Centralised data consolidation is key to unlocking the value of telematics and transport management systems
By Michael Frans, Head of Business Development: Business Operations Automotive at T-Systems in South Africa
- Telematics data holds a wealth of insight for transport and logistics.
- Integrating this data into a centralised platform is key.
- Benefits include improved efficiency and smarter decision-making.
Information has become essential for improving efficiency and driving competitive edge across all industries. The transport and logistics sector is no exception, and as a result, telematics and transport management systems are increasingly being embraced. However, despite the wealth of information delivered by telematics systems, many fleet owners and logistics organisations remain unable to unlock any insight from this data, since there are so many proprietary solutions that do not integrate with each other. Being able to utilise this information to improve processes and control, and thus deriving maximum value from telematics data, requires a centralised platform to consolidate data. This in turn enables fleet owners and logistics providers to holistically control and manage their operations, without being forced into a single service provider situation.
Transport and logistics companies are faced with a level of complexity when it comes to leveraging telematics data. OEMs are driven to implement their own telematics systems, and with this abundance of different systems, availability of data is not necessarily the problem. However this information may be uncoordinated across the various systems, which can cause complications for logistics companies. The challenge remains achieving the insights necessary to improve fleet control, optimise fleet management, analyse vehicle deployment and compile information in a centralised management portal.
Logistics companies need to be able to simplify dispatching, more efficiently deploy fleets, check up on the status of goods in real time and leverage real, value-adding insight from their data. As smart cities become a reality, logistics companies and fleet owners also need to implement a future-proof and flexible information interface that will enable them to understand, amongst other elements, how their fleets impact on traffic and how data from the city will impact on their business. The key is to link logistical and technical fleet information, integrating this data to minimise downtime and improve efficiency.
Telematics systems are used increasingly in the transport and logistics sector, where the focus is particularly on truck telematics. When trucks and trailers are combined into convoys, however, valuable information is often lost, or manual data reconciliation between different systems is required. This results from the previously mentioned abundance of proprietary telematics solutions that have limited integration capability. In order to improve competitiveness, logistics service providers require central data visualisation or a standardised interface, independent from vehicle manufacturer or telematics provider.
Telematics solutions can offer transport and logistics a number of benefits, if they can be integrated into a vendor-neutral portal or platform to provide consolidated data and analytics. Precise, up-to-date information enables better utilisation of the fleet, minimisation of waiting times and empty runs. This in turn results in an increase in overall productivity, reduction of costs, and full documentation of transport histories. In addition, right-time information on the flow of goods is increasingly required in order to optimise and control the logistics processes. This essential information is currently provided in incomplete form only, which limits its applicability. Open source platforms that bring data together from various platforms enable fleet owners to unlock the value of their information and connect with customers while still purchasing vehicles and or traditional tracking systems regardless of brands.
To be sure of success in the long term, transport and logistics providers need to operate economically and cost-effectively as well as to offer their customers an attractive service by delivering goods reliably and on time. Integrated, vendor-neutral telematics platforms enable a full array of services, from fleet control to fleet management, vehicle deployment analysis and a maintenance portal. Using real-time data and smart solutions, providers can instantly locate vehicles and retrieve all important data with the click of a mouse, opening up a host of possibilities. Integrating telematics data into a vendor-neutral platform enables central data visualisation, a standardised interface for monitoring order-related vehicle and cargo data, customer-specific connection facilities for logistics systems, data integration of truck and trailer telematics systems and more.
By integrating telemetry devices and data from vehicles into cohesive integrated information platforms, and providing insight and analysis, consolidated telematics platforms enable smart decision-making and improve operational efficiency. Logistics providers are empowered to holistically control and manage their operations, without being forced into a single service provider situation. The ultimate goal is to see improvements in profitability through the employment of intelligent technology.
Deutsche Telekom considers the European business customer segment a strategic growth area. Deutsche Telekom offers small, medium-sized and multinational companies ICT solutions for an increasingly complex digital world. In addition to services from the cloud, the range of services is centred around M2M and security solutions, complementary mobile communications and fixed network products, and solutions for virtual collaboration and IT platforms, all of which forms the basis for our customers' digital business models.
With approximately 47,800 employees worldwide, T-Systems generated revenue of around EUR 8,6 billion in the 2014 financial year.