Road Test: Trace at the LA Auto Show

Concur labs was spotted at the L.A. Auto Show’s Connected Car Expo as a finalist in Ford’s Developer Program with its newest innovation – Trace.


During Ford’s Hackathon at CTIA in Las Vegas, we took a look at major pain points for Concur’s customer, and found that logging Mileage expenses was an area that was relatively untouched. Sure, filing the expense once completed is much easier with Concur, but tracking mileage throughout the day is a nightmare.



To really get a feel for mileage, I set up an account to track and expense mileage using Concur and set off to play the role of a business traveler for a day. It went something like this:



I started up my car in the morning and snapped an image of my Odometer and drove from Bellevue, WA to SeaTac Airport. I picked up a colleague, then frantically tried to snap a photo of the odometer before we took off to a meeting. Needless to say, there were many more of these trips.



Finally home and done for the day, it’s 6:13pm. I now had 7 odometer images, which means 6 expenses to file. Except that I made 7 trips and forgot to snap one of the images! That’s okay, I’ll just add a comment explaining the mishap. Now just to open my maps app and screenshot 7 different routes. Here we go!



Expense number 1: The date is prefilled, that’s nice. Now to attach the odometer reading images and the map image. Filling in the City, and now “From” and “To” being addresses, that was a bit tedious. Okay, now mileage, no problem (thank goodness I wasn’t in Canada, because the Km to Miles conversion wouldn’t be fun!) And now the receipt status is selected, and I’m done!



Oh wait, I’ve got 6 more of these to do… And you’re lucky enough to have me press the fast forward button and tell you that when I finished it was 6:41. Now with my reimbursement rate, I netted $49.81, so it was still worth the time. Thankfully these were long trips because at 4 minutes per expense, I won’t be filling anything under 10 miles.



Day Two, mileage with Trace. I got in my car, made half a dozen trips again, and went home. No mileage images, no pausing, just focus on the day. I got home and my phone buzzed with a push notification from Trace asking me to reconcile my trips for the day. I knew today was all business so within the push notification, I clicked business, and I was done.



I opened Concur and found a new Expense Report with all of my mileage expenses done. I had start location and finish location, city and distance prefilled. What is more, in my receipts, I had map images showing my route. What took me 28 minutes on Day One, took literally two seconds on Day Two. That is the power of Trace.



How is this possible? Because of Connected Car technology, we’re able to track trips with GPS, distinguish what a leg of a journey is with ignition readings, and allow the user to determine what legs of the day are designated as “business”, and which are “personal” – which we’ll discard completely.



This is just one innovation Concur Labs has concocted using the latest technology available to give our users their time back. We let the computers do the computing so you can focus on your day during work, and focus on your life after hours. That vision brought us to L.A. to the Connected Car Expo, and we continue to work on it today.


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