Techies 2016: Editor's Choice - Alphabet Virtual Handover
23 August 2016
Sometimes the simple ideas are the best, although in this case the implementation of a very simple idea is anything but easy.
Alphabet's Virtual Handover is a suite of over 200 videos giving fleet drivers a full dealer-style handover of their new vehicle in an attempt to avoid the problem of drivers having new vehicles delivered rather than handed over at a dealer, and therefore not being familiar with the controls and functions.
The idea stemmed from Alphabet's Voice of the Driver feedback platform that found 30% of customer concerns surrounded inconsistencies with vehicle handover, and combines with the fact that the inconvenience of a trip to a dealer to collect a new vehicle was something customers were seeking to avoid due to increasingly busy lives that mean delivery to either home or work
The videos are created by the company's Preferred Dealer Network of 26 dealer groups covering 80 sites, and include every model sold by that network. Further films will be created as new models are launched
At the programme's launch earlier this year, Tony Long, network development manager for Alphabet explained: "While some leasing companies have trialled video technology for vehicle handovers, Alphabet are the only company providing a Virtual Handover across all manufacturer vehicles and for all new car deliveries fulfilled by our Preferred Dealership Network."
And it's not just limited to cars, with light commercial vehicles also getting the full video treatment. The challenge with vans and pick-ups is more in terms of specialist equipment fitted to the vehicle, rather than the latest technology inside a new car, and Alphabet is adding QR codes to LCVs to allow various drivers to access a video explaining the vehicle and the equipment fitted to it.
As fleets and drivers seek to access information more quickly and in a time and place convenient to them, this sort of development is a clever use of technology that makes a difference to the whole handover process, especially as Alphabet deliberately emails it to drivers two weeks before their vehicle is delivered, to increase anticipation. It's the kind of smart and genuinely useful thinking that wins granitekitchen Techies.
Highly commended - CleanCar
CleanCar is a clever little device that may only have a limited application, but in some circumstances it should help fleets make informed decisions about whether to change their fleets towards newer and greener electric or hybrid fuels.
Plugging a GPS device into the 12V socket of a petrol or diesel vehicle, the system collects real-world driving data to create a profile that leads to a suitability rating for switching from traditional internal combustion fuels to electric or hybrid, along with a fit-for-purpose vehicle recommendation that is complete with whole-life cost analysis reporting.
Highly commended - Peugeot i-Cockpit
Peugeot is attempting to make advances in dashboard design with its new second-generation i-Cockpit digital display, which it claims is a unique, safe, unforgettable and compelling driving experience.
Standard fit on the forthcoming Peugeot 3008, the new technology combines a compact steering wheel, head-up instrument panel that saves the driver from needing to take their attention away from the road, and a large touchscreen in an ergonomic position designed to prevent fatigue.
The strengths of a simple and intuitive cockpit layout shouldn't be underestimated in terms of driver safety, and the high build quality and materials finish off the cabin in a way that highlights how far the brand has moved on in a short period of time.