When the news broke earlier this month that as of October all new or replacement brake testing equipment to be used in the MOT scheme for either new applicants or to replace older equipment in existing testing stations would have to be “connected” we, not surprisingly, got lots of phone calls from existing and prospective customers as to what exactly did the DVSA’s notification mean.
What is connected equipment?
Connected equipment is an idea to remove the testers reporting of certain MOT functions and transfer that capability into the physical MOT equipment itself.
It is rolled out on 1st October for Roller Brake Testers and then other items of equipment including headlight testers, emissions analysers and decelerometers will come online over the next 12 months or so.
In simple terms, when the test has been completed, a button is pressed on the “connected” equipment and all the acquired data is automatically sent to the DVSA through your VTS device. In other words the technology will eliminate the need for the tester to type in and upload the test data.
The information contained within the data ‘parcel’ includes the VTS number of the station, make, model and registration of the vehicle as well as the result itself. It isn’t “big brother looking over you” as some have implied.
The specification, as drawn up between the DVSA & GEA, envisages two ways under which the system might operate. The first would be to have a single PC type terminal servicing the entire bay as a proxy which then communicates by sending the entire set of test data in a single button press.
The alternative solution discussed allows the individual equipment to talk directly to the system without the need for a local proxy but we see this as less likely as it will require more PC’s in the testing bay.
How will this speed up the test?
This could speed the test up since the data is acquired automatically from the equipment meaning that the tester does not need to walk to the device enter the result manually – saving 30 seconds to a minute and maybe a few minutes per test eventually.
How will this overcome / reduce fraud?
This wiĺl overcome some key areas of concern for the DVSA.
Some fraudulent use of the DVSA’s own systems had previously been identified for e.g. with testers issuing test certificates when not actually on testing premises.
It has become apparent, from recent news reports of a Bristol based tester having issued test certificates from laybys, that anyone with a pin card had the potential access to any VTS on which they are currently appointed.
Under the new connected system, the data can only be transferred from the VTS location itself thus eliminating this type of “remote” fraud – however it does not and can not eliminate all potential fraud opportunities within a VTS.
The ramifications of these changes are far reaching and potentially damaging to some areas.
The change effectively spells the beginning of the end for the second hand MOT equipment market as it is not envisaged that older analogue systems will be capable of a retro-fit upgrade should manufacturers even go down the route of having a retro-fit kit to suit older products.
As for selling your business with an existing MOT station attached? In older, non-connected premises, the value of the business being sold as a going concern would be diminished as any new owner would have to apply to run that same station with the new “Connected” equipment. Not exactly what you might want to hear given the difficulties in building a viable business to a position where is is saleable.
Of course progress is essential, but one does wonder why this rule does not apply to motorcycle premises or how these different operating systems can possible work in parallel before someone challenges the philosophy that “if the old system is good enough for them, why is it not good enough for me?”
All in all, this could be the start of a potentially very costly period for MOT garages but if you a glass half full person then it offers a great opportunity to invest in the new equipment and get “ahead of the game” as this step-change is implemented.
GETECH supply MOT bays & equipment for all vehicle classes. As a manufacturer within the MOT scheme we are perfectly positioned to remain abridged of current and future known legislation. With a design ethos for total modularity, our equipment is some of the most flexible currently available in the UK.
For more information on GETECH call during office hours, visit http://getech.org.uk or mail firstname.lastname@example.org.