Isaac Instruments Invests in AI, Introduces Driver Mobile App

Jacques DeLarochelliere
Isaac Instruments CEO Jacques DeLarochelliere describes the company’s product development plans at its 2022 user conference. (Seth Clevenger/Transport Topics)

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SAINT-BRUNO-de-MONTARVILLE, Quebec — Trucking telematics provider Isaac Instruments is investing in artificial intelligence and rolling out new products such as a driver mobile app to advance its mission to “simplify trucking.”

Isaac CEO and co-founder Jacques DeLarochelliere outlined the growing technology supplier’s product road map and broader business strategy at its 2022 user conference Nov. 15-16 at the company’s headquarters just outside Montreal.

Despite the possibility of at least a mild recession on the horizon, DeLarochelliere said Isaac is well positioned to support its fleet customers through economic headwinds that already have led to layoffs at many other technology firms, especially ones dependent on venture capital funding.

Isaac headquarters

Isaac Instruments hosted its 2022 user conference at its headquarters just outside Montreal. (Seth Clevenger/Transport Topics)

“Isaac was built one brick at a time without any venture capital ever,” he said.

The technology supplier also remains focused specifically on the freight transportation industry.

“Our commitment is to trucking,” he said. “We don’t do anything else.”

Isaac’s electronic logging devices and telematics systems provide motor carriers a range of tools to enhance driver productivity, fleet safety, hours-of-service compliance and fuel economy. Isaac claims the largest ELD market share in Canada and has been expanding its customer base in the United States during the past two years.

The company, which takes its name from one of the fathers of physics, Isaac Newton, has expanded to 184 full-time employees, DeLarochelliere said.

On the technology development front, Isaac has created a team focused solely on AI and data science to help its fleet customers make better use of the ocean of data they are already collecting on their operations.

DeLarochelliere said the company has made an initial investment of 3 million Canadian dollars to support its AI team as it works to unlock increasingly advanced data analytics capabilities.

“AI is where your data becomes a very valuable asset,” DeLarochelliere said. “AI is like a small army of experts going through your data 24/7/365 to find golden nuggets — to find things that will make you operate better.”

By using AI to identify trends in the data, Isaac believes it will be able to help fleets predict which drivers are most likely to be involved in an accident or leave the company, for example.

Rahat Yasir

Isaac’s Rahat Yasir says the company sees opportunities for artificial intelligence to help fleets better manage driver retention, driver safety and vehicle diagnostics. (Seth Clevenger/Transport Topics)

“All those things are in the data. We just need to process it and find it,” said Rahat Yasir, director of data science and AI at Isaac.

Isaac has partnered with cloud computing provider Microsoft Azure to build a cloud-based data analytics platform for its AI operations, he said.

“The future is going to be more data driven, more data-centric and more automated decision-making,” Yasir said.

DeLarochelliere also announced that Isaac will be introducing its first mobile app for drivers’ personal mobile devices.

Isaac Connect

Isaac Instruments announced plans to launch a mobile app for drivers’ personal devices next year. (Seth Clevenger/Transport Topics)

The new app, dubbed Isaac Connect, will not replace Isaac’s InControl rugged in-cab tablets, which will continue to serve as the primary driver interface. Instead, the app will enable drivers to access work data and communications while they are away from their trucks.

“We continue to believe that the mission-critical functions have to run on reliable hardware — it has to be a rugged tablet in the cab,” DeLarochelliere said. “But on the other hand, there are needs for communication that are not mission critical, and for such cases, bring-your-own-device is good enough.”

Mark Greco, a product manager at Isaac, said the mobile app is designed to give drivers and dispatchers a simpler way to communicate while the driver isn’t in the cab.

“There are times when the driver is at a truck stop waiting for the next dispatch, or at home,” he said. “They’re not in the truck, next to the mission-critical device, but carriers still have a need to communicate with those drivers.”

Drivers will be able to use the app to access messages, check their hours-of-service information, ask dispatchers for their next load, and view documents and driver coaching reports.

Isaac is targeting a mid-2023 launch for Isaac Connect, which will become available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

DeLarochelliere also highlighted Isaac’s integrations with a long list of other fleet management technology vendors to support joint customers.

“Expect that list to keep growing,” he said.

Touching on another key topic, DeLarochelliere addressed the rising threat of cyberattacks in the transportation industry and provided an update on Isaac’s efforts to protect its customers and their data.

He cited the company’s recent certification for information security management from ISO, the International Organization for Standardization.

“Cybersecurity requires the involvement of all members of a company,” he said. “It’s a matter of training. It’s a matter of culture. It’s a matter of philosophy and commitment.”

Isaac’s user conference drew fleet managers from across Canada and the United States. The company hosted the event over the course of two days with a French-language program on Nov. 15 and presentations in English on Nov. 16.

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