FMS Tech is an Abu Dhabi-based end-to-end telematics provider that — by emphasising local requirements and working closely with its customers — has secured business with oil firms including ADNOC and a number of subsidiaries, and covering fleets of thousands of vehicles.
The company has also been active in promoting driver merit system (DMS) as a means of improving driver behaviour in commercial fleets, and as a consequence, road safety in the UAE. And in recent months, FMS has taken its DMS a step further with the introduction of ‘Kiosk’, an automated, DMS robot — linked to a fleet’s RFID driver identification system — that analyses telematics data and uses a virtual assistant to provide feedback on driver performance.
This driver training tool, which is patent pending following its submission in the US this January, is the realisation that Bassam Alkassar, CEO of FMS Tech, has had in mind since 1999, before he even founded his company.
He says: “FMS was established in 2006, when we bought the blueprint for our software from an American company called Techno Group. Initially, the product was American and it had a presence in the US, but we moved it here and made it more suited to the local culture.
“At the time, it didn’t support Arabic and it didn’t have GPS — so we added functions to make it an end-to-end solution for this region. It took us a couple of years to perfect it and we introduced the first product in this region in 2009. But from the start, back in 1999, I thought we needed to provide some kind of feedback.”
While many of the features of FMS Tech’s product are common to the major telematics providers, the development of its driver training and road safety features is an area in which the company invested a considerable amount of time, energy and resources.
Alkassar notes: “Telematics is a sophisticated technology, and tackling road safety and driving behaviour is not easy. I’ve never seen an application that gives you the complete scope. But if you want to cut the cost of your fleet and improve its efficiency, you really have to rely on a high-quality product that gives you the right information when you need it.”
In terms of the sensory hardware on the market, he adds: “You shouldn’t have to service the device; the device should serve you. I’ve seen many devices in the market for which the failure rate is high, or cases where customers have believed that GPS tracking is telematics.”
Alkassar has since built a successful business out of FMS Tech, and today counts many of region’s top oil and gas firms and commercial operators in transport and logistics among his customers. Yet it is FMS Tech’s DMS Kiosk that comes closest to fulfilling Alkassar’s idea of what telematics should be and where it is heading.
He continues: “Even before I established FMS Tech, I had been involved in building road safety solutions for commercial fleets, and despite the telematics technology that helps improve driver behaviour by capturing engine performance and driving patterns, I’ve always thought that there was a gap in the offering.