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What Does Canada’s 2021 ELD Mandate Mean for Trucking Apps?

Trucking Apps

The Canadian trucking industry has created a profitable business that generates annual revenue of 37.9 billion CAD. The industry’s most significant resources are truck drivers, who pick up and deliver goods on a daily basis. Also, truckers have to log their hours of service for compliance purposes. Truckers usually use pen and paper approach for logging work hours, which can be error-prone and inefficient. Alternatively, truckers can use mobile apps for recording hours on service accurately. However, the Canadian ELD mandate can have a significant effect on the operation of trucking apps. Hence, developers of every trucking app in Canada must be aware of the ELD mandate and the effects of the mandate on their app.

What is the ELD mandate?

The Canadian ELD mandate enforces a majority of fleets in Canada to utilize computerized logs for tracking every driver’s hours of service instead of a pen and paper approach. For this purpose, truck drivers have to install an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) in their vehicles. ELD connects to a truck’s engine control module (ECM) and tracks hours of service based on how long the engine is running. With ELDs, Canadian governments aim to ensure HOS compliance and mandate drivers as well as trucking companies to follow the regulations created for the health and safety of drivers. Also, a third party will certify ELDs to create an additional layer of security.

An ELD can share stored data with DOT or MTO officers for inspections. Also, law enforcement agencies can use ELD data while investigating an accident as these devices store data in an immutable and standardized format. With this mandate, the Canadian government aims to create safer road commutes and reduce the number of truck driver injuries.

Which issues might trucking apps face?

Due to the mandate, developers of any trucking app in Canada may face some issues. Developers need to analyze these issues and build trucking apps that can adapt to new regulations.

Mobile operating systems

Mobile operating systems such as iOS and Android use different programming languages and APIs. Hence, the functionality and performance of trucking apps can differ on these mobile operating systems. Also, iOS and Android have certain restrictions for apps running in the background. These operating systems restrict apps that are not being used actively to save battery. However, background app restrictions can be an obstacle in using trucking apps as these apps need to be continuously connected to ELDs to monitor hours of service. Hence, trucking apps may be incapable of collecting ELD data accurately.

Google and Apple release major software updates every year. Hence, app developers have to be updated about new features and APIs added in the latest release and reprogram their app accordingly. Failing to do so, users may be unable to use trucking apps after a software update.

Connection issues

ELDs can be connected to smartphones with the help of Bluetooth, internet, or USB cables. As truckers may not prefer to keep their smartphones connected via USB cables, developers of every trucking app in Canada need to be aware of the connection issues of Bluetooth and internet.

In case a trucking app loses connection, it may fail to record hours of service accurately. Also, drivers may fail to check whether their smartphones and ELDs are paired. Hence, truckers may need to be trained for using ELDs.

Power consumption

Battery life has always been a major concern for smartphone manufacturers and users. Although flagship smartphones include large batteries, these devices may be too expensive for many truckers. Also, battery life can drain quickly as a smartphone is constantly connected to ELD via wireless networks and actively running a trucking app. To address this issue, truckers may have to charge their smartphone numerous times throughout the day.

How can trucking apps adapt to the ELD mandate?

Developers of every trucking app in Canada must be informed about upcoming mobile software updates and the changes that are made in the latest versions. Android and iOS release developer previews that allow developers to reprogram and test their apps on latest versions. In this manner, app developers can ensure that their app is compatible with the latest iOS and Android versions.

To address the concerns related to connection issues, developers can urge truckers to use Bluetooth over an internet connection as mobile internet may face latency issues in certain areas. Bluetooth can effortlessly connect devices in close range and transfer data at a high speed. Also, app developers should ensure that their trucking app supports the latest version of Bluetooth as this version can allow high-speed data transfer, low power consumption, and s greater distance between connected devices.

Trucking app developers should focus on optimizing battery usage. For this purpose, app developers can reduce network calls by caching relevant data that may be required again. Also, developers need to build apps that can avoid wake locks to prevent devices from staying unlocked for long periods of time. Along with these battery optimization techniques, developers can reduce the number background processes and use a JobScheduler API to schedule tasks in an intelligent manner.

App developers can create an interface to connect ELDs and trucking apps with the help of centralized cloud. With centralized cloud, ELD data can be seamlessly accessed with multiple devices. Hence, app developers don’t need to worry about connection issues or battery life of smartphones as accurate ELD data can be accessed at any time.

After understanding these technicalities, truckers can gain an insight into the mobile app development process and identify various complexities involved in developing a trucking app in Canada. Also, developers need to plan for maintenance and app support, which can be additional tasks. However, mobile app development firms like Digital Fractal can streamline the entire process and develop custom apps for truck drivers. Hence, truck drivers and logistics businesses should consider outsourcing trucking app development to Digital Fractal.

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