ZED Connect moving beyond ELDs into vehicle intelligence

The ZED Connect ELD, which features a plug-and-play bluetooth adapter, will now be able to pull engine diagnostic information. It has also been updated with new countdown and count-up clocks to help drivers know how much time they have remaining in their workdays.

With the introduction of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate came a flurry of startup companies seeking to capitalize. One of those was ZED Connect. ZED Connect, though, is unlike most startups. Backed by Cummins Inc., ZED Connect has plans to expand beyond just an ELD – which it introduced in the spring – into more of Cummins’ DNA, which is vehicle intelligence.

John Henry, director of sales for ZED Connect, explained to FreightWaves how the evolution of the company is developing to deliver vehicle data solutions centered around the what Cummins knows best – engines.

“Our core mission is to do this data [intelligence],” he said. “The ELD is part of it.”

To further that mission, ZED Connect will be making several announcements next year around vehicle and engine health. In the meantime, users will soon get access to Cummins Connected Diagnostics, which is now available to Cummins engine owners through the telematics devices of other providers.

The ZED Connect ELD – which is a plug-and-play device – will soon begin pulling engine data that will be fed into the ELD dashboard, giving vehicle owners more intelligence into the state of their engine.

The average ELD user owns 4-5 trucks, so Henry believes this solution, which will be offered at a lower price point than a more robust telematics solution, is ideal for smaller fleets and owner-operators who want more information to help diagnose potential engine problems.

In addition to tapping into the Cummins Connected Diagnostics, the ZED ELD device will be able to draw data from non-Cummins engines, although that reporting will be centered only on fault code reporting, Henry said.

Whether future users will have to choose between ZED ELD devices and vehicle health or competitor ELD devices that may offer fleet management programs, Henry believes ZED Connect can be complementary in those cases.

“There are some companies heading to the fleet management side,” he pointed out. “For us, because our DNA is vehicle data, we’re going toward vehicle health. [We believe] ZED Connect may be a complement to others.”

Its core product, the ELD, has received a few updates since launch, Henry explained, including the addition of countdown or count-up timers. Available for just a one-time fee of $200, and with no monthly fee, the ELD has gained traction in the marketplace. Additional premium features, such as the Cummins Connected Diagnostics and others to come, will include monthly charges.

The new timers allow the driver to see available drive time or break time in a format he prefers. Paper logs required drivers to “count up” to their off-duty time, Henry said, the addition of a count up timer gives the driver the same feel. Displayed in a clock-like format, the counters either count the time remaining until a break is needed, or the time remaining on their drive time or break.

The information is presented more visually in a clock-like format or as a simple timer.

Additional functionality will be added to the ELD device in the coming months, Henry said.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.