Fleet Management Done Right, Using M2M
There is no question M2M (machine-to-machine) technology is quickly becoming a critical aspect of fleet management. Valuable fleet data like mileage, fuel consumption, and driving speed are helping fleet managers improve productivity, save fuel, and increase driver safety, not to mention providing additional benefits like insurance savings and preventative maintenance.
And a growing number of fleet managers are catching on. In fact, analyst firm ABI Research, www.abiresearch.com, expects fleet management and trailer tracking system subscriptions to more than double in the next four years, growing from 13.3 million this year to 30.4 million by 2016.
However, as more fleet managers leverage the efficiencies of M2M, they are learning that data is only as good as its underlying infrastructure. Slow-moving data certainly isn’t going to increase efficiency, and unreliable data isn’t going to help managers make critical business decisions.
To address the growing needs of the transportation industry, suppliers have been working hard to beef up the functionality of existing fleet management solutions. Cadec Global, www.cadec.com, for example, just announced its PowerVue fleet management solution now uses Verizon Wireless’ M2M Management Center to simplify and enhance the process of managing communications between drivers and fleet managers.
By working with Verizon, Cadec’s PowerVue solution can now verify that devices are connected to the Verizon Wireless, www.verizonwireless.com, network and monitor whether customers’ devices are operating at peak performance. In addition, Cadec says it can now deploy devices on the Verizon Wireless network in as little as one day or less. According to the company, the goal is to get information to fleet managers as quickly and easily as possible.
Nimble Wireless, www.nimblewireless.com, on the other hand, has been working with Telit Wireless Solutions, www.telit.com, to offer fleet managers extended versatility and extended battery life. Nimble’s Toucan tracking and monitoring device, for example, can be used for both mobile and fixed M2M solutions, ranging from vehicle and cargo tracking to cold freezer and ATM machine monitoring.
Through the use of three different Telit modules (C24, G24L, and H24), Nimble is offering GSM, CDMA, and HSPA versions of Toucan, giving customers flexibility in selecting service providers. The modules also allow fleet managers to integrate a range of network technologies into their M2M devices: The C24 and H24 modules each feature on-board GPS capabilities for GPS solutions, while the G24L is more of a low-cost option for high-volume asset monitoring deployments. In addition, the low-power modules help to extend battery life to up to three years, lowering the total cost of ownership for each device.
Of course, features like improved realtime data exchange and extended battery life will help fleet managers do their jobs even better. However, perhaps the biggest benefits are yet to come. As the market continues to grow, there is no doubt suppliers will continue to enhance their M2M offerings, helping fleet managers gain efficiency in the field and, eventually, at their own desks as well.