Arsenault Associates CEO Charles Arsenault sees the growth of technology spurring new government regulations in the future. He told attendees of the 21st Annual Dossier User Group meeting held in Nashville last month that his thoughts are not an endorsement of his company’s products, but observations based on currents trends.

“As fleet maintenance software and related technologies become more prevalent, a national repository of fleet operating data will emerge,” Arsenault said. “New government regulations will be developed from this data, and fleets will be required to document that their equipment is operating within ‘legal compliance’ of these national standards. More documentation will be required of the fleet maintenance department on safety and environmental issues. These will be addressed and enforced through extended annual inspections.”

Arsenault pointed to safety and environmental technologies now offered by individual firms as eventually becoming standard equipment from vehicle OEMs as regulations change. He also predicted more technology initiatives from OEMs.

Looking into the future, Arsenault indicated a number of changes to the industry can be expected including:

  • Mergers among fleet technology providers will intensify while OEMs and other vendors seek technology partners to differentiate themselves.
  • OEMs and parts manufacturers will deliver more technology that provides easier integration with other systems.
  • OEMs will introduce more value-added products and services to automate reporting of equipment issues and conditions, further reducing the need for human intervention.
  • Most fleet maintenance software systems will continue to be deployed on a fleet’s own computer systems.
  • Web-based software applications (including SaaS – Software as a Service) will grow in popularity and acceptance as IT staffs remain overloaded.
  • The next generation of fleet managers will expect technology tools to be in place as they join a fleet’s operating staff.
  • Technology integration will remain the greatest challenge for fleets, but will also pay the greatest dividends.
  • A lack of standards, terms and coding will remain a major obstacle to integration until VMRS (Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards) is used universally.
  • Tech hardware costs will continue to decline and mobile computing will become more commonplace for specialty applications.
  • Outsourcing of fleet technology will become more popular.
  • More technology service solution providers will emerge.
  • The need for better, faster access to data will drive more collaboration between multiple tech firms, OEMs, and local vendors for end-to-end data flow.

Arsenault believes that fleets that don’t incorporate technology will face a major obstacle in the future. “Fleets and fleet managers who are not using technology will find it harder to compete and will be left behind,” he said.