Handsfree Group attend NAPFM 2018 – The Emergency Fleet Exhibition

The Exhibition

NAPFM, the Emergency Fleet Exhibition and the National Association of Police Fleet Managers Conference, is one of the largest emergency service fleet events in Europe and is now in it’s 45th year.

Exhibitions are great platforms for businesses to showcase new products and reach out to new clientele. They provide an amazing opportunity for businesses within the industry to converse and learn from each other, as well as enabling a place for marketing and promotion.

Handsfree Group are always excited about industry changes and eager to learn from exhibition opportunities and exhibitors, which is why they had to visit this year’s NAPFM exhibition.

 

Handsfree Group’s Alert Division

Visiting this exhibition was paramount for Handsfree Group due to their involvement with the Emergency Services through their specialist Alert Division.  

Alert help the UK Police, Fire and Ambulance services with the installation of critical communications and safety equipment into emergency response vehicles and mobile command centres.

Vehicle Installations

Alert’s expert and dedicated team works with UK Police Forces, Ambulance Trusts and Fire Services.  Handsfree Group are a Federation of Communications Services (FCS) Gold Patron installer member that supports customers with full UK wide vehicle installation coverage through a specialist team of FCS FITAS accredited engineers.

Vehicle Technology

Alert successfully support emergency service clients in the supply of critical communications, safety equipment and Fixed Vehicle Device (FVD) technology solutions. Alert’s FVD critical communications line up includes the robust PT5 communication solutions.  PT5 devices are equipped, as standard, with WiFi, phone calls, 2 way comms and Push To Talk, whilst being fixed in situ with remote SIM cards.

Vehicle Conversion

Alert are a total solution provider customising vehicle communication and safety solutions for ESN / ESMCP.  Handsfree Group’s 10,000 sq ft vehicle conversion centre further supports clients in specialist emergency vehicle conversions, custom installation of critical FVD communications and ESN / ESMCP safety equipment

 

Meeting and Greeting Galore

At NAPFM 2018, Handsfree Group were delighted to meet up with many of the industry contributors and made some valuable connections and also saw lots of familiar faces.  It was a great exhibition which provided insights into the future of the Emergency Services Fleets.

If you would like more information on the Handsfree Group Alert Division, or indeed any other information, please contact us to arrange a meeting to discuss your requirements.

Handsfree Group Sponsors Ocado Driver of the Month

Rewarding Excellence

Ocado, the British online supermarket, has now been trading for 18 years. Their success is largely due to their ability to deliver groceries correctly and on time, in a safe and friendly manner.  

Their HGV and delivery drivers play a huge role in this success story, so Ocado realised the importance of incentivising and rewarding their dedicated delivery team Nationwide.

 

The Competition

The idea of setting up a monthly competition for their drivers with an annual overall Driver of the Year event was born.

Drivers are monitored within their region and scored on several aspects of their daily work, the main areas being their ability to drive safely, stay in control of their vehicle, follow instructions and deliver great customer service to the door.  

A winner for each region is announced every month and receives a fantastic prize.  Ocado then hold the annual Ocado Driver of the Year Event (#OcadoDOTY) where their safest drivers from around the country for that year are invited to attend a VIP track day.

They each drive a variety of cars and LGVs and are scored on their driving technique and safety skills and the highest scoring driver gets crowned Driver of the Year.

 

The Prize

Handsfree Group recognise the extent to which Ocado pride themselves on their high standards, particularly when it comes to the level of priority they place on safety.  

Handsfree Group provide expert advice on Fleet Operation Recognition Scheme (FORS) compliance, and work closely with Ocado in this area, so it was only natural for Handsfree Group to sponsor the Driver of the Month by offering a JustDRIVE Car DAB Digital Radio Kit including installation as a prize.

Every month, the top driver of a region will win the JustDRIVE kit to have installed into their own personal vehicle, that’s certainly something to “drive” towards.

The monthly competition and annual event have been running since 2009 and they continue to be a great incentive and reward for Ocado’s dedicated team members.

Quote:

“At Ocado, we work hard to be the best at what we do, and pride ourselves not only on delivering the finest groceries, but also on our award-winning service.

At the heart of this drive for great service is our dedicated team of HGV and delivery drivers. We call the latter Customer Service Team Members (CSTMs for short) because, quite simply, they do so much more than just deliver groceries. They’re the most visible part of our business – our ambassadors, even – and, with such a demanding role to play, we take their safety incredibly seriously.

To encourage a culture of road safety within our driving team, we regularly run training courses and safety awareness initiatives.”

New Mercedes Sprinter Van is coming…and Handsfree Group are ready for it!

