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      Press Release
      July 06, 2022

      Finally, a simple solution: Continental links digital tachograph with the cloud via a plug-and-play concept

      • VDO Link makes tachograph and vehicle data available remotely and in real time, even in vehicles without sufficient telematics
      • Plug-and-play solution simplifies compliance tasks, especially for small fleets
      • The talking tachograph feature helps drivers comply with legal requirements
      • Continental introduces VDO Link concept at IAA TRANSPORTATION 2022 in September

      Villingen-Schwenningen, July 6, 2022. The technology company Continental is marketing a new solution for compliance in logistics: The VDO Link concept closes the gap between digital tachographs and online platforms for fleet management. The plug-and-play solution is the first of its kind, allowing tachograph data such as driving times and rest periods to be retrieved and processed in real-time from a distance – without the need for permanently installed telematics modules in the vehicle. “In particular, smaller fleets haven’t been able to make the most of their tachograph data because their vehicles often didn’t have the necessary telematics infrastructure,” explains Marcello Lucarelli, Head of the Connected Commercial Vehicle Solutions business segment at Continental. “VDO Link is an easy-to-use solution that closes this gap.” Continental will introduce the VDO Link concept at IAA Transportation that takes place in Hannover from September 20 to 25.

      Thanks to the open interface concept, more usage scenarios and services based on tachograph data can and will be developed in the future. VDO Link is yet another contribution by Continental to the digitalization of haulages and supply chains. “The technological advancement of the tachograph – that will reach a new level by mid-2023 with the release of the second version – means not only new tasks for companies in road transportation,” says Marcello Lucarelli. “Data from the tachograph nowadays give the opportunity to automate processes, simplify tasks and even to achieve productivity gains.”

      Plug-and-play for more compliance

      After plug-and-play installation and successful registration on the VDO Fleet Website, VDO Link sends the collected vehicle and driver data in real time to Continental’s Secure Cloud Backend using a secure mobile connection. The advantage for fleets: installation will be carried out without the need for a workshop visit. “Plug-and-play is always a good solution, if you want to make a new service available as quickly as possible to many customers with different vehicle generations,” says Timo Ketterer, Head of Service Product Management in the Connected Commercial Vehicle Solutions business segment at Continental. Fleet managers will be able to take full advantage of Continental’s compliance services with this real-time connection to the cloud, which gives them an up-to-date overview of the fleet’s status and the current locations of individual vehicles. In addition, the mandatory download of the tachograph’s mass memory every ninety days will also work remotely via VDO Link in the future.

      The talking tachograph communicates directly with the driver

      One example for the added value coming from the combination of a plug-and-play telematics unit, a cloud backend and a digital service is the talking tachograph. Continental brought Augsburg-based start-up, ZeKju, on board as a partner in the development of this service. ZeKju had developed a platform to help drivers comply with their legal obligations, supported by real-time tachograph data, available in the cloud via VDO Link. When a driver has used his driver card to register with the tachograph, he can use his smartphone to register for the talking tachograph via a QR code. The driver will then receive a message on his preferred smartphone messenger when a situation arises where compliance is essential. For example, after crossing a border, a message can remind him to change the country code in the tachograph. Even the playback of short training videos is possible. “Almost all drivers have a smartphone, but they usually don’t want to download yet another app,” says Thorsten Stuke, co-founder of ZeKju. “We believe that the talking tachograph messages delivered to them on their preferred messenger channel will make their day-to-day lives much easier.” This is a considerable advantage for fleets with many international drivers because the talking tachograph can send messages in nineteen languages.

      New services through partner integration

      The collaboration with ZeKju is just one example of how Continental intends to continue expanding its portfolio of solutions for compliance in the transportation industry. By providing real-time data from the digital tachograph, VDO Link will offer many more possibilities to facilitate and optimize everyday fleet operations. For example, fleet managers could use the data on a vehicle’s current location, cargo space and weight to accept additional freight orders, increasing the fleet’s capacity utilization. The integration of toll services will also be possible in the future. Therefore, Continental has deliberately opened up its technology and cloud for more partnerships. “Together with our development partners, clients and start-ups, we aim to unlock the full potential of the tachograph, constantly expanding the services landscape for fleets,” says Marcello Lucarelli.

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