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The data underpinning equipment and freight deliveries carries many benefits for fleets willing to integrate factory-installed telematics, service communications and fleet management solutions into a useful stream of data, experts said Oct. 22 during American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference & Exhibition.
The speakers made their comments during the session “Blueprint to the Future: Connected and Integrated Technologies.”
The goal of this fast-growing approach to handling data “is to make your life easier, reduce your total cost of ownership and not inundate you with meaningless data. Those should be your minimum expectations from advanced telematics,” said Chintan Sopariwala, vice president of aftersales operations and connected vehicle for Navistar International Corp., whose truck brand is International.
He highlighted the cost savings of advanced connectivity features such as fuel analytics, tire pressure monitoring systems, remote lock/unlock and fleet health monitoring. He pointed to predictive maintenance data as an emerging feature — for instance, with scheduling service.
“Telematics will predict performance failure well in advance” of the actual event, Sopariwala said.
That stands in contrast to what happens sometimes nowadays; a truck goes out, has a breakdown and gets towed to the dealership, said Scott Sutarik, vice president of commercial vehicle solutions for Geotab Inc., in Oakville, Ontario. “Predictive maintenance — knowing the truck will fail and getting it in for repair on a fleet’s terms — is a big jump for many fleets, something that involves a lot of change in management,” he said.
He tells fleets to keep it simple.
“The most important thing is process, and once you figure that out internally, then get more complicated,” in terms of what else is monitored this way, he said.
It’s also important to prepare for what may be coming next, Sutarik said. “The things we hear from our customers on a regular basis are electric vehicles. We are investing heavily on the light-duty side as medium-duty to larger. It’s coming, and it’s coming fast,” he said.
Investment is also being made in big data, and Geotab has 60 data scientists that improve its internal processes and management, and then work with partners on new products on data streams, he said.
“Geotab understands OEM integrations are continuing to expand, and although we have a large number of aftermarket devices, those numbers over the next five years are slowly but surely going to go down as we have more and more OEM devices feeding data [to customers],” he said.
Geotab is the world’s largest telematics service provider with 2.2 million units installed across 130 countries.
Navistar recently introduced Gateway Integrations, a collection of software integrations with several telematics and fleet management providers.
Gateway Integrations allows customers to consolidate their vehicle hardware and use a singular database to feed all their fleet management and compliance solution portals, “saving operational costs and improving data accuracy,” said Sopariwala.
Geotab is one of Navistar’s partners in Gateway Integrations
Meanwhile, the pace of other efforts to offer connected data has been increasing this year, as related announcements made in February bear out.
Volvo Trucks North America, a unit of Volvo Group, announced an analytic tool called Expert Analysis that it will put in the hands of dealers and some customers this year.
The analysis informs a fleet how its trucks are performing against an anonymous baseline, and VTNA then makes recommendations on purchase decisions.
Wabco Holdings Inc. — which in May became ZF Friedrichshafen AG’s commercial-vehicle control systems division — is leveraging the antilock-braking system units trailers already must have (if built after March 1, 1998) to create a connected trailer platform. Its TrailerCast telematics device is intended to get all the performance data together and send it out to the cloud.
Its intelligent anti-lock braking system is a part of trailer maker Great Dane’s FleetPulse telematics system that collects precise measurements directly from the trailer’s components, and monitors tire inflation systems, open doors, cargo weight, burned-out lights, rear axle weight, ABS fault codes and actual mileage.
New features introduced on Eaton Corp.’s IntelliConnect remote diagnostics technology provide near real-time monitoring of vehicle fault codes, prioritizes critical events and offers action plans created by the company’s technical experts.
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