Isaac Instruments CEO highlights year of challenges and successes

The trucking industry has faced a challenging year, but Isaac Instruments can point to achievements including a rapidly expanding team and some of Canada’s first certified electronic logging devices (ELDs).

“We feel like we finally can move forward. We feel the momentum. We can go back to business. Somehow there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it is not an oncoming train,” said co-founder and CEO Jacques DeLarochelliere, in a speech to open the company’s sixth annual user conference.

Jacques DeLarochelliere
Isaac CEO Jacques DeLarochelliere and the business added more than 50 employees to the business team in the first six months of this year. (File photo: Isaac Instruments)

The Isaac OnTheGo Version 5.07.21298.3 application on the Isaac InControl Android tablet was added to Transport Canada’s list of certified devices on Monday, joining Version 5.07.21275.1, which was certified just over a month ago.

While this means the ELDs meet a related mandate’s underlying technical standards, the 450 test cases used in the certification process didn’t account for Isaac’s high degree of automation. That added to the certification timelines.

“We don’t make the rules. We don’t decide the dates. But we have to make the lives of drivers much easier,” DeLarochelliere said, referring to the need to offer the automation. Required Isaac Instruments ELD updates will also occur over the air, and not require any hardware changes.

“It did slow down Isaac during all of 2021,” he said of the certification process.

“It is time to go back to our normal innovation velocity.”

The last year also marked Isaac’s first system outage in four years, even though it represented just 1% of equipped trucks. The cause was an update relating to a third-party app, and the fix was deployed within 24 hours, DeLarochelliere stressed.

“Trust is not a matter of perfection. It’s a matter of response,” he said.

“We went through our humbling experiences, and we make sure we don’t forget them.”

And with live events just beginning to return to the industry’s calendar, he is only now beginning to meet face to face with some of the 50-plus employees added to the team in the first six months of the year. “Some of my colleagues are either taller or shorter than they seem on Zoom,” he quipped.

The industry will face other challenges in the year to come, though.

Plans to phase out 3G wireless networks in the U.S. “comes at the worst possible time”, DeLarochelliere said, referring to how the sunsetting is happening in the midst of a semiconductor shortage. And it’s happening against the backdrop of other ongoing trucking industry challenges such as labor shortages, nuclear verdicts, rising fuel costs, and cyberattacks.

But he also assured an online audience that Isaac is taking a measured approach to business growth. It is “not burning some investor’s cash” or trading customer data to boost revenue, he said.

“Isaac is weathering the storm with the trucking industry.”

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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