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Ebbon Group to develop new fleet solutions under Innovation think tank

A new think tank and product incubator is now in place at Ebbon Group to develop solutions to issues faced in the fleet sector.

Ebbon Innovation product manager Charles Isles said customer input would remain at the heart of the development work

Dubbed Ebbon Innovation (EI), it serves a key role as Oxford-based Ebbon Group’s new vehicle for research, experimentation and innovation in the fleet market, seeking to address the next real-world problems and turn them quickly into open-market solutions.

The new unit has its own seed capital investment and will be able to draw on the expertise of the business and developments teams across the Ebbon Group, which also includes Derby-based licence checking and driver risk management specialist, Licence Check.

EI product manager Charles Isles commented: “The EI team consists of a group of individuals with years of experience in the automotive and software market both in the UK and international markets.”

The unit was initially unveiled at the group’s annual user conference earlier in the year and has already begun work on evaluating future potential products and technologies.

One of its first projects is research into where state-of-the-art ‘machine learning’ techniques could potentially be applied within the wider industry.

This has also included looking at what new start-ups are working on in fields outside the automotive sector and evaluating if, and where, such capabilities could be used in the automotive space.

EI’s chief product officer Sarah Alexander said that the new unit would not be selling consultancy but would be focused on tangible solutions to fleet issues.

“Our remit is to develop commercially viable products that allow users to tackle a specific set of problems and issues,” she said.

“Behind the scenes we will have a validation process in place that assesses whether a product or solution might be commercially viable and successful going forward.

“We are interested in having conversations with people, be they existing clients or not, regarding problems they can’t readily find a solution to, or processes they can’t make fit, with a degree of open-mindedness,” she said.

And customer insight will remain at the heart of the work.

Charles Isles added: “While we’re developing an idea into a product, we’ll keep our committed customers very close to the design process, so that the first public version of the product delivers.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.