Resources

FAQ

  • What are Electronic Logs and Hours of Service?
    • Hours of Service refers to the truck driver requirement to keep logs of hours driven, off duty, sleeping and other status.  It also includes DVIR which refers to the requirement to perform and log vehicle inspections. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has mandated that Hours of Service logging for CMV truck drivers change from paper logging to electronic (FMCSA rule 395.15).

  • What is an ELD?
    • An Electronic Data Recorder is a device that gathers data from the vehicle via a JBUS connection and connects to a user interface like a tablet.  Also known as EOBR and AOBRD

  • Will EOBRs or ELDs be required to comply with Hours of Service mandates?
    • Yes

  • Who must comply with the FMCSA Rule 395.15?
    • Most drivers must follow the HOS Regulations if they drive a commercial motor vehicle, or CMV.

      In general, a CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business and is involved in interstate commerce and fits any of these descriptions:

      1. Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
      2. Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
      3. Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
      4. Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
      5. Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards
  • How does an HOS application fulfill FMCSA 395.15?
    • The rule mandates that Hours of Service logging be performed electronically in order to eliminate the possibility of driver tampering or “adjusting” the driver’s log book.  The HOS application must be connected to the vehicles JBUS (SAE J1939/1708) or the OBD II port and track the actual vehicle mileage and movement.

  • What hardware is required for an HOS system?
    • A user interface like a tablet in the truck that the driver can log duty status and that a compliance officer can review in lieu of a paper log.

      This device must communicate with the JBUS to ensure proper tracking of vehicle mileage and movement.

  • Can an HOS application provide IFTA fuel tax reporting?
    • Yes. A good HOS application will offer an IFTA reporting option along with HOS compliance.  IFTA is an option for VisTracks Hours of Service Gold.

  • What is the difference between an HOS application and a fleet tracking system?
    • Fleet tracking is typically GPS tracking of a fleet of vehicles. An HOS application encompasses the rules for driver status and logbook recording electronically designed to comply with HOS mandates. There are no specific regulations on fleet tracking.  A company can choose to use fleet tracking to improve fleet efficiencies and save on fuel and labor costs.  But, it is not a requirement.

  • Who can benefit from providing HOS service to end users?
    • Business specializing in Telematics and Fleet Management solutions that have customers who will be affected by the FMCSA HOS mandate. Adding this service module will enhance existing value propositions along with increase customer retention. It can also provide a path to increasing market share by opening up new vertical markets.

  • What hardware does the VisTracks app support?
    • VisTracks provides only the APK for the DOT HOS application that is usually delivered from the Google play store. In order to be compliant with the newly adopted 2017 rules for electronic logs, there must be a device that talks to the engine bus on large trucks or pick-ups that are required by weight to meet Federal Interstate transportation regulations.  VisTracks has integrated the following devices that interface with the engine and the tablet application. In some cases, the link is wireless, in others there is a wired serial interface to the tablet.

      1. CalAmp LMU 4225 with CalAmp MDT 7 tablet. The CalAmp device must be permanently installed in the vehicle and a J1708 or J1939 cable installed in the truck’s OBDII port. The serial connection to the MDT 7 is hardwired and there is a special mount for the ruggedized tablet.
      2. CalAmp LMU 4230 – This device must be permanently installed in the vehicle with an included wiring harness. However, it has wireless Bluetooth that connects it to the tablet running the VisTracks DOT HOS application. Scan on the tablet for Bluetooth devices to connect to the application.
      3. Digi WVA – This device is a user-installed dongle that connects to the tablet via a Wi-Fi Direct connection. Check tablet settings to scan for Wi-Fi Direct devices.
      4. Micronet A317 – This is a rugged Android tablet that also has engine diagnostics built in to the unit. There is a wired connection to the J1708/J1939 OBDII port in the vehicle. The Micronet tablet must be permanently installed and mounted in the vehicle.
      5. ELM 327 Bluetooth – This user installed device connects to the OBDII 9 –pin Deutch connector with a wiring harness that is included with the device. Use the tablet or phone running the VisTracks DOT HOS application
      6. Vgate Scan- Bluetooth. This device is user installed by plugging into the 9-pin OBDII port in the truck. It is connected to the tablet or phone running the VisTracks DOT HOS application via Bluetooth. Scan for available devices in the Settings Menu of the phone or tablet to connect.
      7. BAFX Products – Bluetooth – This device is user installed by plugging into the 9-pin OBDII port in the truck. It is connected to the tablet or phone running the VisTracks DOT HOS application via Bluetooth. Scan for available devices in the Settings Menu of the phone or tablet to connect.
      8. VIACONT – Bluetooth. – This device is a user installed dongle that connects to the tablet with Bluetooth.  It plugs into the SAE J1939 9-pin, OBDII port in the truck which also provides power to the device.  In the tablet settings menu, scan for Bluetooth devices and connect.
      9. Falcom FOX3- Bluetooth – This device must be permanently installed in the vehicle with an included wiring harness. However, it has wireless Bluetooth that connects it to the tablet running the VisTracks DOT HOS application.  Scan on the tablet for Bluetooth devices to connect to the application.
  • There are many HOS/DVIR suppliers out there. What makes the VisTracks product attractive?
    • Besides being fully compliant, VisTracks Hours of Service is the easiest to use app in the industry.  End customers, be they owner-operators or fleet drivers will find it easy to learn how to use the app and back-office personnel will find it easy to learn and use the portal.  On-screen documentation and help for both tablet and portal eliminates the need for a user manual and almost significantly reduces support calls, which saves money and increases customer satisfaction.

