Fleets Stay Efficient with M2M


For business owners, the rising cost of operations is no small matter. For enterprises with fleets, inflated gas prices and labor costs can mean a dip in profits, unless business owners take a look at how technology can be leveraged to help increase efficiency and mobile workforce productivity.

For workforce management solution providers, the current landscape for fleet management technology solutions is ripe. Berg Insight, www.berginsight.com, for instance, estimates the installed base of fleet management systems deployed among commercial vehicle fleets will reach 8.7 million in the Americas by 2016, which is up from 2.8 million in Q4 2011.

As M2M (machine-to-machine) technology continues to enable mission-critical solutions in vertical markets ranging from healthcare to utilities, fleet-owning enterprises representing all corners of the market—from pest control to law enforcement agencies and beyond—are finding fleet management solutions an attractive point of entry into the market.

Abdul Abdullah, director of transportation solutions at Verizon, verizonwireless.com, points out a number of reasons why M2M-enabled fleet-management solutions are the right choice for fleet-owning businesses. For instance, he says, the ability to gain visibility into fleets, including both vehicles and drivers, in addition to automated solutions for processes like payroll, can be invaluable when it comes to dollars and cents.

Gaining insight into a driver’s behavior while on the road is another draw for enterprises that adopt fleet management solutions. Abdullah says features like geofencing can be critical to a business owner. “Within geofencing,” he says, “you’re going to be able to receive alerts if a mobile worker goes outside of the geofence that you created.” And this type of technology is not about Big Brother. Rather, it’s about leveraging the technology tools available today to see into day-to-day business operations. It all comes down to the benefits of making informed business decisions based on realtime fleet data.

For Verizon, projections for the fleet-management space like the one from Berg Insight are promising. Even more promising is the return on investment its customers are experiencing as a result of adoption.

Verizon offers productivity tools aimed at helping customers run their companies more efficiently. Its flagship workforce-management application, Field Force Manager, aims to empower companies that rely on a mobile workforce through a suite of mobile work tools and applications. Verizon also offers its Fleet Control solution on secure, ruggedized enterprise tablets.

Because of the range of enterprises adopting fleet management tools, Abdullah stresses the flexibility of the Fleet Control solution, saying its ability to be customized via à la carte components, such as barcode scanning, signature capture, glove-friendly touch screens and features such as route optimization, is a key benefit. “What we’ve delivered is a comprehensive, relevant solution in the marketplace that provides the customer a turnkey, end-to-end solution of enabling technology,” Abdullah says.

The benefits of using M2M to manage fleets is clear: realtime data on engine performance, critical-event reporting, a move toward paperless operations and the tools to ensure compliance with regulations, such as those governing driver fatigue, among others. As more solutions become available at attractive price points, especially those solutions being built to order depending on the specific needs of an enterprise, fleet management will likely become the norm rather than the exception.

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