When I ran Cisco as a business for Wipro, I became mysteriously involved with the wonderful world of IoT (Internet of Things), M2M and Telematics. We looked at means of building products to unleash the potential of M2M, IoT. Now, talking to CIOs and CTOs across our customers, it seems the demand and direction for M2M and Telematics is here and now.
Telematics (or Machine to Machine information) in transportation is leading the way towards smarter fleet management, optimized fuel consumption and higher safety standards. Its secondary impact is on enhanced passenger information systems and improved insurance products in transportation. Telematics technology is also core to Intelligent Transportation Systems that are required to meet increasingly stringent regulatory, legislative and environmental requirements that now govern the logistics and transportation industry. According to a study released by ABI Research in early March 2013, global telematics subscriptions for the bus and coach segment alone are expected to grow at a CAGR of 23% until 2018[i]. The forecasted growth is an indicator of the importance machine2machine (M2M) communication holds in transportation.
M2M presents the world of transportation with an exciting future. It is easily the most significant factor that will help reshape the transportation industry over the next couple of years.
What role can M2M play in the logistics and transportation industry?
Fleet management: The most fundamental capability that M2M solutions provide is the ability to monitor workforce, fleet locations and conditions in real time. This ensures that reporting and alerts are improved, thereby improving operational efficiency, reducing costs, controlling asset damage, reducing damage claims, meeting regulatory reporting requirements and significantly improving customer satisfaction.
Freight management: For freight monitoring, M2M capabilities or telematics can provide data on location, temperature etc. in order to ensure that assets are secure. This includes automatic logging of data to prevent punitive regulatory action as well as help reduce damage to goods during shipment.
Public transport management: M2M capabilities ensure that citizens can access real-time data and receive accurate alerts on transport availability, traffic conditions, diversions, etc.
M2M solutions are becoming crucial to the transport industry. They are helping connect work forces, assets, enterprise systems, public/ government systems and end customers in a seamless stream of data, increasingly the reliability of road and transport networks. This also presents a challenge before the transport and logistics organizations: to integrate a variety of systems in order to leverage the growth in sensors and devices that generate, collect and transmit data.
The cost implications of leveraging M2M capabilities may be considerable. This means that organizations must examine the options before them and ensure three key outcomes:
- Quick returns on investments
- Adoption of increasingly standardized solutions
- Ability to scale and be future ready
While the above are crucial to business, the technology considerations to keep in mind include:
- Ability of technology partner to provide industry-specific solutions
- Real time connectivity across platforms, systems, applications, devices and geographies
- Platforms capable of real time data filtering, consolidation, management and analytics
As networks become more complex and supply chains span different organizations, it will become imperative for the logistics and transportation industry to adopt M2M technologies and prevent congestion and global gridlocks that can bring down entire businesses.
There is also an increasing cost to society with inefficient transportation systems that impact the environment. These must be brought under control using automated M2M systems.
In addition, safety requirements are growing. This includes the safety of passengers in public transport systems, private transport, precious freight, etc. M2M systems can help mitigate the risk that they are exposed to.
Finally, end users want better end-to-end transportation solutions and increased visibility on the movement of goods. M2M systems can empower them, allowing them to make independent real time decisions based on changes in their business or personal plans.
I personally drive the adoption of M2M in transportation with a use case approach. We are working on a few Proof of Concept ideas demonstrating real benefits in the areas of fleet and freight management. I plan to share the results with you in due course.
Welcome to the world of IoT.