A recent survey conducted by driver performance management firm GreenRoad found that 76% of fleet managers across a variety of transportation operations report that they use a smartphone as part of their job, with 67% noting that most or all of their drivers use smart phones as work tools as well.

Indeed, Jim Heeger – GreenRoad’s CEO – added that the survey also revealed that 55% of those drivers use a company-provided smartphone, with 22% using their own personal smartphone for work-related tasks.

“Those are very significant numbers when we’re talking about smart phone use in transportation and it shows that fleets are increasingly going ‘mobile,’” Heeger told Fleet Owner. “To that end we’re working to make more of our data and services accessible via mobile devices.”

Conducted in September to include 439 fleet managers and other decision-makers in fleets with 100 to 1,000 vehicles ranging from private delivery to construction, company cars and more, GreenRoad’s survey discerned that 59% are using smartphone or mobile apps for fleet management activities, including fleet tracking and increasingly more advanced services, such as driver performance management.

The company said that fleet-specific smart phone application or “app” usage has tripled in the last seven months, when compared with data from its March survey, which discerned that only 19% of managers using smartphones or mobile apps to manage their fleets.

“We always knew there would be a migration [to mobile devices] but this is happening unbelievably fast," said Tanya Roberts, GreenRoad’s senior vp- marketing. "This tidal wave of smartphone adoption mirrors what’s going on in the broader business landscape. Business managers in every industry are realizing the advantages of having information at their fingertips, and the ease of using a mobile computing platform.”

Indeed, some 1,000 American adults polled by JZ Analytics on behalf of the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) last month noted that nearly half of them (49%) use their smartphones to access the Internet – a steep increase from just 6% in 2011 – while 48% are allowed to use a personal tablet, smartphone or laptop to perform job functions while 31% can connect to their work network using these personal devices.

Karen White, GreenRoad’s senior vp-customer solutions, told Fleet Owner that one reason smartphone use is growing in transportation is because such devices can be used both to acquire and track numerous data streams while also hosting apps that can analyze and produce a variety of metrics from them.

“These phones come equipped with sensors and GPS, and the data they acquire can also power other apps – all without adding more boxes, antennas, and wires to the truck itself,” she explained.

She noted that 53% of the fleet managers and decision-makers surveyed by GreenRoad expect “app adoption” by fleets to keep increasing, for as more fleet managers receive smartphones and are trained on how to use them in their jobs, the more effective and efficient they will be at managing their operations.

A large majority of those polled by the company (82%) added that are very or somewhat interested in using mobile technology as a fleet management tool going forward, while 77% said they are always on the lookout for new technologies that can help them better connect their fleet.

"We expect to see driver adoption increase as more compelling driver-centric apps are brought to market, and as fleets learn about these options," added GreenRoad’s Roberts, noting that 35% of respondents said their drivers are using job-specific apps, many of which are navigation related, with another 17% expecting to deploy additional smart phone apps for drivers in the coming year.