Sprinter and eSprinter

If you haven’t already heard, the all-new Mercedes Sprinter van is due to be launched, with the all-electric eSprinter following in 2019.

 

TECh enhancements

Mercedes has concentrated on Comfort, Safety and Convenience improvements with their new, broader model line up.  

Here at Handsfree Group, we have studied the many options the new Sprinter has to offer. We are ready with the products that will even further enhance the driving experience and the safety of the driver, van, cargo and other road users.

 

Communication

Giving your team the tools to communicate effectively delivers positive results for your business. Here are some examples of the communication systems and accessories Handsfree Group can offer to improve communication when driving the new Mercedes Sprinter:

TECh PT range

Our range of PT fixed vehicle devices increase driver safety, improve fleet communication, reduce insurance premiums and offer; multi handset option; configurable operating modes; intercom capability; remote fleet management; panic alerts; and GPS Tracking.

Cradles

When you have invested in a mobile data terminal, such as a rugged PDA or Tablet, it is important to keep it fully secure, powered and connected. Handsfree Group supply and install a range of charging and non-charging cradle designs.

Docking Stations

Keep laptops, tablets and mobile data terminals powered and connected whilst on the move in the new Sprinter van. Our range of Docking stations is extensive and includes models from the likes of Havis and Gamber Johnson, providing products with wide-ranging components that mix and match to your specific needs. Our technical team can even design and engineer bespoke docking stations for your new Sprinter fleet.

Antennas

Our TECh store has a wide range of tried and tested antennas available, produced for PMR and public safety.  Our antennas are used throughout the world by hundreds of public safety departments. Our antenna solutions will work on the Sprinter, whether you need an integrated or body mounted antenna solution we have the expertise and range to meet your exact requirements.

 

Safety

Technology is available to make your new Mercedes’ and drivers safer. Here are some examples of products and accessories we offer to further enhance the safety of your Sprinter fleet:

Camera Solutions and Monitors

Whether you are looking for just the rear view from your vehicle or want all 4 sides on show, TECh have a solution to cover your needs.  The TECh store offers a wide range of popular packages that suit a number of needs right off the shelf, from OE integrated solutions like our brake light camera through to 360 degree birds eye view recording system.

Recording and Dashcams

If you require a forward facing recording camera to monitor passengers or exterior to monitor the vehicle and its surroundings, our TECh store has a vast selection of cameras suitable for your needs.

Sensor & Radar Systems

When the world gets a little too close for comfort, we have a comprehensive range of high quality sensor systems keep you aware of all things in your proximity.  

 

Security

Vehicle theft and the loss of valuable cargo can be troublesome for any business. Thankfully Handsfree Group can install a range of approved security products into your fleet that effectively deters criminals, whatever their intentions.  

Electronic Cargo Lock

Linking in to the factory fitted door locking system, the electrolock ensures that the load area door locks automatically on closing, and remain locked until the correctly coded i-button is applied to the access control reader.

Door Plates Kits

Our secure anti-drill plates prevent anyone gaining access to those key points on the vehicle, ensuring the contents remain secure. The visible portion is constructed of a stylish anti-drill metal with an enduring finish, with an internally mounted heavy duty protection plate for added security.

 

Click through and check out our TECh store today.

The Commercial Vehicle Show 2018 – “The Big One”

The Show

It is undoubtedly the biggest and best show of the year for the road transport and commercial vehicle sectors in the UK.  So it is no surprise that Handsfree Group were exhibiting again this year at the 2018 CV Show.  

The show attracts over 20,000 visitors to the NEC in Birmingham each year and this year was no exception.  It is THE place for sector suppliers to showcase their products and services.

Handsfree Group did not disappoint the crowd with their eye catching show stand which you, literally, could not miss.

 

The Handsfree Group’s Demonstration Stand

Handsfree Group had their biggest exhibition stand to date and showcased the best in vehicle technology on the market.

Existing and new customers alike were given the opportunity to browse, watch demonstrations and discuss the products and services on display with the expert Handsfree Group team.

The exhibition stand showcased a wide variety of Handfree Group’s products and services, placing focus on the Install, Installhub and Datalive divisions, on their vehicle technology brand TECh and on Mobileye.  

The Install division are experts in specialist vehicle communication, safety systems and security, and all Handsfree Group Engineers are FCS FITAS 1362 Accredited.  Working from the Installhub, Handsfree Group’s 10’000 sq ft ‘Van Conversion Centre’, and offering nationwide engineer coverage, the Install division has the capacity to handle thousands of specialist vehicle conversions per year.

