Fleet Telematics Picking up Speed

Companies that have incorporated telematics into their commercial fleet management operations are already well aware of its potential benefits. This M2M technology can help organizations keep track of the various vehicles in their fleets, as well as keep up on necessarily maintenance issues. As time has progressed, and more organizations have realized the benefits of fleet telematics, the market appears to have gotten hotter.

Case in point: ABI Research, www.abiresearch.com, projects the commercial fleet telematics market will increase in value from $7.25 billion in 2012, to $26.8 billion in 2018. North America will reportedly be the largest market, followed by the Asia-Pacific region, and then Western Europe.

The report notes private equity firms are playing an increasing role in consolidating the sector, specifically naming Francisco Partners, www.franciscopartners.com, as well as Vista Equity, www.vistaequitypartners.com.

In addition, technology companies have joined the fray. In August, TomTom, www.tomtom.com, recently announced the acquisition of Coordina, www.coordina.com, a telematics company based in Barcelona. The acquisition boosts TomTom’s active base of subscribers to more than 300,000 vehicles. Also, in March Verizon Wireless, www.verizonwireless.com, announced Verizon Networkfleet, a service which allows fleet managers to track their vehicles, as well as monitor location, speed and vehicle condition.

“The commercial telematics industry has long been a very fragmented market but there are now firm signs that this is changing and we expect to see several players breaking the 500,000 subscriber unit barrier over the next few months and years,” says Gareth Owen, principal analyst at ABI Research.

But while the fragmentation of the market has decreased, new solutions continue to emerge. For instance, Mack Trucks, www.macktrucks.com, recently launched MACK GuardDog Connect.

The product builds on the company’s MACK GuardDog maintenance monitoring system, which sends M2M alerts to a connected dashboard about issues such as a clogged filter or a low fluid level. The GuardDog Connect, which is fully integrated into the truck upon installation, sends Web-based alerts to Mack’s customer support center. Mack then contacts the fleet owner or service manager, and collaborates in the repair process. The vehicle is routed to a customer-chosen dealer, and technicians are prepared when the vehicle arrives. As such, the driver can get back on the road faster.

“Customers have enough on their minds today without having to worry about the time it takes to diagnose a problem with their vehicle, and get the situation addressed,” says John Walsh, vice president of marketing at Mack Trucks. “GuardDog Connect simplifies the repair process for drivers and fleet managers, combining purposeful telematics technology with the know-how of the Mack support network to keep customers rolling.”

Adoption of fleet telematics solutions certainly seem to be on the rise. As commercial fleets continue to strive for efficiency, while ensuring their vehicles stay in working order, the benefits of M2M on the road may only become more apparent in the years to come.

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