In the world of commercial transportation and fleet management, it is critical to have cargo arrive at its destination on time. At LAVA we understand the necessity of reliable equipment to make that happen, and as such, we have developed integrated solutions for a device every commercial vehicle requires: Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). This article will present an overview of what ELDs are, the benefits of using ELDs with mobile devices, and showcase why LAVA’s SynC vc3U adapters are the ideal fit to integrate with ELD systems and expand driver capabilities.
ELDs are mandatory hardware systems that enable fast and convenient data logging for commercial vehicle drivers in North America. Their purpose is to record a vehicle’s location, mileage and engine hours as required by government regulations. Data storage occurs using a combination of the cloud, back-office servers and the device itself. ELD modules sit on top of the vehicle dashboard and are connected to an interactive device so the driver can observe telematic information, and input data manually when required. ELDs allow both automatic and manual data entry – statistics such as drive time, odometer readings, and engine function are recorded through the control module, while drivers are regularly required to input route information and time allocations for driving, fuelling, loading, etc. This system has the added benefit of helping drivers complete their logs digitally, quickly, and consistently.
While dedicated telematic display units for ELDs do exist, most companies have realized that these display units are cost prohibitive and limited by the amount of data they can convey, so they have gradually been replaced with mobile devices such as tablets and phones. Mobile devices are more cost effective, have high quality touch screen displays, and a wider range of capabilities. They can be hardwired or wirelessly connected to ELD modules, support ELD software applications for more streamlined information access/ input, and are easily mounted on vehicle dashboards.
ELDs provide drivers with three major benefits. First, they reduce the risk of fines– driver logs are completed and updated consistently, maximum driving times are not exceeded, and the data tracking is more accurate overall. Second, dispatchers and managers are able to easily track their driver’s location, hours, performance, and vehicle conditions – in many cases in real time. This creates opportunities for valuable performance coaching and efficient vehicle cataloguing for maintenance and repairs. Third, close monitoring of driving time forces drivers to stop for regular breaks to recharge. This lowers the risk of injuries or crashes related to stress or fatigue, while improving their job performance and physical wellbeing.
Using ELDs coupled with mobile devices has two additional advantages: LTE capabilities and accessibility. Depending on the model, an ELD unit may be able to use connections to the cellular network and GPS functionality – but they are not standard features. Using company-issued mobile devices allows drivers to access both, so they can communicate with their HQ in real time over 3/4/5G connections (using standard internet or GSM connections), use GPS applications, and even media players during their trips – without the additional cost of a higher-end ELD. Plus, the global familiarity with mobile devices makes driver interaction and data input far more accessible, resulting in significantly less training required to operate ELDs. These factors make mobile devices both a practically effective and cost efficient solution for transportation companies, since they are getting more out of their existing mobile devices and data plan inventory.
So, where does LAVA come in?
LAVA’s SynC vc3U adapter (for select Samsung USB-C devices) is ideal for integration with ELD systems because it provides a data connection between the ELD module and mobile device, simultaneously charges the latter, and supports extra peripheral options. It is equipped with SimulCharge and Voltage Converter (VC) technology, as well as 3 USB-A ports. SimulCharge technology allows the mobile device to have simultaneous data and power, enabling drivers to charge their devices and complete their logs whenever they choose, without having to unplug anything or make an additional stop. It also ensures that the mobile device never runs out of power, maintaining constant communication channels between the driver and HQ. The voltage converter (VC) permits charging from the vehicle’s native 12 volt system, rather than a 5V source. Drivers can therefore charge the mobile device straight from their vehicles while simultaneously being connected to the ELD system. Finally, with USB peripheral support – drivers can connect two additional peripherals such as scanners and printers to enhance the capabilities of their system. By connecting printers and scanners, they can easily scan relevant information into their system, for download to HQ via the mobile devices’ LTE capabilities. LAVA vc3U adapters are also available in the SynC+ line (battery modulation for Samsung USB-C devices), our nSTS and eSTS lines (for Samsung Micro USB devices), and our nLTS line (for Lenovo Micro USB devices).
The requirement for reliable device connectivity in the fleet management industry means that LAVA’s adapters are the ideal value-add for ELD systems. LAVA adapters provide drivers with peace of mind and security on the road, knowing that the tablet and other USB peripherals they need will be ready for use 24/7. If you are interested in learning more about ELDs and LAVA solutions, read our case study from 2017 when the ELD mandate came into effect: https://blogbylava.com/2017/10/03/prepared-eld-mandate/. For more information on any of our other technologies or adapters, visit https://lavasimulcharge.com/.