The Datalive division offers telematics, Live CCTV and Fleet Management Tools – delivering a full suite of fleet management tools to assist with improving productivity, improving safety and reducing risk through the use of telematics and live vehicle CCTV.

TECh offers expert advice, a Nationwide fitting service, International shipping and a simple order process, all run through the TECh Store, offering products to enhance vehicle communication, safety and security.

Handsfree Group are the UK distributor for Mobileye, the global leader in Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving technologies.  Handsfree Group supply and install the latest driver assistance products which ensure fleet drivers are fully protected against unexpected activity on the roads.  The Mobileye products are also available through the TECh Store.

 

The Team’s Thoughts

“The footfall was fantastic this year at the CV Show, with a huge number of decision makers attending the show.

We had customers from near and far visit the stand for refreshments and demonstrations on the developments of the Datalive product set, connected fleet tools such as connect CCTV, tracking and telematics and fleet management tools.

It was great to see existing customers and be able to show them our new in vehicle technology advancements. The highlights in technology advancements from Handsfree Group were the improved features of the TECh PT5 cab phone range, including panic buttons and warning beacons and the huge success of Datalive tracking and telematics and connected vehicle CCTV, installed to industry FCS1362 and FITAS standards.

Another highlight was bringing the northern and southern Handsfree Group sales teams together to run the exhibition stand and having the opportunity for a great team night out, to show Handsfree Group’s appreciation of their expert and dedicated staff.”

 

If you missed the show you can arrange a visit from our demo van, please contact us to book an appointment with our expert team.

FPS Expo 2018 – Award Winning Exhibition

The Exhibition

The FPS Expo exhibition is the leading event for the oil distribution industry in the UK and Ireland and took place this year in mid April.  The event is organised by The Federation of Petroleum Suppliers and is now in it’s 38th year.  Handsfree Group have exhibited at the event for the past 12 years, with great success, so exhibiting again this year was an honour and a pleasure for the team.   

The event was held at the spectacular Exhibition Centre Liverpool (ECL) and brought together over 150 exhibitors all looking to launch or review products and services and meet new or existing clients.  

 

The Handsfree Group’s Demonstration Stand

Handsfree Group’s stand at the FPS Expo was a showcase of three core divisions covering a wide variety of products and services:

Install – Fleet Vehicle Installations – Handsfree Group engineers operate across the UK and are experts in specialist vehicle communication, safety systems and security. All Handsfree Group Engineers are FCS FITAS 1362 Accredited, providing peace of mind that the technology in the vehicles is being serviced or installed by qualified industry professionals. Handsfree Group’s company wide certification demonstrates to customers understanding and assures industry standards will be upheld.  The Installhub is Install’s 10’000 sq ft ‘Service Centre’.  It has the capacity to handle thousands of specialist vehicle conversions per year and is Handsfree Group’s biggest workshop site to date.

Datalive – Telematics, Live Vehicle CCTV & Fleet Management Tools – Datalive provides fleet owners with the appropriate fleet tracking, data and reports to efficiently run their fleets. Datalive delivers a full suite of fleet management tools to assist with improving productivity, improving safety and reducing risk.

TECh – Vehicle Technology – Expert Advice, Nationwide fitting service, International shipping, simple order process.  The TECh Store offers products to enhance vehicle communication, safety and security, some of which were on display and available for demonstration at the FPS Expo, including the range of PT5 cab phones.

The Team’s Thoughts

“The week of the exhibition was a beautiful one, the weather was glorious and the venue was outstanding.

The FPS Expo was a busy event and was a fantastic opportunity to showcase our new in-vehicle technology advancements.

The highlights in technology advancements from Handsfree Group were the improved features of the TECh PT5, including panic buttons and warning beacons. We also received some great feedback on the success of Datalive tracking, telematics and connected vehicle CCTV, all installed to industry FCS1362 and FITAS standards.

It really was good to talk to so many existing and new customers all working together towards fleet safety and efficiency.”

InstallHub Campervan Conversions

Fully Loaded Campervans

If you are looking to purchase a fully loaded, luxurious campervan, whether it be for holidaying, racing or touring with a band, then look no further than Handsfree Group Leisure.

Utilising the state-of-the-art Installhub facility in York, the HF Leisure Division’s skilled FCS 1362 accredited FITAS engineers convert hundreds of Mercedes Sprinter and Volkswagen T5 vans per month into high spec campervans.  

With a choice of a “stock” conversion or working closely with the Leisure team to design a custom van, customers can have as much or as little input as they like.

 

The Installhub

Installhub’s primary role is providing specialist conversion and installation services to Handsfree Group’s impressive portfolio of transport, logistics and emergency service clients. Opened in 2016, it has successfully completed thousands of vehicle conversions and installations.

