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Mobile Dealer Data Enables Dealerships To Save And Make Money

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Mobile Dealer Data enables the tracking of assets, as well as the analysis of how to make a business more efficient, effective and ultimately, more profitable by using the Internet of Things concept. Below is our interview with Colin McElhatton, President at Mobile Dealer Data:


Q: Where did the concept of Mobile Dealer Data begin?

A: The concept came from my 13 years in the retail automotive business. I was presented with the same issue time and time again – the inability to find keys and cars in a timely manner. When I am presented with issues or problems, I look for simple, permanent solutions. In this case, I came up with a technological solution that was effective and affordable.

Q: Tell us more about the company and your history

A: I grew up in Minneapolis, MN, where MDD’s offices are. I became a marine in 2001 and when I left the Corp I was offered a job at a car dealership and eventually became General Sales Manager at a leading Audi store. I was fortunate to find a business partner (MDD’s CTO) who is an exceptional technologist and PhD developer. After a lot of testing and beta designs, we created a Bluetooth solution, and are first to market with this technology.

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Q: Could you explain the function and advantages of your flagship “We Find Keys & Cars™” technology?

A: The business function is to generate data that, when analyzed, will optimize business practices. The need was to make the system as simple as possible. One puts a Bluetooth beacon on anything that one wants to track. Our Bluetooth readers listen for beacons’ unique signals and track the asset’s location in real time. This time stamped information is sent to our cloud servers (Amazon Web Services). Then the data is calculated within our proprietary algorithms system. The user can then use a smartphone, tablet or desktop, to access this analyzed information. The data is presented on our Dealer Portal, including location of the assets (cars, keys and more) in a second.

The advantages of MDD’s Internet of Things capabilities are many:

  • Generating automated real time, time stamped asset data
  • Instantaneous automated asset locating
  • Real time, time stamped asset movement tracking
  • Automated asset alerts for security
  • Asset prediction
  • Additional asset data quantification based on key performance indicators

MDD’s advantages enable dealerships to save and make money by increasing sales by speed to customer, reducing staff unapplied time, maximizing service hour billing, increasing process efficiency, thus increasing profit and maximizing revenue potential by improving business practices.

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Q: How does a dealer implement We Find Keys & Cars?

A: It’s a turnkey installation. MDD works with the partner to configure the system to meet their business goals. The initial conversation is what they want to track and where. Because there is not cable to be laid, servers to buy or any infrastructure to build, installation is easy. We install our equipment and train the dealership’s staff – before we leave the premises, the system is already improving processes.

Q: What does it cost?

A: The average 400-car dealership is between $9,995 and $15,000 fully installed. The variables that impact the initial investment are: adding tracking keys, no power at poles (MDD offers solar power), number and size of lots and tracking by zones or triangulation.

We do offer a zero down financing option that allows a dealer to stretch the investment over 24-36 months. This monthly payment can be divided and allocated to different departments – new, pre-owned and service – making it more affordable. With this flexible financing option, dealers can have We Find Keys & Cars for less than $500 per each of the three key departments’ monthly budgets. The payments can also be a capital depreciation.

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Q: Is MDD up and running with customers?

A: Yes, and growing. We were fortunate to have a great initial partner in Longo Toyota’s Mark Seipel, Penske Motor Group’s Fixed Operations Director. Mark presented us with unique challenges that helped us refine and perfect our technology. With his requirements and insights, “We Find Keys & Cars” became an even more highly functional system. We Find Keys & Cars is successfully installed at dealerships of every size across the country, with Canada on the horizon.

Q: What is priority #1 of the business?

A: MDD’s #1 priority is to generate actionable data in order to optimize business processes. This is done in the context of our partners’ business goals and how data can be analyzed and applied to assist our partners in saving and making money.

Q: What are your plans for the next six months?

A: We have four main goals:

  • Reach our revenue sales objectives of 300% growth in 2016
  • Expand our marketing to tell the MDD and IoT Drive stories through social media and more
  • Ongoing product development to leverage our market-leading technology to new product extensions
  • Achieve new investment to take IoT Drive into three new markets (beyond mobile assets with keys)
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