New California IoT Cybersecurity Law…

New California IoT Cybersecurity Law Could Impact Trucking Fleets

The California legislature recently passed a new law that could impact trucking fleets operating in the state – and many fleets may be unaware of it. Known as SB-327, the bill covers Internet of Things (IoT) devices, including ELDs and other telematics systems commonly used in trucks.

Under the new law, beginning January 1, 2020, manufacturers of connected devices are required to equip the devices with reasonable security features designed to protect the device and any data it contains from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification or disclosure. If the device can be accessed outside a local area network with a password, it needs to either come with a unique password for each device, or force users to set their own password the first time they connect. Companies cannot rely on generic or shared logins that can leave them exposed to breaches.

Carlton Bale, Founder and Head of Strategy at connectivity provider ZED Connect, said the law – unique to Calif. – is a good start, but doesn’t go far enough. He’s also concerned that trucking fleets are unaware of it, and aren’t pushing their vendors to address and surpass the new, tougher security standard.

“Imagine a hacker taking over an 80,000 lb. vehicle,” said Bale. “That’s what a device breach could potentially enable, since many critical elements of the truck are connected. It’s a frightening concept – yet we still hear of hardware that uses generic or shared logins across fleets and devices.”

Bale recommends that fleets check with their connectivity providers and ensure they exceed the new Calif. standards. Questions that fleets should be asking include:

  • Are all communications between the vehicle and server encrypted?
  • Is the data stored on servers encrypted?
  • Is the data stored on the vehicle connectivity device encrypted?
  • Where applicable, do the connectivity devices have random, device-specific admin passwords?
  • Does the vehicle connectivity hardware utilize an internal firewall between the internet connection and the vehicle datalink?
  • Has the vendor conducted third-party security assessments of hardware and software to identify address potential issues?
Published in Fleet News Daily

ZED Connect sees an analytic future for the owner-operator

Launched last summer with the goal of providing low-cost electronic logging devices (ELDs) to truckers, ZED Connect is already looking forward to its growth trajectory. CEO Skip Kinford and director of operations Christopher Harlow sat down with FreightWaves this week at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville to talk about where that growth is expected to take ZED Connect, which is a completed independent company with backing from Cummins Inc.

“We’re trying to build an ecosystem that can bring [multiple data sources] into one place,” Harlow explained.

Describing ZED Connect as a analytics company, Kinford said the company will build upon the success of its ZED ELD, which retails for $200 for the initial Bluetooth plug-and-play adapter and requires download of the ZED app. There is no annual or monthly fees or installation costs beyond the initial $200 investment.

Going forward, the company will become involved with collecting and analyzing vehicle data – primarily at this point centered on the engine – and providing insight into that data back to fleets and owner-operators.

“We’d like to bring a set of tools to the owner-operator that we can say [provides] value to them,” Kinford noted. “If you drive for a fleet and your truck goes down, they can just give you another one. If an owner-operator’s truck goes down, they aren’t making any money.”

The solution, which will grow over time, will be platform agnostic, Kinford said, with applications on it launching later this year. The first application will be an IFTA package. Additional applications will feature maintenance-related benefits including prognostic and predictive maintenance. This includes items related to service of the vehicle and optimizing vehicle uptime.

Eventually, the analytics data solution “will extend to every aspect of the truck and trucking industry,” Kinford noted.

Unlike other solutions that simply plug into the CAN Bus, the ZED Connect solution will collect the data through the Bluetooth device needed to run the ELD solution. However, users do not have to use the ELD, although there is no cost for using the ELD.

Kinford mentioned that having the backing of Cummins has given ZED Connect a great foundation to build upon and Cummins has given it the latitude to innovate. “The roadmap for us is absolutely an analytics play,” he said.

The maintenance applications are the first step in that journey.

ZED Connect adding IFTA to Fleet Management Portal

ZED Connect, formed by Cummins to market one of the few non-subscription-fee electronic logging devices, plans to add other data-based services through its ELD, said John Henry, director of channel sales.

One of the first to be added, in a month or so, will be IFTA miles recording, at 100% discount to start off per month, Henry said in late March during the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. ZED Connect also plans to add the existing Cummins Connective Diagnostic as a direct service in addition to its availability  through other telematics service providers, such as Omnitracs, as it has so far.

The company anticipates many other products to be built from Cummins engines’ ECUs, using data that’s gathered on a deeper level than the data that’s been widely used for years.

Though some ancillary products will be provided free, revenue from paid items is what makes it possible for the ZED Connect ELD to be offered for only a one-time fee of $200, Henry said. When Cummins created ZED Connect, its directive was “to take these data feeds and find things that would be useful,” he said.

The company is exploring product concepts and potential partnerships, including with some telematics providers that could use Cummins data to leverage their own services, as well as with certain Cummins divisions.

Many show attendees inquired about the ZED Connect ELD, Henry said. Some were looking to buy a product before the April 1 hard enforcement date, while others were dissatisfied with their first ELD or were initially unaware that ZEC Connect and a few other suppliers were offering compliant ELDs with no monthly fees.

ZED Connect Opens U.S. Headquarters in Calabasas, CA

ZED Connect was launched by Cummins in June aimed at taking an innovative approach to help trucking fleets, drivers and other industry partners to overcome challenges and improve the bottom line while working across all makes and models.

ZED Connect’s first product offering was the plug-and-play ZED ELD. A smartphone-based solution for small and mid-sized fleets, it was designed to help meet federal electronic logging device requirements while minimizing financial impact.

Following that initial ELD launch in June 2017, the company debuted an OBDII 16-pin adapter for the ELDs developed specifically for smaller commercial vehicles and vocational work trucks requiring compliance to the FMCSA ELD mandate.

“Since our inception less than a year ago, our company has grown substantially,” said Skip Kinford, ZED Connect CEO.  “The development of our ELD solutions marks the first of many new products and technologies that will launch in 2018 and beyond.  Accordingly, we need proper facilities that will accommodate our team, as well as staff that we’ll add in the months ahead.”