J. J. Keller & Associates Inc., one of the leading names in fleet safety and regulatory compliance, said Thursday that it has acquired the assets of VideoProtects Inc., a three-person firm that provides cloud-based video technology services through Geotab Inc.’s telematics.
Neenah, Wisconsin-based Keller has purchased VideoProtects’ technology and the individuals who developed it: founder and CEO Michael Nalepka, co-founder and President John Moscatelli, and Chief Technology & Chief Product Officer Gene Emory. All three have joined Keller. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Initially, Keller will market the technology exclusively to the Geotab reseller sphere, Nalepka said in a phone interview Thursday. Oakville, Ontario-based Geotab’s technology is found in heavy-duty trucks as well as in small to midsize business fleets ranging from thousands of vans operated by cable and satellite companies to 15-van fleets managed by local service companies like plumbers and electricians.
A key objective for Keller is to leverage the technology to improve the resellers’ selling proposition to the U.S. small to midsize business fleet market, which at roughly 25 million vehicles is about four times larger than the Class 8 tractor market, Nalepka reckons.
VideoProtects’ secret sauce, according to Nalepka, is that its technology integrates video and data and makes it available in near real time to customers. The technology immediately recognizes potentially dangerous events such as lane departures, hard braking and driver fatigue, and sends video and real-time alerts to drivers and fleet back-office personnel. Drivers and managers can be made aware of safety issues within minutes after they happen so they can be addressed while they’re fresh, Nalepka said. The software also creates a consolidated file for the video and accompanying data, he said.
The addressable market for “connected video” technology, where video streams are connected to the cloud or a larger suite of solution tools, is much larger than the Class 8 segment where the technology was launched, according to Nalepka. Connected video has penetrated about 16% of the heavy-duty segment, Nalepka said. But there is big potential in the business-fleet market as well as passenger cars, he said. After spending most of his career in the transportation management systems arena, Nalepka struck out on his own because he saw a much bigger world for connected video than big trucks, he said.
Rustin Keller, Keller’s president and CEO, said that VideoProtects’ “continuous recording will also be used to exonerate drivers and carriers, reducing or even eliminating liability claims and high-cost legal settlements.” Truck fleets and owner-operators live in fear of so-called “nuclear verdicts,” multimillion-dollar jury awards that drive up insurance premiums and potentially run small fleet operators out of business.
VideoProtects chose Keller among various suitors because of its scale and scope, and because Keller has eyes on other markets, such as warehousing and distribution, where its fleet safety and compliance expertise should be in demand, Nalepka said.