It's a bit of an old fashioned expression, "in the van". I think "van" is short for "vanguard", so it's saying someone or something is at the forefront, at the cutting edge, a leader, setting the pace. A book I am reading, written in 1984, says that the evolution of the human brain is speeding up rapidly and that "computers are in the van".
I don't know about you but this makes me think of a spotty IT operative who has been given the job of picking up the old busted laptops and pulling out all the useable bits. Far from its intended meaning.
And - wake up word buffs, there's more. I did notice in Wiktionary that "vanguard" came into English from French, where it had been hanging around for a while as a contraction of "avant garde".