Omniplus: Digitalisation and connectivity for maximum reliability and transparency

  • Omniplus On: digital services - four pillars for maximum availability, fleet management, driver support and replacement parts procurement
  • For the first time on the bus market: New online vehicle data interface offers the opportunity to link to external systems

All-round service for all buses of the Mercedes-Benz and Setra brands: that has long been the promise of Omniplus, the service brand of Daimler Buses. With more than 600 Service Support Points in Europe, Omniplus is a Europe-wide and bus-specific service network. Innovative services are continually being added to the scope on offer. The new Omniplus On portal integrates existing and new digital services. Customers of the current model variants of the Mercedes‑Benz Citaro, eCitaro and CapaCity, the current Mercedes‑Benz Tourismo and all Setra touring coaches from the ComfortClass 500 and TopClass 500 model series currently already benefit from Omniplus On. From this year, all of these buses have been equipped as standard with the "Bus Data Center" telematics box.

Omniplus On: four pillars for maximum availability, fleet management and replacement parts procurement

The digital service portal Omniplus On is based on four integrated pillars which are optimally networked with each other:

  • "Omniplus On advance" ensures that bus companies enjoy maximum availability of their fleet, for example thanks to the Omniplus Uptime service, or optimum service transparency with its own service routines.
  • "Omniplus On monitor" combines modern telematics services for efficient, cross-manufacturer fleet management and helps to assess the driving style of the individual drivers.
  • "Omniplus On drive" efficiently assists the driver, from the prescribed daily departure checks to remote control of individual components on the bus.
  • "Omniplus On commerce" enables bus companies to purchase spare and replacement parts or digital services in the Omniplus eShop quickly and in a targeted manner at any time of the day.

The unique dynamism of the Omniplus service brand is something we also show the outside world. This is why Busworld visitors can experience Omniplus in a new visual appearance. Even if the technology intensification and look have progressed: the expertise and reliability remain.

Omniplus On advance: Omniplus Uptime keeps the bus running

Only if a bus is on the road it can earn money and optimally perform its duties. This ideal state of affairs for the entrepreneur is secured by the Omniplus Uptime service, which proactively to some extend thinks ahead, – with digital intelligence. Omniplus Uptime creates transparency about the technical condition of the fleet, ensures maximum planning security, prevents unwanted downtime and thus overall ensures significantly increased vehicle availability.

The data are continually analysed and proactively interpreted on a Daimler server in Europe. If an acute need for repair or maintenance work becomes apparent, the information is automatically transmitted to the bus company in one of four appropriately visual escalation stages and, depending on the urgency, also transmitted to the authorised Service Support Point.

If there should nevertheless ever be a risk of downtime as a result of an acute technical malfunction, the customer is contacted by the Omniplus 24h Service in a timely manner and also appropriately informed via the Omniplus On portal. Associated with that are a specific set of qualified recommendations for action. If required, Omniplus can search for a workshop and organise the repair work.

Omniplus On monitor: modern telematics services for extensive fleet management

Only companies or dispatchers who keep their fleet in check right down to the fine details can enjoy the greatest efficiency. Omniplus On monitor is the daily tool for fleet managers who want to keep a constant eye on their vehicle and driver data. A new feature is a remote interface for the vehicle data, which for the first time is not physically in the vehicle, but virtually implemented as an API interface ("Application Programming Interface") in the "backend" of the Daimler data cloud.

Individual services provide an overview of the fleet

Specific free basic services already provide fleet managers with numerous items of useful information, ensuring maximum transparency within the vehicle fleet. These services identify, for example, the potential the bus fleet has for saving fuel, using the current consumption figures and driving styles or the tracking services which show the fleet's location in real time.

Dual assessment of the driver's style of driving

With the dual driving style assessment, fleet managers can look over their drivers' shoulders discreetly and effectively. This serves to provide a realistic basis for analysis with an aim to reduce both fuel consumption and wear on the vehicle, as well as to increase the safety of passengers on board. The driving style assessment analyses the individual driving style with regard to an efficient (Eco Score) and safe (Safety Score) driving style and indicates the potential need for training. Exclusively for Mercedes‑Benz and Setra buses, for the first time the Safety Score is being offered, evaluating important parameters for a safe driving style of the driver, which is crucial when transporting passengers.

