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NEW ORLEANS — In the span of a year, Solera Holdings quickly became one of the trucking industry’s largest technology suppliers through its acquisitions of Omnitracs, SmartDrive, eDriving and Spireon.
Now the company plans to converge those businesses and its other transportation technology product lines into a unified, global fleet platform.
Solera’s leadership outlined that vision May 24-26 at Outlook 2022, the first user conference for Omnitracs customers since Solera acquired the business last year.
Roni Taylor, senior vice president of strategy at Spireon, describes how trailer management technology will integrate with the Omnitracs platform. (Seth Clevenger/Transport Topics)
“Solera, plainly put, has more operational and financial resources than Omnitracs ever had, and we are leveraging those to build the world-class platform of tomorrow to help move your business forward,” said Alberto Cairo, managing director of vehicle and fleet solutions at Solera.
Solera’s global fleet platform will incorporate more than 30 software applications used by 22,000 customers and covering more than 250 million miles per week, he said.
Westlake, Texas-based Solera, a provider of vehicle life cycle management technologies for a range of industries, has previously performed similar technology convergence projects in other areas of its business.
As an example, Cairo pointed to Solera’s automotive insurance claims technology, which estimates damages for vehicles involved in accidents. That business also grew through acquisitions, at one point encompassing 25 different platforms around the world until Solera unified those businesses into a single platform called Qapter.
“We are embarking on a similar transformation project for the fleet business and fleet platform,” Cairo said.
He told attendees that Solera is investing heavily in all aspects of its fleet technology portfolio and is ramping up hiring to support product development, but acknowledged that moving all its recently acquired fleet businesses to a unified platform will be no simple task.
“While I wish that everything were always easy, transformational change never is. ... It takes a lot of effort and a lot of persistence,” Cairo said.
As Solera Fleet Solutions assembles its global platform, it will continue to support its existing applications, he added.
“We recognize that not everybody is ready to migrate,” Cairo said. “All of you will do that on your own timeline.”
Despite the shift toward a unified platform, Solera’s leadership said the company is in no rush to move away from its existing brands that are well known in the trucking industry.
Omnitracs, for example, traces its roots to the trucking industry’s first mobile communications system introduced by Qualcomm Inc. in 1988. Qualcomm sold that business to Vista Equity Partners in 2013, a few years before the private equity firm also acquired Solera.
Prior to its merger with Solera, Omnitracs completed several major deals as an independent company following its spinoff from Qualcomm. Omnitracs’ acquisitions during the past decade include routing software firm Roadnet Technologies, telematics vendor XRS Corp. and SmartDrive Systems, a provider of video-based safety technology.
Alberto Cairo opened #SoleraOutlook general session by thanking fleet drivers for supporting us during the pandemic. He outlined Solera's commitment to building a unified platform as a foundation for success. #DrivingConnections. Learn more: https://t.co/hBxr7IDPQ5 pic.twitter.com/ON284gth4E— Solera (@SoleraInc) May 24, 2022
In addition to Omnitracs, Solera recently acquired eDriving, a digital driver risk management company, in June 2021. Its flagship product, Mentor, uses smartphone-based technology to detect risky driving behaviors.
Solera’s fleet product portfolio also includes SuperVision, which monitors the license status of commercial drivers.
In addition, the company announced plans to introduce a vehicle maintenance management system developed in Europe to the U.S. market.
Solera’s newest acquisition, Spireon, provides asset monitoring technology for more than 600 customers and 400,000 trailers.
Roni Taylor, senior vice president of strategy at Spireon, highlighted some of the initial benefits of combining trailer management with the Omnitracs platform.
Fleet customers using both Omnitracs and Spireon will soon have a single sign-on to access both products, eliminating the need to navigate different screens and user interfaces, she said.
Monitoring of tractor-trailer pairing is another example.
“We’re going to be able to pull the trailer ID and pass it through to the driver and dispatch so you will know that your drivers are actually picking up the right trailers,” Taylor said.
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Solera Fleet Solutions also made several product announcements at the conference.
The company unveiled an addition to the SmartDrive video-based safety product line called SmartDrive Protect, designed to help small fleets exonerate their drivers in the event of an accident, while also rewarding safe driving and supporting driver coaching.
Solera also announced a series of updates to the Omnitracs One platform, including new information on shipper locations, and enhanced integrations with third-party applications, including mobile apps, truck navigation from Trimble Co-Pilot and Verizon Connect, the Trimble Transportation Cloud platform and Velociti for managed mobile device management.