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Econet upgrades Connected Car platform, says service is in demand

Econet Connected Car

7 months ago, at the height of its product launch blitz, local mobile operator Econet introduced the market to Econet Connected Car.

No, it wasn’t meant to be new competition to the safe Google self-driving car, but a car tracking system that was touted as a revolutionary product by Econet. After all the controversial comments made about the service, and questions about the business sense behind a service that replicated existing options in the market, it turns out the service is doing well.

A statement we received from Econet mentions how the Connected Car platform has been upgraded to meet the increasing demands for the fleet management system.

I was skeptical of the success of Econet Connected Car, but I guess this latest press release and word on the surging demand for the service should be enough to convince me otherwise. After all, we’ve been told that demand for the service has been strong since it was launched and Econet Connected Car has been welcomed as an important tool for fleet management.

The only thing that doesn’t make sense to me is how a product that is in such huge demand has an offer for free installation being extended until the end of June this year. Sure, it’s penetrative pricing, but if the service has a value of $50 and you’ve already drawn in eager users, why assume that cost? It seems like there’s still need to build up demand.

I don’t know any company or individual that has signed up for Connected Car, but until we see the numbers on how it’s doing I shouldn’t assume the worst. After all, I don’t understand vehicle tracking well enough to question this service.

Econet’s statement on Connected Car is available below.

Econet upgrades Connected Car Fleet Management platform

Econet Wireless has announced that it has upgraded its Econet Connected car platform to meet the increasing demand for the recently launched fleet management system.

Connected Car is a new innovation launched by Econet in October 2014 which allows customers to track their vehicles. This makes it possible to track the movement of goods and passenger vehicles, monitor driver behaviour, while receiving safety alerts and customised fleet management reports among other services.

Several corporates and organisations, including sectors of central and local government, have welcomed the introduction of Econet Connected car smart fleet management service as it helps companies significantly reduce their costs.

Commenting on the upgrade, Dorothy Zimuto, Chief Operating Officer for Econet Connected Car in Zimbabwe, says demand for the product has been strong since launch. The upgraded platform is a response to the demand to further improve of service functionality including giving customers user friendly interface to view and monitor their fleet in real time and to customise any reports dependent on their particular requirements, she said.

Econet extends its free installation offer for Connected Car till end of June, after which installation will cost $50. A monthly subscription fee of $20 is charged. Mrs Zimuto says this new technology leads to substantive savings to companies’ monthly vehicle maintenance and staff costs, fuel costs and accidents occurrences, and an increase in companies’ productivity, a development which insurers, government and companies alike welcome.

The connected car concept is now a global phenomenon used by organizations to monitor, control, and better optimize their fleet management.

Any organization with more than two vehicles will benefit from putting a tracking device. Some of the immediate benefits includes better fuel management, ensuring vehicles stay on prescribed routes or better staff management through notifications when a vehicle enters or exits specified virtual boundaries popularly referred to as Geo fences.

Fleet managers have particularly shown great interest in technology that gives them an ability to “see that the driver is delivering goods to the right place, is driving in accordance to rules expected, not speeding, and not abusing company vehicles by harsh breaking or harsh acceleration”.

The insurance sector has also responded very positively to the advent of breakthrough technological innovations that improves their risk assessment of insured vehicles. With this technology, insurance premiums on vehicles can now be customized to suit an individual’s driving behaviour, mileage, and locations. This should usher in a fair assessment and application of insurance premiums.

A connected car produces information that was hitherto not easily accessible which help them reconsider their premiums to companies. A connected car produces detailed accident reports, distance traveled, places traveled, mileage traveled, location of the vehicle. All this information help insurers assess risk profile for each vehicle they are insuring. Insurance firms are also now encouraging organizations to have their cars connected to reduce their premiums.

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4 thoughts on “Econet upgrades Connected Car platform, says service is in demand

  1. Nigel, in a normal country where greediness is at a minimum, free installations is party of a working business model

  2. I use this system and l must say its very good.l recently had an argument with Harare city council when they had logged me in for 5 hours parking yet l had parked for 15 minutes.The parking marshal forgot to log me out.When l tried to explain l was attacked left right and center, l even called my wife who l was with on the said day , l put the phone on loud speaker and my why wife upon asking her she said we parked for about 20 minutes.
    Upon hearing this the city parking officials requested written evidence to clear the said hours.l went my way and did a detailed print out of my movements including parking positions for the past 3 months.l gave this to them and highlighted the time of entry and time of departure which was exactly 15 minutes.l left these guys with an egg on their faces.Up until now they have not cleared my vehicle.

  3. Try other products from some of the pioneers of tracking in Zimbabwe – you’ll be surprised that there is nothing new from EW. How do you call your organisation “innovative” when your software designers launch a product which is not user-friendly? Why not learn from products already on the market. At this rate, EW are providing a service which was provided by some tracking companies 10 years ago and calling it “modern” etc Tracking products work the same – the main difference is in software maturity (type & value of reports), QoS (quality of service) and ease of use/customisation. Recovery of stolen vehicles is an area where older Tracking companies shine – they have the experience which EW does not have.

  4. Econet has the clout to join the race smartly, reset the trends, market it aggressively, dominate the race with valor, and outshine the traditional players. I do not think its objective for pundits to always expect EWz to launch extraordinary products as if Econet is a Japanese firm swimming in Zun waters. They too are in business in the same adverse terrain that all Zim companies are in. Let our judgements be fair regardless of the size and profile of the participants in question.

    Casting aspersions on the performance of a product before it has even been appraised on a financial year-end report is just not fair. Just check on Ecocash, TeleCash, and OneWallet. Nobody gave Ecocash a split chance!!

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