Doctor of Diagnostics

His background in the practicalities of field service has equipped Gus Belanszky with a unique skill set and understanding of the needs of both operators and technicians.

Early in his career Gus Belanszky was a plant mechanic with a specialisation in road making equipment such as asphalt paving machines and profilers, which at the time were becoming increasingly sophisticated in areas such as hydraulics and electronics.

The experience of often working on-site ensured Gus became self-reliant, as in those times there was no way to ‘Google’ information and frequently his only reference material was a battered technical manual.

Gus went on to join Hino in 2007 as the Regional Service Manager for Queensland and subsequently was tasked with other service and technical roles within the company and in 2020 became responsible for the Hino Customer Support Centre. Gus was appointed General Manager – Service and Customer Support for Hino Australia in January 2021.

Gus has been closely involved with, and is enthusiastic about, the development of Hino-Connect which is the manufacturer’s next generation of vehicle telematics and includes real-time performance data tracking coupled with remote diagnosis of vehicle faults, which is now standard equipment on the all-new Hino 700 Series trucks.

“The operators of the Hino 700 Series are probably the market which has a good understanding of telematics and have a greater use for the system,” says Gus.

“But we didn’t just want to do telematics as we already had something out there in the form of Hino-Traq. We wanted to look at how to better support the customers and reduce their downtime, and we also wanted to create a direct link to Head Office.”

Hino-Connect is an Australian-built and designed system which communicates directly with the driver via the truck’s dash-mounted multimedia unit, and delivers comprehensive levels of data to fleet managers through an online portal and app.

“More than just a mapping or tracking tool, Hino-Connect delivers 700 Series customers real-time insights into the operation of their fleets,” says Gus.

“In an Australian-first, Hino-Connect will allow direct communications with drivers through the multimedia Audio Visual and Navigation unit (AVN).”

Telematics have become more important than ever in recent years as the growth in driver ‘hot seating’ and changeovers had led to less frequent direct contact between the drivers and fleet managers. It’s impressive that the Hino-Connect system and accompanying software has been 100 per cent developed in Australia.

Hino partnered with Melbourne-based Directed Electronics and, with the support of an array of usable information provided by Hino in Japan, has been able to access data from the vehicles at a higher level than any non-genuine telematics provider is capable of.

“We’re doing things like reading fuel consumption direct from the Engine Control Unit so we’re not doing calculations, we’re actually getting the correct and accurate data,” says Gus.

Hino 700 Series comes with Hino-Connect.

He is delighted the new system is able to provide not just a high level of business intelligence through its analytical power, it is also able to deliver remote diagnostics by having the provision to read vehicle diagnostic error codes.

“Any time the vehicle has a fault it is recorded and reported,” Gus says. “If a vehicle has a severe fault, which is generally considered something that will de-rate the vehicle and put them on side of the road or slow them down, we can send a message directly to the AVN in the truck with a call to action for the driver. That may be to call the roadside assistance via Hino’s 24/7 call centre to arrange for someone to either come to the vehicle and repair it, or have it taken to the local dealership.”

Gus has drawn upon his own experiences in not wanting to overload the driver with endless messaging via the AVN. All fault codes, including minor ones, are logged onto the system and forwarded to the fleet manager but only the severe ones are sent to the driver.

Another practical feature of Hino-Connect is the capacity for case management. “Let’s say the vehicle has had a fault and maybe the driver is able to clear it and keeps driving and finishes their trip, then takes the truck to the dealer the next day. Our Hino-Connect Specialists at our Customer Support Centre will work with the dealer and support them in the repair,” Gus explains.

“Not that we necessarily need to get involved and help fix it but we can keep track of the repair and be the point of contact if the customer or the fleet manager wants to know the status of how their vehicle is going.”

When Hino-Connect registers a fault code it will draw the data from just before that fault occurred and by using its analytics tool, Hino can examine if there is a trend and examine the fault code such as at a certain engine temperature or vehicle speed.

The flow of detailed data will help shape servicing and repair of the current generation of Hino trucks and will also have an influence on the future.

“From a manufacturer’s point of view obviously it’s all aggregated data that we will have especially around faults,” Gus says. “It will allow us to look at any concerns or common issues.”

Hino Australia is consulting to see if there is demand for Hino-Connect in the 500 Series and the 300 Series trucks. At this stage it’s not a standard fit but will be available as an option which will suit customers who have a 700 Series and want to roll it onto their other vehicles.

Gus says the Hino-Connect system can also be configured to fleets using another telematics provider.

“We can pull the data out of a truck via our telematics hardware and provide a feed to the third-party provider and give them key data such as engine rpm’s and this means they don’t have to fit a second piece of telematics hardware,” he says.

“Before we launched Hino-Connect this was a key feature we wanted to provide to fleet businesses.”

It’s a practical and realistic position Gus takes on the wider applications of the Hino-Connect program.

“Most fleets are multi-brand and we do understand that,” he says. “There are a lot of benefits in our Hino-Connect system and in our portal with the remote diagnostics, but we also understand that some customers have a long-standing relationship where they are going to want to stick with their current telematics portal and management system.”

Customers who buy a 2021 all-new Hino 700 Series will receive five years of complimentary remote diagnostics and Hino-Connect Specialist support including vehicle engine control monitoring; severe fault alerts; and case management of fault rectification.

In addition, they will also receive 12 months of complimentary business intelligence access, which will provide in-depth operational management of their fleet including live tracking and trip analysis; fuel consumption and forecasting; vehicle performance monitoring; and maintenance support.