In October, global telematics provider Geotab unveiled Geotab Keyless, which integrates a secured digital key function with Geotab’s telematics data and fleet management platform. Announced at the company’s third annual Geotab Mobility Connect conference, the solution is designed to enable public, corporate, leasing, and government fleets to better pool their assets and reduce fleet capacity, the company said in a statement.
“In an increasingly dynamic world, on-demand free-floating shared mobility options are enabling new and innovative business opportunities for government and commercial fleets,” said Jean Pilon-Bignell, Geotab’s VP of business development, government and smart cities.
“Keyless vehicle access is critical not only for fleets seeking to improve cost and operational structures but also consumers, who are moving away from vehicle ownership and expect an easier, more convenient driving experience,” said Christopher Mendes, VP, Electric Vehicles at Geotab.
Mendes added that Geotab’s digital key solution is particularly advantageous for EV carsharing fleets, as it manages vehicles’ state of charge, charging status, and range remaining. The function is also posed to deliver in-car services in the future, he added.
Geotab cites a Berg Insights report noting that several automakers, leasing companies, and car rental companies are introducing carsharing solutions for corporate customers.
Geotab has established partnerships for Geotab Keyless with mobility technology companies Wunder Mobility, Ridecell, fleetster, Eccocar, and Moove Connected Mobility. Alternatively, fleet customers can opt to create their own reservation software using Geotab’s Keyless APIs.
“This new Geotab Keyless hardware system gives robust data and analytics to fleet operators,” said Melika Jahangiri, Wunder Mobility’s VP of global key accounts and head of Americas. “Aside from being able to track your fleet vehicles and the standard unlock/lock functionality you can expect from a carsharing hardware, fleet operators can also track other things such as behavioral data, asset utilization and predictive maintenance.”
Mark Thomas, VP of alliances and marketing for Ridecell, believes that Geotab’s installed base of existing customers gives those fleets the opportunity to stay within the Geotab ecosystem of connected devices while adding keyless entry functionality. “This key access through multiple access methods will allow Ridecell as a Geotab partner to offer full scheduled, station-based vehicle sharing, free-floating vehicle sharing, or even just card- and app-based vehicle entry to prevent the expense and hassle of lost keys and being locked out of a fleet vehicle,” Thomas said.
This system also allows for easier business versus personal access by charging a credit card for personal use versus direct invoicing to departments for business use, Thomas said.
Geotab Keyless supports any make, model, and year of vehicle that has a key fob. Combined with Geotab’s telematics data, the system can be used for asset accounting, suitability analyses for corporate carsharing, vehicle management automation, and remote vehicle management.
Fleet customers can implement Geotab Keyless as part of their fleet management program and pair their Geotab telematics platform with a vehicle reservation system software partner of their choice.
Once a key fob is embedded into the hardware, drivers open their third-party software app on their phone (which is integrated with their MyGeotab platform), locate the OEM button on the screen, and use the features to lock, unlock, and start the vehicle.
In addition to phone apps, the keyless functionality can be enabled by NFC tags and directly over the cellular connection. Over time, the solution will expand to include other applications and third-party digital key hardware solutions, as well as OEM telematics’ APIs.