What separates a client from a brand loyalist?
With more than 15 years of experience in technology development for the chauffeured transportation industry, the team at Omatics offers simple fleet management tools designed for livery vehicles.
Founded in January 2008 in Rochelle Park, N.J., Omatics’ GPS-tracking technology is also used by taxi companies, school buses, and other transport agencies. However, 75% of its clients are limousine operators. Since the developers came from the industry, they were able to “build the technology with the understanding of what limousine companies need,” says Shawn D. Byrd, vice president of sales and marketing.
The company offers a GPS solution that accommodates reservations, drop-offs and pick-ups, and real-traffic conditions. Its web-based application allows users to log in and monitor their fleets, reviewing details such as location, speed, stops, idle time, and driving behavior. It’s “open architecture that can be integrated with any back-office system,” Byrd says.
Many GPS companies adapt their product for the industry, says Apurva Patel, chairman and director. But since Omatics was built from the ground up, it has a better understanding of the inner workings of limousine operators.
The Omatics black box automatically receives a signal when the chauffeur arrives at a destination. When a new address is put in and located, the system has a function that lists the vehicles closest to the location.
Real-time traffic conditions are used to predict how long a specific reservation will take, and allows the dispatcher to schedule the driver’s next reservation accordingly. “The fleet operator can squeeze one or more extra jobs into a driver’s shift instead of having the driver sit around idle waiting between jobs,” Patel says.
The system also predicts driving time versus non-driving time, allowing dispatchers to ensure that Department of Transportation driving restrictions for chauffeurs are met.
The initial hardware plus installation fee is $410 per vehicle, with data packages that range from $15 to $33 per month per vehicle, depending on how often the client wants updates. Patel sees it this way: If an operator can squeeze in three extra jobs in one week, he or she can potentially pay off an entire year of data package fees.
Although Omatics targets companies of all sizes, it services a plurality of small operators. Smaller businesses have no problems writing a check to cover initial costs, Patel says. It’s the larger companies with higher initial costs that are finding it difficult. Those going to the banks for the hardware investment aren’t getting the loans they would have in the past.
Companies that mostly had relied on corporate clients are seeing too much of a revenue crunch to invest now, Patel says. “While they feel this is a compelling technology that will help them improve their business, they don’t have the work out there.”
Patel doesn’t expect the wait-and-see approach of operators to last very long and is optimistic for future growth. He adds that developers are creating a second generation of the application with new features that the company hopes to announce at the 2009 International LCT Show.
Name: Omatics LLC
Owner: Apurva Patel
Founded: January 2008
Headquarters: Rochelle Park, N.J.
2008 revenues, estimated: $500,000
Phone: (201) 693-4150
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