The fleet industry is set to undergo a “massive revolution” with the introduction of the connected car and the arrival of so-called ‘big data’, while contract hire companies will transform into analytics businesses that lease vehicles.
Those were two of the predictions at ACFO’s spring seminar, ‘Big Data - Big Seminar’, where around 80 fleet decision-makers, heard Nick Mitchell, Audi’s service and technical manager, say: “The arrival of the connected car will result in massive changes in the way people use cars and the application and provision of cars. Technology will be updated before our eyes. It is a massive revolution that we are about to go through and the pace of change will never be as slow again.” 
For contract hire and leasing companies the arrival of ‘big data’ meant “transformational change”, with Craig McNaughton, corporate director, Lex Autolease, forecasting that it would enable them to “predict the future” in terms of vehicle service, maintenance and repairs and driver behaviours as a result of data analysis thus taking away fleet operation uncertainty.
Ultimately, Mr McNaughton told delegates: “Connected car data will fundamentally change our industry. We have a long way to go, but we must change from a rear view mirror perspective to using data to predict the future and move from a leasing company that provides management information to a data company that leases vehicles.”
However, the transformation will not be without its challenges and behind the scenes policy makers and vehicle manufacturer and leasing company representative organisations are discussing numerous issues around data ownership and accessibility. 
Mr McNaughton said: “There are real contractual challenges to overcome due to the difference between retail customers and fleet owners. The connected car will be a huge part of the data lake and the volume of information ever-increasing. Fleet customers demand information to tell them what is happening to their vehicles and to predict the future and lead them on a journey to provide cost savings and deliver safety.”