Fleets Go Further with M2M


Keeping track of a vehicle fleet is a big job. For many companies, the fleet represents the organization’s largest cost, and its efficiency is what ensures business success. Things like taking the best route, using the least amount of fuel, and driving with safety in mind aren’t just goals; they are necessities fleet managers work every day to achieve. 

Today M2M technology is making fleet management solutions more advanced than ever. Combining navigation, tracking, and safety, these systems focus on creating a more efficient fleet. In some cases, big names in navigation are partnering with fleet-management providers. For instance, Garmin, www.garmin.com, announced it is working with GPS Insight, www.gpsinsight.com, to support its fleet 590 device.

The fleet 590 is a portable connected fleet-management device Garmin will soon be bringing to market, and it will include GPS Insight’s Fleet Tracking Platform. Designed to offer both tracking and navigation in one device, fleet 590 integrates a black box, cable, and antenna. It features a 5-inch touchscreen display and plugs into a vehicle’s cigarette lighter so it can more easily be moved from one vehicle to another. Driving behaviors are monitored by the device, including speeding, excessive braking, and sharp turning.

Another name in navigation, TomTom, www.tomtom.com, is also working on fleet-management solutions. The company announced the launch of a new resource related to its fleet-management technology called TomTom Business Solutions App Center. It’s a Web resource detailing the various business applications available for integration with the technology.

The partner applications include software systems that can put the fleet-management information to work, such as CRM (customer-relationship management), ERP (enterprise resource planning), and scheduling solutions. The App Center will also host in-vehicle and mobile apps. By opening up its solutions to outside providers, TomTom says the App Center furthers the company’s strategy of offering added value for connected vehicle and fleet-management solutions.

While various technologies can be used to transmit data from a vehicle back to a central location, cellular technology is one of the most popular options. In many cases, a wireless module is used to transfer the data. Companies such as Sierra Wireless, www.sierrawireless.com, offer modules geared toward industrial and transportation applications. Many of the modules that make up Sierra’s AirPrime Embedded Wireless Modules family are ruggedized and designed to stand up to the demands of fleet customers. Companies choose to work either directly with the supplier or with a third-party like Richardson RFPD, www.richardsonrfpd.com, LaFox, Ill., as a supplier.

As more fleets embrace M2M technology, vehicles of all types are getting connected, from long-haul trucks to local delivery vans. Even government agencies are implementing fleet management. Recently, it was announced Geotab fleet-management solution would be available as part of a Federal Supply Schedule contract with the U.S. General Services Admin.

Geotab combines a plug-and-play offering with Web-based user tools and realtime tracking of vehicles. Fleet managers can monitor vehicle location, driving behavior, maintenance, and routes using the Geotab GO6 device.

Another organization that has made use of Geotab technology is UPS, www.ups.com. The shipping and logistics company tracks packages and trucks every step of the way as they move from place to place. At this year’s Connected World Conference, Jack Levis of UPS will be on hand to share some of the company’s best practices for using data and analytics. Levis’ session will offer insights into how a major company puts fleet technology to use.

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June/July 2014
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