responses submitted by Mika Majapuro, Senior Director of Product Management, Teletrac Navman
IoT & Connectivity
How is your company investing in IoT services and opportunities?
We’ve been in this business for 28 years and have been investing in IoT and telematics for fleet management technologies that help businesses enhance performance and lower operating costs. We designed our GPS fleet tracking solutions to optimize routing, improve fuel efficiency and monitor driver behavior – speeding, harsh braking, rapid acceleration. A big focus on our IoT investments is in safety, both on the jobsite and on the road.
For example, our DIRECTOR platform gives managers the insight they need to monitor erratic driver behavior, and the dashboard cameras offer second-by-second video recordings of incidents. Managers can then use this data and coach drivers on proper behavior for the future. We help customers by providing the technology they need to keep workers safe and complete projects as efficiently as possible.
We also offer maintenance solutions that track and monitor how various assets are being used. Equipment and fleet managers can investigate issues with assets and benchmark different assets against each other. The maintenance solution can also remind owners about upcoming maintenance tasks.
Do you see a path toward the use of AI, VR or AR in your manufacturing processes, or even on board the vehicle itself?
AR/VR have gained momentum in operator training. AR and VR can be used in various use-cases from operating an equipment to fixing an asset or installing an HVAC unit. For example, with built-in computer guidance, younger workers will have the capability to use excavators to a similar degree as experienced professionals. This will become critical amid the worker shortage as technology can aid less experienced workers and help them grow.
Automation & Smart Systems
What smart systems or components does your company currently offer?
Our DIRECTOR platform can be used in both the construction and trucking industry and gives fleet owners full visibility into fleet-wide performance, resource utilization and driver behavior. The platform uses real-time data to track vehicle location, fuel usage and maintenance records. It has built in safety solutions that allows managers to create and view driver scorecards – that highlight drivers with the most risk – as well as unsafe driver incidents with second-by-second video playback.
In construction, most fleets are mixed, and OEMs don’t communicate with each other leaving data in different formats. We can take data from each asset and put it into a single report, formatted the same way with the same information. This single-view of data ensures all data is accounted for and reduces common errors that occur when manually comparing data sets. With our solution, managers have visibility, for example, into how much fuel one asset used compared to an entire fleet’s consumption.
How will that portfolio be expanding in the near future? What customer/industry demands drove these future developments?
Our portfolio will be expanding in the future with our vision of the connected jobsite. We’ve already begun connecting heavy equipment and other assets with telematics, but the next step is to use our telematics and IoT capabilities to understand personal movement and productivity on a site. Once we can understand the assets and the people on the jobsite, we can begin to track materials as well, giving our users an enhanced end-to-end 360-degree view of the jobsite. For example, users will have total insight into what is happening at each site, who is there, if he or she is falling behind schedule and if managers need to add additional workers, equipment, people with different skills or larger/smaller pieces of equipment.
We’re also planning to use AI and machine learning (ML) to enable our customers to make better decisions. We see a future where people work together with advanced machines to come up with better solutions. For example, while human expertise is needed in project management, computers can facilitate the process by running complex simulations.
Managing the Data Trend
Since the onset of Big Data several years ago, how has data become an integrated part of your design and development process?
When we develop and design our solutions, we conduct a significant amount of customer research to understand each customer’s pain points, needs and ultimate goals. Once that research is completed, we use the results to start developing prototypes and will iterate and review prototypes with our customers before arriving at a final solution.
In addition, we also use analytics to understand how our solutions are actually used by our customers. We look at which screens they spend most of their time on, which features are used the most and the least, and which screens a customer may get stuck on and need help with, for example. Based on all this real usage data, we can modify our products and make improvements accordingly.
What challenges remain or lay ahead for the continued and accelerated flow of data?
When it comes to data, there are two stages. In the first stage, companies are trying to get data from the field or system where it lies to the headquarters – to people who can use the data. In this stage several technical challenges emerge related to how to collect the data, how to transmit it and how to store it. Typically, companies collect large amounts of data without understanding how it will be used, bringing us to stage two.
Here, companies find themselves with a significant amount of data in their systems, most of which may not be relevant or actionable. Users are then left staring at their screens, but unsure what the data is, what it means and what they should do with it. At this stage, the challenge moves from technical to design – how to make sure that the data presented to users is relevant and actionable.