      VisTracks Hours of Service reseller pricing provides significant margin, allowing resellers to be aggressive and creative on end customer pricing, or even to a reseller’s reseller.  Having both a Silver and Gold product also allows resellers to target the product to owner-operators or fleet drivers with pricing for each market segment.

      Summary of key points:

      1. Fully compliant, several unique product features
      2. Ease of use and on-screen documentation reduces or eliminates support calls for app or portal help
      3. Segmentation of products allows customer targeting
      4. Pricing structure provides excellent margin and ability for creative or aggressive pricing
  • Does VisTracks sell to end users?
    • VisTracks does not sell to end users.  We do not believe in channel conflict and avoid it as much as possible.

  • Will VisTracks supply leads?
    • Yes, but we do not canvas for leads.  VisTracks will supply leads that come to us, but does not solicit end customers.

  • Is there a minimum order quantity (MOQ)?
    • There is no MOQ, but reseller pricing is based on quantity ordered.

  • Is there a contract required, i.e., end customers needing to sign up to a fixed period?
    • Resellers do not have to obtain end customer contracts.  Pricing might be affected if end customer cancellation place reseller below pricing thresholds.  Otherwise, customer cancellations are not an issue, and reseller is free to offer contract or no-contract services.

  • How does the software work with the hardware?
    • There are four components of the Hours of Service/DVIR software:

      1. Tablet/Smartphone
      2. Engine hardware (ELD)
      3. PC
      4. Data communications

      The tablet, located on the vehicle, is the central point of the system.  It collects data on drivers and driving and inspections, formats logs, and does all the things required and expected from a full-featured app.  For VisTracks Gold customers, the tablet syncs with the portal which is browser-based and accessible via PC’s at the back office.  This sync occurs every 3 minutes.

      Engine hardware comes in several flavors, depending on the hardware.  Some hardware has internal GPS and cellular communications hardware, some simply collect engine data with no internal GPS or cellular communications.  In all cases, hardware communicates with the tablet via a number of wireless protocols such as Bluetooth, WiFi Direct, and others.  The hardware notifies the tablet, for example, if the vehicle is in motion, and the tablet then automatically sets the driver status to “driving” which triggers FMCSA rules on breaks, daily and weekly driving hours.

      Data communications is either WiFi or cellular on the tablet.  VisTracks Hours of Service works quite well when no data communications are present. However, for VisTracks Hours of Service Gold customers, it will not be able to sync the tablet and portal until data communications is present, such as WiFi at truck stop.

  • Which tablets are supported?
    • Generally speaking, any Android tablet or smartphone from Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or later is supported.  This includes Android 6 (also known as Marshmellow) which is only recently come on to the market.  VisTracks is committed to staying current with new Android operating systems, providing future-proofing to our resellers.  With a growing owner-operator market and increase of smartphone use, VisTracks is also committed to supporting iOS as well.

  • Can my customers be successful with a WiFi-only tablet?
    • Yes, they can.  Owner-operators only require a tablet, and can email certified logs from the tablet to their email account when convenient.  Hours of service Gold customers, in order to frequently sync with the portal in order to provide back-office personnel with current information, should have cellular communications, but can still operate with sync based on the driver being near WiFi at some points during the day.

  • What kind of cellular data plan is required?
    • For WiFi usage, none is required.  For communications with the portal, if the requirement is for constant sync with the tablet every 3 minutes, as much as 750MB is required, which should be considered an upper bound. If a more casual sync is acceptable, but more than WiFi only, the data plan requirement will scale down accordingly from 750MB.

  • What are unique features of the HOS software?
    • VisTracks has several unique features. Among them is customizable DVIRs.  Customers have the ability to create as many customized inspection forms for their drivers to many the inspection process more efficient.  We support Alaska, California and Texas state laws as well as Canadian rules as well as exceptions.  We also support slip-seat, multiple trucks and multiple drivers.  Our app and portal are easy to use and only require 10-15 minutes of training to use both the app as well as the backend portal.

  • What are unique features of the DVIR software?
    • For DVIR’s VisTracks has 6 standard forms, Tractor, Trailer, Tractor-Trailer, Hauler-Tanker, Pick-up Truck and Ready Mix Truck.  There is also the ability to create custom forms from the portal (VisTracks Hours of Service Gold).

  • Do I purchase hardware from VisTracks?
    • No you do not purchase hardware from VisTracks.  VisTracks has many partners that we will make an introduction to be able to purchase hardware.

  • What if I have hardware that is not on the supported list?
    • We have the ability to add new hardware to our supported list.  This would be at an extra charge.

  • What is your process to onboard a reseller?
    • VisTracks process to onboard a reseller is to first do over the web training.  Then we do a day of in person training.  We are also available for the first few sales calls to go on them with the reseller.  VisTracks is also available for continued support in your selling process.

  • What are your reliability statistics?
    • VisTracks uses Amazon for hosting Hours of Services portal services.  At present, we do not experience more than a few minutes a month of unscheduled downtime.  Once a month, late Sunday evenings on the first Sunday of the month, we upgrade the portal software and the tablet app.  That process normally takes less than an hour, but as this is a Sunday evening, there is minimal disruption.  Otherwise, our up-time is well over 99.5%.

  • What are your support hours?
    • Our support hours are from 7am-7pm central time for level 2 support and 24X7 for Severity 1 (critical) support.

  • What do I need to do to brand apps and portal?
    • To brand the app we would need a jpeg of your logo.  We will send out a link to your new APK after each release.

      To brand the portal, there are a couple of options, if you want to use our URL all that is needed is to upload a jpeg in our branding section.  The second option to brand the portal is to point your URL to VisTracks and upload a jpeg.  The third way is to use I-Frames and a snippet of html code to embed into your website.