February 25, 2019

The History of Lytx and Its Innovations in Driver Safety

Founded in 1998, Lytx is a supplier of video telematics, analytics, safety and productivity solutions for commercial and public sector fleets. The company has offices in its home city of San Diego, but their East Coast headquarters are in Framingham. 

We connected with the company to learn more about their history and how they have developed the technology over the last two decades. Lytx also went into detail about who some of the customers are what their experiences have been.

Also, Lytx is hiring! Click here for all of the company’s job openings.

What was the a-ha moment that led to the creation of the Lytx?

It was a combination of three things, really. The first was a road rage incident that made our founder wish for video evidence of the event. The second one was the 1997 crash that killed Princess Diana in Paris, and third was the effort to understand the root cause of the 1998 crash of SwissAir Flight 111, whose recovery efforts and investigation cost $38 million.

Lytx’s founder thought that while the two high-profile crashes were tragic, causing hundreds of fatalities, it paled in comparison to the loss of 41,501 fatalities on U.S. roads in 1998. Lytx was founded on the idea that a black box recorder could be used to identify the root causes of traffic collisions in much the same way it can pinpoint the root causes of airplane crashes. What’s more, it could be used to avoid such catastrophes in the future. 

The result was DriveCam, a driver recording system that provided data from driving-related incidents and offered insight into driver behavior and other factors that contribute to collisions on U.S. roads. 

Where did the name come from?

The name Lytx is a play on the term “analytics.” At our founding, the company was called DriveCam, Inc., in honor of our flagship product. That was fine in the late ‘90s and early 2000s when our brand was in its infancy. But as our offerings and business model diversified over time to more fully address the operational needs of our clients, we felt it was time for our name to evolve, too. In November of 2013, we adopted the name Lytx to better reflect the critical role analytics plays in providing a market-leading solution for clients. In the years since then, analytics has become all the more integral to the outcomes we help our clients achieve. Our name helps tell the story of what we do here.

What are some of the core problems Lytx is solving through its technology?

Using video telematics to create safer roads and prevent collisions lies at the heart of everything we do. Most of our clients aim to create safer drivers for their organizations so they can protect lives and reduce injuries, and secondly, cut costs and reduce damage to their vehicles. To help our clients meet those goals, Lytx’s safety technology helps bring about a change in driver behavior through one-on-one, timely coaching that can transform unsafe driving habits for good. As a managed service, we help our clients make sense of their data so they can understand where to focus their energies in the quickest, most effective ways.

Helping commercial fleet managers focus on the right locations, the right drivers, the right coaches, and the right target behaviors at the right time matters. Our safety technologies, powered by video telematics, help our clients narrow their focus so they can reach a higher level of safety.

But commercial fleets are beginning to look beyond safety to telematics tools that can propel them toward greater efficiency, too. In response to that, we’ve created video telematics programs like our newest product, Lytx Video Services, that can help them get there. Fleets want to use video to provide proof of service, contest worker’s compensation claims, or prevent cargo theft. And Lytx Video Services puts them in position to do all of that.  

How have the company and its solutions evolved over the years?

In its first decade, Lytx perfected the use of video in capturing and preventing collisions. In its second decade, it did that at scale for clients so that it was efficient for them to ensure the safety of drivers, reduce fleet expenses and lower collision costs. The next decade will center on machine learning, machine vision, and expanding the use of video to achieve several goals related to fleet operations.

Right now, two things are changing. Driving insights are changing video, and video telematics is changing to transcend safety, moving toward the many ways you can do use the machine vision platform. If you look forward to the next 10 years, people won’t just be using video for driver safety. They’ll be using video to achieve any number of operational benefits.

These advancements are a far cry from Lytx’s earliest days when video event recorders were assembled in a back room and employees were asked to wear multiple hats. Through it all, though, one thing hasn’t changed. We’re still motivated by the concept of continuously innovating for our clients. Our clients’ needs have played a vital role in our metamorphosis. They’ve helped fuel our innovation and investment for as long as we’ve been in business, and that’s not going to change.

Who are your customers? Any examples you can offer?

Our customers are commercial transportation fleets. They run the gamut from construction and distribution fleets to those in trucking, waste and services. While our customers span various transportation sectors and often have drastically different needs, they all have one thing in common: the desire to use innovative technological solutions to solve complex problems. Through video telematics, we help them solve their unique challenges, improve the unsafe habits of their drivers and minimize their risk on the road.  Lytx’s clients include:

  • 10 of the top 15 for-hire, less-than-truckload and truckload carriers

  • 10 of the top 15 food-product distribution companies 

  • 9 of the top 15 transit and railroad companies

  • 9 of the top 15 concrete companies  

  • 9 of the largest cities and federal agencies

  • 7 of the top 15 largest propane distribution and gas distribution companies

  • 6 of the top 15 waste, disposal and recycling companies

  • 5 of the top 15 utility companies

Here are a few of our clients:

  • Wal-Mart Stores Inc. – World’s largest retailer; #1 on Fortune 500 list

  • Orange County Sheriff’s Office – Law-enforcement agency serving Florida’s fifth-most-populous county

  • U.S. Xpress Inc. – Largest privately held trucking fleet in North America

  • Albertsons Companies – One of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States

  • Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated – The largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in the United States

  • McNichols Construction (Holdings) – A leading infrastructure services provider in the U.K.

  • Alsa Grupo (National Express Group) – The leading operator in the Spanish sector of passenger transport by road

  • CRST International – One of the nation's largest truckload and logistics groups

  • Hermes Parcelnet Ltd – One of the U.K.’s largest parcel delivery companies

  • Dupre Logistics – A privately held, asset-based provider of transportation and logistics 

  • Roehl Transport – One of the largest trucking companies in North America 

  • Cardinal Logistics Management Corporation – One of the largest, integrated logistics and dedicated transportation services in the U.S. and Canada

  • USA Truck – One of the nation’s largest over-the-road truckload carriers

Any (non-specific) growth numbers you can share?

In March 2018, Lytx announced it was the first company in the history of video telematics to sell 300,000 new subscriptions over a three-year period, reaching half a million total subscriptions, more than any other video telematics company in the world.

Lytx's flagship DriveCam® video telematics safety program now protects more than 850,000 drivers.

Can you share the details on the size of your company in terms of employees and any growth plans?

Lytx is a global company with corporate headquarters in San Diego and offices in Boston and Brookfield, WI. We have more than 400 employees in our San Diego headquarters.

Keith Cline is the Founder of VentureFizz.  Follow him on Twitter: @kcline6.

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