Qualcomm recently provided a closer look at the functionality of its new CSA Safety Performance Service, which was introduced last week. The system is designed to integrate data from the CSA Safety Measurement System (SMS) and correlate relevant Qualcomm services data, including Hours of Service violations, Critical Event Reporting and Performance Monitoring, to provide a comprehensive analysis of driver- and fleet-specific data.

Qualcomm said it helps to identify drivers who are most vulnerable to unsafe driving and additional CSA violations, allowing fleet and safety managers to monitor and improve driver performance proactively.

Jim Sassen, senior manager, product marketing for Qualcomm Enterprise Services, conducted the demonstration, clicking through layers of functionality, including the ability to customize reports by type of data, fleet-defined groups or sub-groups and geographic location.

He also demonstrated the numerous graphic display options-- including fleet and driver scorecards, data tables, charts, bar graphs and maps-- that are included to make it easier to “see” the specific information a user needs. Sassen also showed how the new service is designed to permit companies to control access to information and to more easily utilize that information to do a variety of tasks, thanks to a number of ready-to-use templates and even “coaching scripts” for managers and trainers.

Fleet Owner spoke with Sassen about how carriers will deploy the new service and about how instant access to so much timely and accurate information, from Qualcomm’s system and others, will change the industry as it moves into the CSA/EOBR era:

FO: Will drivers also have access to the information in your new CSA Safety Performance Service?

Sassen: Ultimately, the customer for us is the fleet, so we look to them for what they want to share with drivers and others within their organizations. Drivers already have access to their CSA scores and fleets could push other information to them, if appropriate. We have no current plans here [to create special reports or tools] specifically for drivers.

FO: Will the availability of so much accurate, real-world information about vehicle performance change the way companies determine the value of vehicle and equipment brands in the future?

Sassen: It could. Fuel Manager, as well as other functions within the Qualcomm system, give fleets the ability to run comparison tests of vehicles, various components, fuels, oil and additives, etc. With Fuel Manager, for instance, they can learn what is really going on in terms of how something affects miles per gallon. If fleets are careful to control variables and have a large enough sample size, the results can be very valid and can be checked against published claims or expectations. The ability to create customized groupings and sub-groups plus our analytics makes comparison testing relatively easily to do.

FO: You mentioned offering benchmarking opportunities in the future via the new system. How will that work?

Sassen: Customers always want to know “How am I doing against my peers?” Users of the new system enter various kinds of information about their operation in order to create the customized tracking and reporting they require. Once we have enough users and enough of these fleet data sets, we can create meaningful and completely anonymous benchmark information about the best performance within various fleet segments, geographical areas, and so on.

FO: Is there such a thing as too much information today?

Sassen: As soon as a fleet sees one thing, they want to know more. With trailer tracking for instance, most companies begin by wanting to know where their trailers are. Then it snowballs. They want to know how long a trailer has been in one place, if it is loaded or empty, where it is expected next, if the door has been opened, what the cargo temperature is, when it was last serviced and so in. When people see what they can do with just one basic bit of information, the need for more expands from there.

We encourage new customers to focus on a few key, valuable things first and not try to look at everything. Too much information can create “paralysis by analysis.” In the case of maintenance, for example, we suggest they track about 18 of the most important fault codes to begin with. The same thing applies to the tasks you can generate with the system. The last thing you want is a driver manager buried with hundreds of action requests.

FO: Concerns about privacy seem to be growing right along with the access to data. How do you attempt to deal with that as you develop new information services?

Sassen: In the distant past, some of the applications we initially offered had only a couple of different user views, so fleets had to choose between sharing too much information with people or not enough. Often, the fall-back position was to restrict access to everything to manage privacy and confidentiality.

Now, with the CSA Safety Performance Service, we can mirror the hierarchy of a company up to about ten levels deep to more precisely control user access and permissions. The goal is to get the right information to the right people at the right time. The real return on this comes from empowering people within your organization. Even the most basic computer users can get value out of this.

Privacy, however, will continue to be a theme within and outside the fleet. We have to continue to make sure that we always look to the best interests of our fleets.