The ‘Hub’ allows the team to turn around fleet installations, pre-delivery vehicle fit outs and specialist conversions all in one state-of-the-art facility, which significantly reduces vehicle downtime for clients.

The ‘Hub’ works great for the HF Leisure team as it provides ample space to for the refit and manufacture of campervans from start to finish.  The facility allows the engineers, who are all trained to FCS1362 FITAS industry standards, to adapt existing equipment or manufacture their own designs, such as a steel tube fold out bed to fit an exact shape for a Sprinter design.  

 

Campervan Conversions

Given their vast experience in campervan conversions, the HF Leisure Division’s engineers know the Mercedes Sprinters and VW T5’s inside and out.  Each van type has a design template which can be adapted to suit an individual customer’s requirements or kept simple for “stock” vans ready to be driven away.  With access to a wide range of suppliers built up over the years, HF Leisure has access to all the latest cutting edge campervan equipment, such as the latest energy efficient solar panels.

Each van is designed and manufactured with care and precision.  If a customer is looking for something individual and unique, HF Leisure will work with them to make it happen.

HF Leisure like to place an individual stamp on each van to give the customers more than they were expecting. Recent examples of this include large embossed VW logos set into the lining of a camper roof and walls for an individual look, or your band logo set into the roof in colour changing fibre optics.

Handsfree Group Leisure and the Installhub offer the the ability to “customise and design your van the way you want it to fit your lifestyle requirements and budget”.

If you would like further information on this service or would like to arrange a demo, please contact us here.

Fleetwide Installation of Xplore Rugged Tablets

Handsfree Group installs the Xplore F5M rugged tablet to aid in Smart Meter Rollout

Identifying a Reliable Vehicle-Mounted Mobility Solution to Support Smart Meter Rollout

The UK Government implemented a Smart Meter roll-out program in 2011 with the aim for most households to have smart meters installed by their energy company by 2020. For utility companies to be able to deliver this to their customers efficiently, a need was identified for a vehicle mounted tablet to assist in the roll-out logistics.  

Specifically, the chosen tablet would need to prove that the Smart Meter installation had been completed and identified. Therefore, the ideal device would be able to take an image of the meter on site, enabling the field technician to submit a real-time digital installation report back to their depot on leaving the customer’s property.

The tablet also needed to be heavy duty, water resistant and able to withstand knocks, bumps, drops, dust and dirt.

 

Xplore F5 Rugged Tablet Provides Right Level of Secure Mobility, Information Access in the Field

The utility company chose to install the XPlore F5M rugged tablet solution throughout their entire fleet because of its proven durability and extreme workflow flexibility. The Xplore F5m enabled the utility company to manage field technician routing, customer details, installation details and other key field applications using a single computing system.

The Xplore F5m was put through a user committee to drive fast field technician acceptance, and all evaluators, ranging from age 20 to 50, loved it.

Built for demanding environments that require robust enterprise software compatibility, the Xplore F5m rugged tablet platform offers the durability and functionality needed to seamlessly go from the office, to the vehicle, to the field-all while staying connected and secure. It has a fixed handle, is nicely balanced and is easy to hold whilst working on foot. It also has a high-resolution View Anywhere® Display stacked with Corning® Gorilla® Glass, making it ideally suited for demanding outdoor environments where field technicians need to easily read detailed data.

 

Vehicle Installation

Xplore selected and appointed Handsfree Group to manage the installations due to their planning expertise, install experience and industry credentials, such as FITAS 1362 and Alcumus’ SafeContractor.

The countrywide installations have been a great success and has already seen  increased productivity, improved efficiency and increased customer satisfaction.

 

Quote

“Handsfree Group is well versed in the proper installation of rugged tablet solutions into large fleets spanning the country,” noted Sandy McCaskie, EMEA director of sales, Xplore. “To take a working vehicle off the road for a whole day for any reason costs businesses money.”

“So, when a company such as our client, one of the UK’s leading Utility Companies, needs to take a number of vehicles within their large fleet off the road for mobile solution installs, and across multiple operating locations, they need a partner with the specialised skills to complete the task within the shortest possible time.”

“Handsfree Group has proven to be more than capable of meeting their strict turnaround times to minimize each vehicle’s downtime.”

Innovation Advancement in Fleet Technology

Cutting Edge Technology is reshaping the Telematics Industry

Improving Performance

Fleet bosses across the UK are using innovative and state-of-the art telematics technology to stay ahead and improve the performance of their fleet.

