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IIoT integration is expanding fleet management systems

By Max Burkhalter
December 10, 2018

For years, companies and governments have been integrating telematics into their fleet management systems for the simple benefit of GPS tracking. These deployments have allowed organizations to keep an eye on their transportation assets in real-time, but until recently they lacked the infrastructure to store and/or process the massive quantities of data in any meaningful way. But thanks to new innovations within the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) landscape, telematics have expanded in scope with a variety of new solutions-based capabilities.

Whereas GPS tracking was the penultimate fleet management strategy of the past, the modern trend toward fully integrated data systems has been dominating across industries. This expansion has helped supply chain experts rethink how telematics systems can be creatively implemented, leading to an overall boom in the IoT market. An early November press release from SBWire predicts the global market for IoT Fleet Management will expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of +20 percent between 2018 - 2025, reaching a market high of 16.86 billion USD within seven years. This staggering optimism has largely been driven by the success of new government and enterprise deployments, which demonstrate the wide application of modern telematics. But what can these systems really do?

Actionable insights fuel IoT fleet management
The first wave of telematics innovation brought GPS tracking, which allowed companies to better understand certain operational details of their fleets - the when and where - while also providing for quicker response times when things went wrong. For example, these early IoT systems could help locate a broken down shipping vehicle with relative precision, giving repair teams a quicker turnaround overall. By analyzing the transmitted data, transportation experts could figure out where the vehicle was, where it was headed and how long it had been there. But beyond this basic information, little could be gathered without first contacting the driver or waiting for the repair crew to send feedback directly.

Transportation buses lined up in a parking lotSmart fleet management relies on strong network infrastructure and dependable connectivity.

In contrast, modern telematics systems provide second-by-second, full-spectrum insight into vehicle performance and driver behavior, allowing supply chain experts to understand an incident as soon as it occurs, all from a remote location. These advanced IoT applications produce a constant stream data that can be efficiently transmitted and analyzed over a secure network, making it possible to answer questions about how and why without direct contact from on-the-ground personnel. At present, these systems can be used for:

  • vehicle tracking & monitoring
  • driver performance tracking & monitoring
  • remote vehicle diagnostics
  • predictive maintenance alerts
  • Improved fuel management
  • fleet-wide analytics

Extensive monitoring and reporting applications rely on the uninterrupted transfer of data to run efficiently, which has underlined the need for new partnerships across industries. So who's on the front-lines of IIoT fleet management?

AT&T launches IoT solutions for enterprise and government
Massive growth within the IIoT fleet management market has created new collaboration opportunities for service providers and asset tracking software companies around the world. In early 2018, Markets Insider covered an exciting announcement from AT&T, which has been slowly edging into the fleet management space with an array of new IoT solutions. The press release detailed the launch of AT&T's Fleet Management for Enterprise and Fleet Management for Government services, aimed at supercharging productivity, cutting costs and improving workplace safety.

The announcement centers on AT&T's move to integrate their IoT infrastructure with Geotab's fleet tracking platform, a move that is projected to save the company more than $40 million dollars over five years. Geotab's software connects commercial vehicles to the internet through a secure wireless network, which would allow organizations to optimize their operations without the risk of major connectivity-related disruptions. Now that Geotab's tracking software is backed by a nationwide service provider, this infrastructure is more secure and dependable than ever.

As telematics technologies improve, organizations will continue developing new strategies for deploying IIoT within their existing fleet management systems. This process will be difficult for companies that have opted-out of infrastructure scalability, as rigid hardware elements will need replacing before such integration is possible. Large-scale implementations, in particular, will require industrial-grade networking components (like Device Servers and Ethernet Switches) to ensure long-term system stability.

Perle offers high-performance networking tools that can keep supply managers hooked into their fleet without disruption. Read some of our customer stories to find out how we've helped other organizations take full advantage of IIoT systems.


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