Tracking services

The fee-based location services ensure complete transparency about the position of the fleet's vehicles. These services allow the location and the previously covered route of all buses to be called up at any time. The locating intervals are very tightly scheduled at two seconds specifically for buses, enabling current monitoring of the buses at all times. With the aid of Geofence geographical vehicle monitoring, businesses can control and monitor the entry into and departure from pre-defined geographical zones, and thus inform maintenance and cleaning personnel, for example, as the bus approaches the depot.

Operations planning

Operations planning provides businesses with an online route planner which has everything to offer that a bus company or dispatchers need in their daily planning activities. On the other side of the portal, in the driver-related section On drive, these data are also clearly displayed on various mobile end devices.

Time management

On every operation with the driver card, companies benefit from progressive "Time management". With the driver card download and mass storage download of the digital tachographs, businesses can call up data directly from the vehicle, irrespective of its current location. Current driving and rest times are also visible here.

Performance monitoring of vehicles and fleet

For the entry into the innovative world of telematics at Daimler Buses, Omniplus On offers a free service bundle at fleet level under the designation "Performance Monitoring". Besides consumption data for conventionally powered buses, this bundle also includes values about the charging status or the remaining range of the new fully-electric Mercedes-Benz eCitaro.

Legally prescribed departure checks and individual checks can be individually set up and managed with the aid of the "Status of vehicle checks" feature.

Omniplus On drive: mobile control centre for the driver

Omniplus On has its eye on businesses, fleet managers and drivers alike, and this becomes really clear in Omniplus On drive. Numerous functions support the driver in a very targeted way in this module. Fundamental vehicle parameters can be viewed in the "My Bus" web app, which is fully integrated into the portal, and can be operated anywhere via the internet and with all end devices.

These parameters encompass, for example, the pressure of every single tyre, diesel and AdBlue fill levels, the axle loads and a check of the exterior lighting and of the door/flap status. The driver can call up these values on the smartphone via an app in a clear digital "Driver Dashboard" in the portal, which is restricted to the main functions and can be optimally operated as a standard screen on the end device. A "silent emergency call" will also soon be offered here, with which the driver will be able to inform headquarters without the passengers noticing and becoming worried. In the Dashboard downtime can also be reported to headquarters at any time. At a second stage of development, active control functions will also be available in Omniplus On drive: it will then be possible to control the heating, ventilation and the interior lighting even from the hotel or also by the dispatcher at headquarters. The bus will then be optimally preconditioned at all times.

Vehicle condition at a glance

Optimum info available at all times: proof of maintenance, interactive digital Operating Instructions ("Bus Guides") and Supplements from Mercedes‑Benz and Setra buses can be called up in the On drive section "Vehicle technology". Alongside the standardised maintenance documents, individual documents can also be stored here as a pdf file.

As part of the departure check, Omniplus On drive guides the bus driver through the legally prescribed tests using a checklist. This means that each point has to be documented and worked through. The driver can note down problems or damage and take a photo of them before sending these together with the protocol back to the company.

Operations planning and info always to hand

In the Omniplus On drive section "MyTrip" drivers are shown their individual operations directly, planned in detail by the dispatcher in On monitor. They actively accept them here, they are guided from point to point and are also shown the route on their Dashboard in the Web App. It goes without saying that the legal driving and rest times are also taken into account and clearly displayed on the route shown.

Omniplus On commerce: the online sales platform for all aspects of the bus

The Omniplus OnlineParts Shop has always been a pioneer in the industry. As of September 2019 it will be replaced by the Omniplus eShop and it will be available in the On commerce section in the Omniplus On Portal.

The new Omniplus eShop offers the entire parts range for the Mercedes-Benz and Setra brands. As the system is fully incorporated into the Omniplus On customer portal it already knows the orderer's individual fleet: the correct parts for the vehicle selected are shown to the orderer in the Quick Collect section and can simply be confirmed.

