Looking into the Crystal Ball

National health and social care transport business ERS Medical puts driver behaviour and training at the very heart of its operation with a visionary tracking and dash cam solution, so we look into how this works…

Courier News discovers how through the use of dash cam technology and GPS tracking, a national health and social care transport business with more than 500 vehicles and 800 drivers, conducting over 700,000 patient journeys and transporting 1 million pathology samples annually, is using Crystal Ball at the heart of their training ethos.

ERS Medical’s Challenge –

ERS Medical wanted a reputable telematics solution to support the business with promoting good driver behaviour and any insurance claims regarding road traffic incidents. The business required a telematics solution which offered a combined system of both, fleet tracking to ensure full visibility of the fleet and a forward-facing video camera.

And the solution that was needed –

The challenge was to find the right product which would ultimately add HD quality video footage to the telematics data they were already accustomed to using. And ERS Medical’s previous telematics provider was unable to offer anything more sophisticated than simply adding a standalone dash cam to work alongside the tracking system.

The solution chosen to help address these challenges was SmartCam, developed and operated by Crystal Ball Limited, a Manchester-based vehicle tracking services company whose background was very much in mobile telephony, but who have now emerged as pioneers within the world of GPS fleet tracking and fleet-oriented dash cams. Their primary product offering, SmartCam is a cutting edge fully integrated vehicle tracking and dash cam solution designed to bring together all the features and benefits of such systems but rolled into a single package. SmartCam encompasses just about everything a modern commercial fleet operator requires, be they running cars, trucks, vans or a mix of all three. SmartCam 4G, the latest version has evolved during last six years, having originally been launched as a 3G product which has been proven by the thousands of installs nationwide. The SmartCam product has also won a number of awards for its’ class-leading features, even winning the Fleetworld innovation in telematics award for two successive years.  

SmartCam 3G and 4G, as the names suggest operates using a mobile network supported by GPS data which sends the recorded information to its’ own SmartCloud portal where the data can then be accessed by clients for the purposes of safety, asset tracking, fleet utilisation, driver behaviour, accident mitigation and training. The system even provides the driver with an app which is available to both Android and IOS users, enabling the driver to not only carry out and record digitally his/her daily, weekly or monthly vehicle checks, but it will also identify the driver and give them a score for their driving behaviour.

Courier News discovered that SmartCam has become an integral part of ERS Medical’s insurance claim processing procedure and footage recorded by the system is used by insurers in determining who is at fault.

Jeroen Van Os, Finance Director, ERS Medical said, “The Crystal Ball tracking system is very successful in mitigating accident claim circumstances, and we use it to ensure we know where our vehicles are at any given time, and also where they are en-route for patient or courier pick-up services. We have got a very good control over insurance claims through the software and video footage from Crystal Ball and we have made huge steps forward in terms of mitigating exposure when it comes to claims. But also, if we know we are at fault in an accident, we can manage that and keep our costs under control.”

Steve Dixon, Fleet Compliance & Standards Manager at ERS Medical, uses the Crystal Ball SmartCam system when working with both new and existing staff to improve standards and drive down costs. He commented; “Using Crystal Ball gives us the next level of assessment and is a tool that is key to our business. What is very important is reducing the number of incidents, but accidents are accidents, and what the system has achieved is reducing the cost of these accidents and reducing driver speeds so the incidents we do have are less severe and vehicles are off the road for less time. And when it comes to incidents, we walk them through the incident, for investigation purposes and for post-incident management, to improve their driver awareness and safety.”

Watch ERS Medical’s Finance Director, Jeroen Van Os and Steve Dixon, Fleet Driver Trainer tell the full story:

Read more about ERS Medical’s use of SmartCam 4G here:

Raj Singh, Managing Director, Crystal Ball Limited told Courier News: “Running a modern day fleet, whether you have only a few vehicles or many is a challenge, and we are always very proud when our clients tell us how our integrated tracking and dash cam solution has helped their business. It therefore goes without saying that we are extra proud of the great achievements made by ERS Medical using our SmartCam system at the very core of their driver training program. The project was a highly ambitious one and included driver league tables, coupled with ongoing training and coaching for employees, and their effective use of SmartCam has resulted in some dramatic improvements and we continue to be delighted to be working with ERS Medical to deliver these results…”

Raj explained some of the key features of current SmartCam system;

GPS Fleet Tracking – At the very heart of our system is our advanced and proven GPS fleet tracker, extensively used by SME’s and local government.

Vehicle Checklist – Enables the driver to digitally carry out all important vehicle safety checks via the driver app. The checklist can be tailored easily by the client to become truly bespoke to their specific needs. Indeed, the versatility of the checklist tool has enabled many businesses to add COVID specifics requirements for their mobile workforce.

Driver Behaviour System – SmartCam 4G measures five KPIs including speeding, harsh acceleration, cornering, braking and idling time to calculate a driver score and then generate league tables which can be used for monitoring trends and enhanced driver training. The system can be further tailored to suit the client’s exact requirements in determining what constitutes a good driver within their sphere of operation.

Driver App – Downloadable for both Android and IOS, the app provides the driver ID, driver scoring and vehicle check lists in a simple to use format.

Insight – The app can even accept photos in support of the checklists ensuring fleet managers are instantly made aware of the true condition of their vehicles out on the road.

Motivate – Drivers can view their own performance through league tables, motivating them to improve their driving in direct comparison to their peers.

Manage – The app enables the accurate tracking of vehicle movements and will record and report on vehicle use for both private and business mileage, thus reducing onerous fleet administration.

Dual Camera – SmartCam 4G has the ability to operate as forward facing only or both inward and outward facing, offering simultaneous recording and enhanced safety features.

Android Operating System – SmartCam is a future-proofed 4G smart device ensuring our system does not become obsolete.

You can read more about SmartCam 4G by clicking here

Surely with new road safety initiative’s orchestrated from central Government, along with those from the various road safety campaign groups, we will see a rise in the use of smart cameras within commercial vehicles. Reports suggests both the Police and insurers are relying more and more often on the footage generated by in vehicle camera technology, backed up by GPS data therefore this alone is bound to increase the interest from dash cam and GPS tracking companies to converge the two technologies in a race to capture the market.

This year also saw the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) become law on the 1st March 2021, making it unlawful to operate a HGV over 12 tonnes GVW in Greater London without a safety permit, with fines of up to £550 imposed per vehicle per breach. Crystal Ball also offer their own DVS solution and their website contains all the information you need to know about the new regulations and how to comply with them.

Click here to find out what you need to know.