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While most of us are familiar with IoT in the consumer world of smart homes, wearable technology and connected cars, there’s much more brewing in the world of Fleet Management – the blend of data, network and connected devices is creating a compelling impact on productivity, efficiency and operations the way fleet industry has been operating traditionally.

While more devices, people and data get connected, the opportunities in Fleet Management too are expanding exponentially. IoT is leading the technology innovation in the way traditional fleet were managed. Companies that manage fleets can use fleet telematics to collect real-time information such as vehicle location, fuel usage, speed, mileage and insights into driver behaviour. Fleet management is just the latest industry to be transformed, connecting vehicles and drivers like never before. The technology innovation in Fleet Management will lead to numerous benefits to the Fleet Operators such as:

  • Preventive Maintenance – Remotely diagnose maintenance requirements
  • Gain Better Visibility – Fleet Tracking, Routes Optimization and Real Time Tracking
  • Greener Operations – Control fuel costs, Reduce operational expenses
  • Enhanced Safety and Security – Improve driver safety, Increase fleet security

According to one of the Cisco studies, vehicle management is the area where IoT-based efficiency efforts are most needed, and it comes at a time when vehicle manufacturers are investing in IoT technologies” avnish kumar

This growth will have valuable benefits not just for the fleet operators, automobile and cargo companies, but the mobile workforces, particularly those in field service industries, such as drivers, delivery personnel etc.

As the vehicles we drive get smarter, we will see previously labour-intensive or manual processes become automated and an increased efficiency in asset utilisation.

Let’s consider some of the key use cases of IoT that has brought greater efficiencies and improvement to businesses that manage their fleets:

Achieve Better Visibility and Costs Optimization

The goal of any fleet manager is to optimize their costs and ensure their budgets are spent wisely. Each day, fleets generate an enormous amount of information regarding things like fuel consumption, miles logged, speed tracking, vehicle utilization and much more. Having complete real time visibility of each asset allows managers to retrieve reliable audit data that includes what each truck has done, where it has been, what its utility is.

IoT has ushered in an era where vehicles, driver devices, and office technology are connected in real-time. As a result, fleet managers can not only collect, analyze and understand all of the data from their fleet but act on it as soon as possible.

Whether its vehicle maintenance, product delivery, route planning, or dealing with traffic congestion and weather disruptions, connected vehicles will help fleets to minimise wasted miles and cut costs.

Preventative Maintenance

Maintenance is one of the most important part of the cost of doing business in fleet business. Every fleet has a major investment in its equipment. The equipment must operate in in order for the fleet to stay in business. Whether or not the equipment operates efficiently, it has a major impact on the profitability of the entire operation.

Connectivity to all vehicles will help monitor the health of the fleet from any device. Advances such as OEM built-in telematics will give fleet managers increased visibility on vehicle maintenance, providing a more detailed view of its mechanical condition. This can alert maintenance managers to the early warning signs of trouble, whether it be engine overheating, low fluids or oil life remaining. In addition to improving the efficiency of the maintenance cycle, we will see cost savings in diagnosing problems and minimising downtime as well.

Enhanced Safety and Security

According to U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Energy, driver behavior contributes to more than 90% of vehicle crashes and up to 33% of fuel consumption. The diagnostics and driving data collected over time would also help with many other benefits – for e.g. Usage Based Insurance Rates (PAYD/PHYD – Pay As You Drive/Pay As You Drive).

In addition to gaining better insight into driver behaviour, this can also help with emergency services like On road assistance for emergency breakdown, Abuse of the vehicle / fleet, Hazard notification and ensure compliance with regulations.

In future, with data collected over period of time, would also help with advanced analytics to predict “Behavioral propensity”.

Greener Operations

Another key benefit is Greener Operations – Excessive idling time, taking longer routes and driving over the speed leads to extra fuel costs and unnecessary wear and tear. Moreover, it causes significant damage to the environment.

Just take an example of Oil and gas fleets which typically transport large, heavy loads that can lead to increased severity in the event of a crash. Advancements in Fleet Management can provide the most effective routing options to help these vehicles find less travelled highways and roads.

Often oil and gas loads involve transportation of hazardous materials. Accidents involving such fleets can lead to costly pollution claims. Fleet intelligence will help provide more immediate diagnosis of a spill and allow for a faster clean up and resolution.

IoT is the way of the future, not just for fleet management but for all aspects of work and life. And as IoT continues to become the norm, the companies that embrace it today will have a significant advantage over the competition tomorrow, benefiting from greater connectivity between their devices and the information derived from them.

Author: Avnish Kumar, VP, IoT & Predictive Analytics Practice at Incedo Inc.

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