Taking Fleet Management to a Higher Level

By Ara Eckel, Director of Product Management, JLG

By now, you may have heard about JLG®’s latest innovation that takes our ClearSky telematics to an entirely new level – ClearSky Smart Fleet™. And if you haven’t, get ready, because ClearSky Smart Fleet is an IoT platform with the potential to completely change the way you manage your equipment – and so much more.

As JLG’s director of product management for ClearSky Smart Fleet, I try to serve as the best voice for the customer. I straddle the line between engineering and marketing. Our engineers and coders build the solution; marketing promotes the solution. It’s up to us to make sure that the solution fully accounts for everything our customers have told us they want and need from a fleet management system. ClearSky Smart Fleet is the culmination of all our efforts, and we’re excited to see it help our customers do their jobs faster, better and more efficiently than ever before.

The concept for ClearSky Smart Fleet is rooted in the desire to have our technology infrastructure match the rest of the JLG experience. We wanted to standardize connectivity, which we could’ve achieved by working with a third-party partner for a “commercial off-the-shelf solution.” However, we considered what makes JLG stand apart from its competition – world-class service, support and user experiences. So, we decided to build this new technology ourselves from the ground up. That means everyone who uses ClearSky Smart Fleet will get support from JLG’s in-house team – the kind of support I’d want if I was a customer.

Another compelling reason for developing ClearSky Smart Fleet on our own is that the type of equipment JLG manufactures, sells and supports is very specialized. Operators simply don’t use aerial lift equipment like they use other types of heavy equipment. A traditional telematics system on excavators, skid steers or wheel loaders usually transmits data when the machine’s ignition switch is “on.” Most aerial lift equipment is used after it’s moved to the proper spot and the platform is at the right height. Then, the operator turns it off to conserve energy. Our system needed to be able to transmit data even when a machine’s ignition is turned off.

JLG also wanted to transform basic, one-way telematics – when the machine sends data only because the user asks for it – into a two-way solution that allows the machine and user to communicate with each other. We knew two-way communication could help us digitize more daily processes. In other words, we could automate tasks and remove the inherent margin of error that comes from performing them manually.

At JLG, we believe we’ve created a system that has the potential to make even tech-averse people believe in the power of the IoT. ClearSky Smart Fleet’s launch phase is available right now with more than 25 features our customers have told us they want and need to make their fleet management tasks easier and more efficient.

However, we’ve only scratched the surface of what ClearSky Smart Fleet will eventually offer. ClearSky Smart Fleet is more than another piece of software. It’s designed to be a full-on platform capable of hosting a multitude of different applications and capabilities. As we try to find more ways to become our customers’ trusted advisor, we’re going to continue to adapt as our technology evolves. We will become more integrated in their information, and they’ll be more integrated into ours. Our plan is to have an even smoother, more intuitive experience in the years ahead.