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.

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