provides a network events tab which provides access to real-time information on usage or anomalies, so that transportation operators can make intelligent decisions on the fly. If you see a spike in usage, a drop in data generation, or an unusual connection request, you can provide support on-demand, and immediately start investigating. This gives you the chance to proactively put matters right before they have an impact on your business continuity.

Looking to benefit from always-on connectivity, low costs and granular troubleshooting capabilities? Let’s talk more about your dashcams use case and how we can help.

May 30

Customer Success Team

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