Toll management will change essentially, thanks to the digitalisation process that was set in motion under the Electronic European Toll System (EETS). We will eventually see one toll box for all Europe, you will be able to pay via just one bill and if you choose the correct provider you will be given practical access to, and insight in, all your records. We would urge on you not to decide too rashly on choosing a suitable provider for your EETS-compliant on-board units, in order for you to avoid any risks as regards your business continuity. For your information I will be listing several of these risks in this blog.
More frequent returns to the workshop for updates
Unlike existing on-board units, the new EETS-compliant on-board units are continuously fed with updates. Apart from integrating new EETS-compliant toll routes in the OBU, these updates will also be for the purpose of optimising and improving the functioning of the box. In this respect you can compare them to the Apple iPhone, which also requires regularly recurring software updates. This indeed implies that the days of OBUs being installed or updated during periodical inspections, workshop appointments or holiday periods are really over, as this would mean vehicles being stalled each week or so. ‘Plug & Play’ and ‘Updates Over The Air’ are no luxury therefore, but pure necessity.
More fines due to slow updates and breakdowns
It sounds simple: your new EETS-compliant OBUs are expected to function spotlessly from a technological viewpoint. They must be activated as soon as the vehicle engine comes to life and continue functioning at all times. Just imagine how a PC that dates back to, say, 1995 would function nowadays. Exactly: if this PC would work at all, it would be slow to start up, and an update would take hours instead of seconds or minutes. Now realise that the first toll boxes came to be developed in the same nineteen nineties, based on contemporary technology. Then you will understand that an EETS-compliant toll box developed on the basis of yesteryear’s technology might well prove to be just as slow as this 1995 PC. Any new update, even if passed over-the-air, will take longer than desired, resulting in temporary OBU failure and an implied higher risk of penalties and fines.
Obviously, complete OBU failure may also occur. In that case you will of course go for the quickest possible solution and an uninterrupted continuation of your trip, so please ensure you have an alternative on board at all times, like the DKV CARD. But naturally you would also wish to restore the OBU to its original functioning status as soon as possible. So who would you prefer to call in that case? Exactly, the manufacturer of the tool. If your Miele washing machine stops functioning (another possible occurrence) you will, after all, not contact the store where you bought it (the reseller), but the manufacturer (producer). They will have best knowledge of the appliance and will possess the expertise required to quickly come up with a solution. This also goes for EETS-compliant on-board units. You would be inclined to contact the manufacturer (preferably 24 hours a day, 7 days a week); not the reseller who sold you the appliance. This would involve an additional link and a delay on top.
You will be running arrears, technologically
As already set out in my previous blogs in this series, the introduction of EETS and the pan-European on-board unit means a new technological step towards ‘connected fleet services’. Service providers like DKV Euro Service are on a digital transformation course in order to help you on your way toward process optimisation, safer and more effective trips and lower business costs. New collaborative projects like Toll4Europe, our joint-venture with Daimler and IT-specialist T-Systems, will eventually enable you to make smarter decisions based on insights gained in your records derived from dashboards and reports and the possibility for you to integrate everything relating to fleet management in one and the same platform. Tolls being a prominent cost item in fleet management, it is important for you here and now to choose the proper solution originating from the proper provider. If not, you will be running the risk of falling behind, technologically speaking, or to be faced in the end with the necessity of substituting your newly-purchased and installed EETS-compliant on-board units for units based on modern technology, equipped with adequate basic functionalities providing future integrations and insights required for you to stand the test.