Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cloud Your Car’s Car Beacon Available at Last

Adrian Senecki

The promise of a simple and affordable car fleet management tool and app from the Cloud Your Car team caught our attention over a year ago. Now, it seems, it’s finally out.
The Car Beacon makes it easy to take control of what happens to your cars, costs less than $200, sports a web interface and mobile app and – this is not just in our opinion – has the potential to disrupt.

What is Cloud Your Car’s Car Beacon?

Those with an interest or business in car fleet management have probably heard about the technology. And if you haven’t, you should, because Cloud Your Car takes a whole different approach to this old, but still troublesome area.

The core of the Cloud Your Car system is a small (10.5 centimeter long) device called the Car Beacon, which you insert in a car’s cigarette lighter. From then on it stays with the driver, hardly visible and seemingly innocent, but constantly working. The Car Beacon can tell:

• if a car is going too fast
• whether the driver takes the shortest route
• if the driver turns off the engine to stop the car
• real time trips and historical past routes
• and all kinds of distance, speed and acceleration stats

The Car Beacon uses GPS/GLONASS navigation systems to determine the current position of a car. It has a SIM card designed in cooperation with mobile operators to always benefit from the best operator available at any given moment. It’s powered by the car cigarette lighter it’s connected to plus a 550 mAh Li-ion battery. It transmits all the data it gathers to a web and iOS mobile app, but it also has its own memory just in case, storing information for 30 days and sending it over the moment it’s possible.

The Car Beacon is a response to all of the hard-to-implement, overly complicated and expensive fleet management systems that never considered areas such as UX or design as important. Cloud You Car’s solution answers the old problem of car management in companies, but it does this in a way everyone likes most – simple and non-engaging. The Cloud Your Car team spent a lot of time to develop the tool, web and iOS app and API, but now all of it is available at the cost of 460 PLN (about $140-150) per unit a for 12-month subscription plan. You can learn more and order on their website.

How did it all begin?

Before Cloud Your Car, several of its founders worked together at Monitech. It was there where they got a chance to learn about the problems with car fleet management. They researched the FMS (Fleet Management Solutions) market and thoroughly analyzed the target clients, realizing their needs. But from realizing them to answering meant months of hard work on a whole new solution. The Wrocław-based Cloud You Car project developed slowly and carefully. Ambitious long term goals were purposely overshadowed by short term objectives.

“We had a big vision and long term plans, but we planned it all step by step. We verify, go over every element again and again, write more hypotheses,”
Anna Szymczak, co-founder and COO at Cloud Your Car, said over a year ago.

As the Cloud Your Car team rushes to point out, the system is wholly dedicated to busy, but thrifty and responsible entrepreneurs – those who don’t want to implement costly systems and then sacrifice even more time to gather and interpret the data. Cloud Your Car collects all the data you need, transfers it to the web/mobile app and then presents in a clear way, much like web analytics tools such as Google Analytics or Piwik.

Backed by the VC fund Innovation Nest, Cloud Your Car could afford to not rush their project. But now, as the system is about enter the market and the very first San Francisco Car beacons are already in use, the long standing dream of making it in Silicon Valley and disrupting the market means the team will no longer remain in the shadows.

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This is a repost of an article that appeared on on August 8, 2014

1 comment:

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