During the ordering process the user can see directly whether the replacement parts are in stock in the required quantity at the Service Support Point. Also, employees will no longer need to traipse around from the workshop to the computer in the office with their little scrap of paper for an order – Omniplus eShop can now also be operated via a smartphone or tablet. Using the extended algorithms of the Omniplus On Portal, the eShop will become increasingly intelligent in future.

Omniplus On commerce also offers much more than the right part at the right time. Since the beginning of 2019 it has been possible to directly book digital services, such as Omniplus Uptime, online. In future further products and services will be bookable via On commerce. The roll-out of the Omniplus eShop will take place in September in the markets of the 14 subsidiaries in Europe and will then be successively extended.

New Omniplus online vehicle data interface offers the opportunity to link to external systems

Digitalisation in the automotive sector is one of the key enablers for future technologies and improved service offers. With the bundling of digital services on the Omniplus On platform in 2018 an integrated basis for further innovations was created.

Now Daimler Buses is going one step further and with the extended virtual data interface it is also creating the prerequisites for the vehicle data in the Daimler cloud to be used for third parties' applications via a defined API ("Application Programming Interface"). This also includes fault codes and diagnosis logs. – a big advantage for the staff responsible for customer maintenance. From the first quarter of 2020 three different data packets will be bookable for a monthly usage fee via the Omniplus On Signal Store on the Omniplus On Portal in the "On commerce" section. Through this data packets vehicle data will be available for use for third parties. The prerequisite for this is installation of the Bus Data Center, which is being installed in all touring coaches and the all-electric Mercedes-Benz eCitaro as standard and in other city buses as an option. The number and availability of the data points depends on the vehicle equipment.

The data packages are available for the first time via a "remote" data interface, i.e. without a physical connector coupling – which makes it easier for the customer to network vehicles conveniently and simply.  There are either "Secure Web Sockets" (WSS), via which the data can be transferred in real time, or historical data, which can be called up for the last 14 days via a standardised REST interface. This twin-track approach makes it possible to use highly integrated real‑time services, as required in ITCS systems for support with operation control, depot management and route planning.

For instance, at ESWE Wiesbaden, which placed one of the biggest orders for electric buses in Europe in early 2019, the advanced IVU systems are being incorporated within the framework of Daimler Buses' general contractor position. In principle, vehicle data can be integrated into all external providers' systems.

Premium data security

The security of customer data has top priority for all Omniplus On digital services. Several firewalls secure the data in the cloud and safeguard the systems' backend against unauthorised access by third parties. It goes without saying that all data are stored on European Daimler servers and are subject to the European Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The user can rely on the utmost level of security.

New functionalities bring clear added value

This means that significantly more data points are available in addition to the previous FMS 4.0 Standard ("Fleet Management System Standard"), which is standard in all Mercedes‑Benz and Setra buses since the production date July 2019. Depending on the customer's individual requirements, these data points can be analysed in order to generate new use cases and services, which can come about, for example, from linking these customer data with ITCS and other systems that are already being used by customers.

In the first quarter of 2020, Daimler will be providing three highly developed services in the form of Omniplus On SignalStore in the Omniplus On portal, which can be booked individually for every vehicle
on a monthly basis:

  • Data package “rFMS” with around 250 data points in the categories warning displays, drivetrain, doors and flaps, vehicle information, suspension and wheels plus vehicle battery and operating materials. The advantage for the customer here is above all efficient fleet management for conventionally driven vehicles.
  • Data package “plus” with around 250 data points more than FMS 4.0, including high-voltage on-board electrical systems, heating, ventilation, climate control and extended GPS data. The advantage for the customer here is efficient fleet management and implementation of charging strategies for electrically driven vehicles.
  • Data package “diagnostic”, which provides various diagnostic data at the remote interface, as well as quick tests in a machine-readable format and as a PDF document, which could previously only be read out via the Daimler "Xentry Diagnosis". This enables the customer to gain optimum transparency about service and maintenance requirements and can therefore accelerate ad hoc error correction.

With these new data packages Omniplus On is opening up a new horizon of possibilities regarding digitalisation, which not only significantly increase the operational safety and reliability of a company's fleet, but also facilitate new business models and networking with standardised control software from other providers. This sees Daimler Buses taking a ground-breaking step into the digital future of service.

