The Insight Source Blog
Your preferred Telematics information resource
Author: Lance Holt
Content Marketing Specialist
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Vehicle-Installed ELD vs. BYOD: Which is best for your business?
How Much Does ELD Cost?
The Top 5 Telematics Capabilities Your Solution Should Have
The Difference Between Hardwired ELD and BYOD for Small Fleets
A Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Hours of Service solution sounds promising, especially for a smaller fleet (of vehicles). A BYOD solution refers to employees downloading an app to track Hours of Service from their personal or company smartphone/tablet. The main reason smaller fleets of vehicles are so interested in a BYOD solution is that of a perceived lower price than a hardwired ELD.
The truth is, this is a fallacy.
It’s understandable how this can seem like the case. If all you consider is the upfront cost of a consumer-grade tablet or smartphone multiplied by the number of drivers you have, then yes, BYOD appears to be a cheaper solution.
But there are a plethora of other factors to consider when choosing a BYOD Hours of Service solution over a hardwired ELD for small fleets. Some of these considerations are illustrated in dollars and others in time and effort. But they all show that when you drill down, a BYOD solution is actually the more expensive Hours of Service option for smaller fleets.
Data Plans Will Cost Extra
One additional cost (beyond the tablet or smartphone) for a BYOD solution is a data plan for the device(s) to function out in the field. Data plans will vary from provider to provider but can become costly, especially if you don’t buy or they don’t offer an unlimited data plan. Tracking Hours of Service electronically is going to require not only collecting but also sending a tremendous amount data. Remember that with a BYOD solution, you’re purchasing a full set up per driver, not per vehicle. If you’re like most other small-sized fleets, then chances are you have more drivers than vehicles. A hardwired ELD solution for small fleets is a cheaper set up since there only needs to be one device per truck that drivers can sign in and out of while they are on duty.
Replacement Cost of the Device
What happens if your driver drops the consumer-grade tablet, like an iPad, and it breaks to the point beyond repair? That’s another couple hundred dollars you will have to spend on replacing it. Consumer-grade products are not ruggedized or built for the harsh environments your drivers are likely to be in, which often leads to this type of irreparable damage. A hardwired ELD solution for small fleets provides ruggedized hardware that is built for extreme weather conditions. Hardwired ELD solutions also prevent drivers from taking the tablet out of the vehicle, eliminating the chances of it being dropped or getting lost. Using hardwired ELDs will prevent replacement costs that are likely to accrue over time using a BYOD option.
Three Different Products for One Solution
Another important consideration when choosing a BYOD solution is you will be working with three separate companies. You have your tablet from either Apple, Samsung, Amazon, etc., your data from one of the cellular companies, and your Hours of Service application from either the App or Google Play Stores. So what happens when you have a question or something stops working? Who do you reach out to? As a small fleet, you might have one person wearing two, three, or even four hats. Trying to figure out the right company to help solve your challenge is not just confusing, it’s a waste of your valuable time. When you select a hardwired ELD provider that offers 24/7 support, there is only one stop to figure out an answer to your question or help you troubleshoot technical issues.