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Caterpillar helps customers manage fleets with new VisionLink app

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Caterpillar has unveiled an updated version of its asset management app VisionLink.

Cloud-based and accessed through desktops, tablets, or mobile devices, the new VisionLink revealed at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2023 consolidates MyCat.Com, the Cat App, and the previous version of VisionLink into one central solution for fleet management. 

According to Cat, the platform’s refreshed, intuitive interface helps customers efficiently manage their entire fleet, regardless of manufacturer. A broader range of data from owned, leased, or rented equipment and attachments allows contractors to make better-informed asset management decisions.

The updated app is part of Cat’s integrated digital strategy to meet its customers on the go.

The first step in a suite of solutions is parts and support, represented by Cat’s parts.cat.com, and the recently launched Cat Central app.

For those customers who want troubleshooting information or service instructions, Cat has service information through the SIS2GO app, the mobile companion to SIS2.0.

Lastly, the new VisionLink provides an integrated full-fleet management solution for asset tracking.

VisionLink monitors machine health, fault codes, S∙O∙S fluid analysis, and inspections to plan maintenance. Key personnel can be assigned to receive alerts when an asset requires immediate service. Customers can also request service and order parts from Cat dealers directly using the new VisionLink mobile app.

“We’re evolving from just wanting to be a data collecting company into wanting to help with the workflows,” said Steve Dionne, Cat digital program manager.

Unable to reveal the full strategic plan for VisionLink, he said there are plans to consider other assets concerning coming and going from the jobsite and having the ability to be managed via VisionLink as well.

Dionne said Cat intends to streamline its digital products to deliver a premium and consistent customer experience. 

“Caterpillar is in its pursuit of simplifying this space,” he said. “Historically, we had a very complicated subscription model.”

For the new VisionLink, Dionne said, there will be four subscription levels to reduce complexity and provide the right combination of features for customers of any size.

He pointed out that VisionLink continues to offer core telematics data with every machine to answer questions about assets, including daily machine location, utilization, fuel usage, maintenance reminders, and integration with Caterpillar’s digital ecosystem. 

VisionLInk desktop app

The new VisionLink provides an integrated full-fleet management solution for asset tracking to maximize machine uptime and optimize utilization.Caterpillar

Uptime and Utilization

Building the program from the ground up, a key point in development was to ensure the simplicity of navigation.

“We started with a lot of those lessons from the Cat app and how we built it to be something that anybody with a single unit would feel comfortable coming into and consuming the data from their machine,” Dionne said.

The new VisionLink options function as some of the other platforms do.

“We want to float the important stuff to the top and then allow the user to easily navigate into further information from there,” he said.

Several updated features help serve customers in a variety of everyday situations. 

“Whether we reduce the number of clicks or improve the quality of the data, we wanted to make sure that we were furthering ourselves, not just reporting the data, but allowing customers to take the action that they need based on whatever the data is telling them,” Dionne said.

One new feature, dubbed “Needs Review” is a perfect example of that.

“We’ve set it up so that on your home page, your desktop, or your mobile application, those are the real things that you need to focus on,” Dionne said. “There are things that need immediate attention. We allow those to float to the top so that you are aware, and you can then take the actions that are required.” 

In conjunction with that feature is “Task Management,” which allows customers to begin tracking items as needed to review their completion.

“We can do things like add descriptions, add images, we can make sure that a single person is allocated to complete a task that needs to be completed and then you can actually see in your timeline to see the items that need to be included,” Dionne said. “This again, is a good example of how we’re getting into more workflow management, not just the data management that our platforms have historically focused on.”

The third piece of the updated VisionLink is the full fleet visualization, which again is Cat taking that intentional step into becoming a jobsite asset management platform.

“We are good at managing the data of Cat machines, but this is the place where you can bring your data in from other OEMs or you have the opportunity to manually add assets and then we also have a full suite of devices that can be attached to a variety of different platforms,” he said.

Users can assign machines with the in-app name of their choosing with easy-to-use dashboards that allow for asset management by projects, groups, and geofences.

Also, Dionne pointed out that contractors can determine who can and cannot access VisionLink by defining access levels for personnel. Customized reports can be generated and sorted automatically to facilitate tasks such as identifying underutilized equipment.

To make it easier for customers to manage their assets and increase productivity, this evolution of the app includes the rebranding of Cat Productivity to VisionLink Productivity, a cloud-based application that helps customers analyze jobsite performance and improve productivity based on actionable information. It is scalable to any size operation, regardless of asset brand, and can be accessed wherever they are via mobile, tablet, or desktop. 

Lastly, is the mobile app option.

“People have been asking us for a VisionLink mobile experience, so as we were building this from the ground up, we chose ways to structure our data so that we could easily have a mobile companion that is optimized for those tasks on the go,” Dionne said. “These key tasks on the go are in the mobile experience, but they seamlessly connect back into that desktop experience as well.”

A download for both Android and iOS platforms, the new mobile app allows users to stay up to date on key metrics, location of assets, fuel level, idle time, and more, all through a smartphone. Using all the key elements of a smartphone, it was built with mobility in mind.

%{[ data-embed-type=”image” data-embed-id=”646bbd48b0b299de2d8b4608″ data-embed-element=”span” data-embed-size=”640w” data-embed-alt=”VisionLink on mobile tablet” data-embed-src=” data-embed-caption=”Dionne explained that Cat has more than 1.4 million active assets around the globe.<br>
With more than 1.4 million assets in the field, Cat wants to ensure that all those machine owners have an easy way to get the data they need via VisonLink.” data-embed-credit=”Caterpillar” data-embed-width=”1280″ data-embed-height=”960″ ]}%

All that info

With the navigation and functions sorted out the next step was the data itself.

“We wanted to focus on making sure it was the highest quality data,” Dionne said. “We wanted to make sure that it was trusted and then ultimately we wanted a platform that people can take action from and not just to see the data.”

Based on their wide variety of customers, Cat determined that sometimes it’s important to know the type of terrain or what the roads are like. The ability to change those styles of viewpoints is included in the map settings.

“We also know that a lot of our customers are building in geo-fences to rope in where their machines are at, as well as have the need to know where dealer locations are at,” Dionne said.

To connect all of that, VisionLink is integrated with Cat Inspect and parts.cat.com.

“We wanted to make sure that again, customers could go from seeing the call fault code into taking that next step,” he said. “Whether that’s requesting the service or going to one of our other platforms to get additional information, we wanted to make sure that we’re not just reporting the news that customers can act from here. 

“You can put in a couple of notes about what might be going on or what sort of fault code you’re seeing and then you have the opportunity to select whether or not you’d like to go into the dealership or have the dealer come out and perform that service on your machine,” he said. 

With the connection to parts.cat.com, it is a seamless single-sign-in buying experience.

Dionne said the app allows customers to quickly understand determined timelines on how often a machine is running, how often is it idling, and other key statistics. 

In addition, there is a planned maintenance section of the app.

“One of the nice improvements with this is the ability to complete that planned maintenance so customers can see that they’re keeping up with their PMs,” he said. “You have the opportunity to manually track this as well as track a little bit more automatically.”

Dionne explained that Cat has more than 1.4 million active assets around the globe.

“We want to make sure that all the people that own those machines have an easy way to get that data,” he said. “We really focused on building a platform that is first and foremost intuitive.”

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