Omniplus 24h Service is available for you 365 days of the year

The digitalisation also supports the traditional services of the Omniplus service brand. Should a bus experience a breakdown in spite of all this technology, the Omniplus 24h Service is available to you around the clock in conjunction with one of our ServiceCards. Card holders/customers can access the service at any time via a free hotline on 00800 40 20 40 20 or online in the Omniplus On Portal all over Europe, for which there are also support offers available here.

Omniplus ServiceCard and ServiceContracts: step-by-step service

Customers purchasing new vehicles from Mercedes-Benz and Setra Buses have access to the Omniplus ServiceCard Premium for two years free of charge. Companies who don't need all of the comprehensive services the package has to offer, can select the ServiceCard Basic. It is valid for six years and also includes the Basic Mobility Package.

Companies who value the optimum technical condition of their fleet at fixed, predictable costs have various service contracts at their disposal. The BasicPlus package includes all necessary maintenance jobs as well as selected wear repairs. The Premium Package of the Service Contract additionally includes all further repairs to the vehicle, excluding tyre replacement or damage caused by external force. The Omniplus Uptime services are also already included here at no extra cost.

Genuine replacement parts now also directly from the printer

As a manufacturing brand, Omniplus Genuine Parts for Mercedes‑Benz and Setra are full-fledged series-production parts in original quality. Meanwhile, Genuine Remanufactured Parts promise to save you money, but don't scrimp on quality. Since 2016 Omniplus has also been using the advantages of 3D printing.

The Omniplus Team is currently scrutinising more than 30,000 bus replacement parts for their feasibility as 3D printed parts, and 200 have already been approved for printing. Each 3D component can be retroactively ordered by the customer using the specific part number. Even decades later, it will be available worldwide in the digital warehouse which in future is to be integrated in Omniplus On commerce.

BestAge Repair: keeping ageing buses in good shape

Sooner or later, buses which have been hard at work for many years require repairs and freshening up procedures so that they retain their value, but these should not cost the earth. To this end, Omniplus offers the BestAge Repair service programme with measures appropriate to the current residual value of the vehicle. This includes Genuine Parts for older model series as well as Genuine Remanufactured Parts as an affordable replacement option for wear-and-tear parts. Maintaining residual value can also be guaranteed by freshening up the interior with new materials and seat upholstery, or by sorting out issues with the cockpit using Omniplus SmallRepair - the affordable way to have minor damage and imperfections professionally rectified.

Omniplus Training – the right training courses for every task

Further training for drivers and training for workshop employees round off the services which Omniplus offers. As of 2019 experienced and qualified trainers share their knowledge at the new training site in Wüschheim (in the Hunsrück region of Germany), which has all the necessary facilities. In 2018, Omniplus Safety Training celebrated its 25th year of existence. Since 1993 more than 19,000 drivers have been trained – a real safety boon for all road users. The latest offerings in accordance with the German professional driver qualification (BKrQG) are available in required modules for the transportation of people with restricted mobility/in the technical section of training for high-voltage work on the fully electric Mercedes‑Benz eCitaro.

BusStore: customised used buses

Purchasing used vehicles is a matter of trust – particularly in the bus sector: founded in 2013, BusStore has pooled all the activities of Mercedes-Benz and Setra connected with used buses and can look back on five successful years. Characteristic features of BusStore include the vehicle pool with several hundred used buses all over Europe and unique solutions from careful inspection and preparation of used buses, through transparent classification in the categories Gold, Silver and Bronze to guarantees and services. BusStore markets around 2000 buses per annum in this way. In 2018 Support Points in Zagreb/Croatia, Bratislava/ Slovakia, Budapest/Hungary and Cesis/Latvia were set up. BusStore has also extended its presence in France by including Albi north-east of Toulouse. BusStore is now represented at 19 locations in Europe.

BusStore is already planning the next expansion with a second wave. Prospective buyers can now discover their bus of choice throughout Europe, not just on location in their own country.

In addition to personal contact or a search query, the homepage http://www.busstore.com/ available in 20 languages also facilitates this. 

Further press material of the Busworld Europe in Brussels is available here: d.ai/BusworldEurope2019

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