Fleet technology is always changing and developing, meaning the next technological advancement is continually bombarding the sector. However, new technology always brings the potential for a meaningful impact on the fleet sector and therefore fleet managers.

Fleet managers need to onboard the latest telematics technology, to ensure their fleet is developing alongside their sectors benchmarking. From this, they can receive major benefits to their business and see first hand the fast improvements innovative technology can bring.

Improved Customer Service

Advanced vehicle telematics technology enables businesses to improve customer service. Telematics ensures Fleet managers will always know exactly where their fleet is, at all times, meaning faster response times for clients. Telematics also improves green credentials by reducing CO₂ emissions, provides companies with protection for their assets and increases productivity of an entire fleet.

Handsfree Group’s proprietary Datalive technology is a prime example of advanced telematics technology. The specialist Datalive team at Handsfree Group is continually evolving the design, development and release of their own fully customisable telematics solution. As a result Handsfree Group continues to be ahead of the curve in fleet technology.

Datalive 3G Vehicle CCTV System

Datalive’s exceptional 3G CCTV technology equips fleet managers with the ability to view activity in real time. This technology means, in the event of incident, vehicle footage can be remotely accessed immediately. Fleet managers can simply log in, select the vehicle and instantly view the live video, download or remote playback.

The Datalive 3G vehicle CCTV system provides fleet managers with a proactive approach in monitoring defects. Datalive telematics remotely monitors the health of the cameras and hard drive. The unit will send an automatic notification to their expert team if any defects have occurred within the camera or hard drive, ensuring exceptional standards are maintained for an entire fleet.

The Right Decision

Datalive’s 3G CCTV systems significantly benefit businesses. Their technology enables companies to mitigate road traffic accidents, improve driving standard by maximising duty of care and track and trace multiple vehicles simultaneously.  Their advanced CCTV systems reduce insurance claims by providing recorded footage; companies can therefore prevent fraud and disprove exaggerated claims with indisputable evidence.

Datalive advise and provide fleet owners with market leading fleet tracking, data and reports to run their fleets efficiently and reduce risks. Their specialised team have a wealth of experience in the comprehensive design and building of integrated Live CCTV systems and tracking solutions for vehicles, meaning you can find the right solution for your fleet today.

CLICK HERE to get in touch with the Datalive team and discuss your fleet requirements.

Peak Hire Vehicles Require Temporary Charging Cradles

Handsfree Group supply D.I.Y fit portable charging cradles and mounting plates to cover peak delivery season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Yes, you’ve got it, Christmas.  It is also one of the busiest times of the year for one of Handsfree Group’s most prestigious and valued customers. Being one of the UK’s leading delivery companies, Christmas is their peak season.  In order to meet customer demand, they employ thousands of peak delivery drivers UK wide, hire vehicles for each of those drivers and provide essential equipment to enable the drivers to make the deliveries efficiently, successfully and most importantly, in time for Christmas.  

Handheld PDA

The essential equipment is, of course, the handheld PDA.  Then the question arises – how to keep those PDA’s charged and secure without installing a permanent cradle?  

Therefore, due to the vehicles being on hire, the need for 1500+ temporary charging cradles arose. The main requirement was that the cradles could be easily installed by the customer.  

The TECh

Handsfree Group’s solution was the TECh CN70 Charging Cradle and Zirkona windscreen suction mount.  

TECh CN70 Charging Cradle

A durable charging and securing solution for the drivers’ handheld PDA’s – the most important tool of the job. The CN70 charging cradle, designed and manufactured by TECh, was the ideal choice.  

The CN70 cradle boasts LED Power Indicator, so the driver is assured their PDA is charging, an internal voltage clamp which prevents over-voltage to the device and an internal voltage regulator which ensures consistent output voltages.

Each CN70 mounting screw fastens into a precision brass bolt and is fixed during injection moulding for maximum strength. The six locating bolts mount to the supplied backplate which then attaches securely to a steel chassis for a rigid and accurate fit.

A locating ’pin’ ensures the device cannot be inserted incorrectly and multiple security bolts provide added strength. The CN70 internal auto-reset switch prevents any risk of a short-circuit across pins and the tamper-proof screws, with anti-vibrate and shake-proof washers, ensure the device remains secure when the vehicle is in motion.

Zirkona Windscreen Suction Mount with Diamond Mounting Plate

Fulfilling the main requirement of a self-fit cradle, the Diamond Mounting Plate is simply fitted to the vehicle using a suction cup which attaches to the vehicle’s windscreen.

The CN70 charging cradle is securely fixed to the Diamond Mounting bracket using the backplate supplied with the cradle.

To discuss these products or any other requirements please contact us and speak to our expert team.