The Internet of Things is disruptive know-how that has lately made a robust advent into a multitude of domains – from agriculture and healthcare to retail and municipal services – so it is no wonder that using IoT for fleet management is swiftly becoming one of the most vibrant trends ushered by Industry 4.0. While six years ago this market yielded over $3.2 million of revenues, the number is likely to grow five times as much within the next two years. How come?
Today, everything around us becomes smart – watches, store shelves, homes, and even cities. Car manufacturers keep abreast of this AI evolution, increasingly supplying their products with electronics powered by state-of-the-art software.
However, to make the most of such brainy machines one has to provide their connectivity and ability to function without human intervention. And this is where IoT technologies to manage your fleet of vehicles come into play.
IoT Fleet Management System Dissected
Fleet management is the process of controlling all operations related to the functioning of transport facilities. It covers the entire lifecycle of a transport and logistic enterprise including vehicle acquisition, monitoring, maintenance, and disposal. The scope of goals such measures pursue embraces augmenting productivity, curtailing business risks, optimizing the workflow, and ensuring regulation compliance. How does IoT technology for fleet management work?
Satellites send signals 24/7 to enable tracking of the vehicles equipped with special units that store all information on the internal “Black Box”. From there it is transferred to the cloud server whenever the car passes within the range of a cellular network tower providing the update of information in real-time. As a result, the company’s headquarters can monitor all traffic of its vehicles through its computers having internet access.
Moreover, modern management systems’ functions aren’t limited to IoT fleet tracking only. When enhanced with Big Data and AI technologies, such platforms can also analyze received information and develop insights into future events.
Must-Have Features of IoT Software for Fleet Management
To be an efficient tool reinforcing the core shop floor processes, an IoT fleet management solution should benefit all major stakeholders.
Managers of the organization must be able to exercise:
- Fuel management. Once the IoT fleet management system is integrated with fuel card technology, the management will monitor purchases 24/7 and calculate its optimal consumption. Besides, cross-checking opportunities will prevent fuel card misuse.
- Dispatch management. A universal map should be available to dispatchers who thus will be able to see all their vehicles and track their movements. It will help to commit drivers who are nearest to the destination, which saves fuel, cuts down on idle time, and reduces off-hours driving.
- Work order management. This functionality turns your IoT-based fleet management solution into a powerful workflow hub that controls purchase orders, customer billing, equipment monitoring, and other processes.
- Inventory management. Uninterrupted functioning of an organization crucially depends on keeping all stocks (both of delivered goods and of spare parts) at a sufficient level. To ensure it, IT experts that develop IoT technologies to manage your fleet must integrate a module allowing you to track stock usage, match invoices with purchase orders, and automate reordering.
- VIN access. The inclusion of a decoder that deciphers a vehicle identification number will help to show all vehicle-related data and make decisions as to unit replacement or repair. So the personnel will be spared entering numerous numbers (model, manufacture date, performance specifications, etc.) to populate all data fields which will now be done by the decoder with a single button click.
- Maintenance scheduling. To have the cars on your fleet operating smoothly you should have them inspected every now and then. IoT for fleet management can be equipped with specialized functionalities to arrange maintenance sessions for wheel alignment, brake checkup, oil change, and other procedures for each car and remind about them the employees responsible for this routine.
Drivers should be able to enjoy:
- Routing. The software must plot the course for drivers to follow so that the shortest route is selected and fuel consumption is optimized. And IoT fleet tracking facilities will enable managers to check whether the driver picked the suggested itinerary and gauge their efficiency.
- Mileage tracking. This is one of the key functionalities that allows monitoring the distance driven by vehicles. Then, reports on this parameter can be automatically sent to the payroll department to calculate each driver’s salary.
- Engine performance control. Drivers should be able to monitor the condition of their vehicle in real-time to forestall malfunctions and ensure its seamless operation.
- Incident reporting. If anything happens to the driver or/and the car, IoT software for fleet management includes a video with relevant information (time and place of the accident) in the incident report. This file can serve as a benchmark for claim resolution and liability prevention.
To enable all these features, a set of technologies is applied.
Principal IoT Technologies to Manage Your Fleet
We at Sirin Software have profound expertise in the development of IoT solutionsso we realize what know-how is mission-critical for an efficient IoT fleet management system. All technologies leveraged here power a network of proximity, light, humidity, pressure, temperature, etc. sensors and are covered by the broad term of telematics. They include:
- GPS. Global Positioning System that is maintained via at least four satellites allows locating a vehicle wherever it is as well as its speed with the further recording and transmission of such information to stakeholders.
- RFID. As it is obvious from its name, Radio Frequency Identification relies on wireless facilities whose frequencies are employed to transfer vehicle data. This system consists of tags, antennas, and readers that enable automatic identification and IoT fleet tracking.
- OBD. Whereas the two technologies mentioned above focus on car monitoring in space and time, On-Board Diagnostics is called to supply information on its functioning. OBD sensors collect and transmit diagnostic data on fuel consumption, tire pressure, and other vital parameters including tailgating alerts and braking metrics. The previous generation of these protocols was externally linked to the vehicle’s console while OBD II which is currently used in the automotive industry is integrated with the very car.
- ELD. Electronic Logging Devices are becoming a part of regulations in logistics and transportation in Europe and the USA since they monitor and record work and rest hours of drivers thus reducing the number of road accidents.
In addition to these bread-and-butter technologies a cutting-edge IoT fleet management system can’t do without a cloud-based databank, 4G (or preferably 5G) internet connection, Wi-Fi and can be greatly enhanced by AR, blockchain, and other state-of-the-art know-how that is all the rage in the contemporary IT realm. Such powerful solutions can be extremely beneficial for fleet management.
7 Boons of IoT-Based Fleet Management
Organizations that employ IoT for fleet management are sure to see drastic improvements in many aspects of their workflow.
Remote Vehicle Tracking and Asset Monitoring
Relying on telematics devices fleet operators can monitor the location of company cars as well as the condition of cargo in them. Such data exchange is two-way so the management of enterprises can ensure the safety of both goods and drivers and provide timely delivery of the freight.
Fleet Operations Control
IoT technology for fleet management allows creating a connected ecosystem out of standalone solutions which facilitates and streamlines all workflow procedures. When integrated with ERP software a company employs, IoT enables access to all data, making data-driven decisions, and monitoring KPIs from a single dashboard.
Improved Decision Making
Having all data at their fingertips 24/7, managers can make extensive use of the analytic potential of fleet management software. Scrutinizing routes, driving patterns, average delivery terms, and other metrics analysts can build predictive models and map out the company’s business strategy to optimize its functioning.
According to estimates, about 90% of road accidents stem from the human factor. The introduction of IoT fleet management solutions allows for a higher degree of automation of some basic shopfloor processes, which spells minimization of human error. Besides, IoT software for fleet management will take care of notifying drivers about traffic jams and unfavorable weather conditions or even reroute them to avoid possible delays of delivery.
Driver Behavior Visibility
IoT mechanisms enable monitoring various parameters that characterize drivers’ steering style, such as braking/accelerating pattern, engine on/off a recurrence, sleep break frequency, etc. This will allow the management to keep an eye on their personnel in real-time and forestall any infringements or mitigate accident risks.
Fuel Efficiency and Engine Performance Supervision
IoT technologies to manage your fleet are second-to-none tools for monitoring not only the condition of humans but the state of mechanisms as well. OBD systems furnish a multitude of coal-and-ice data that enable to determine the state of the machinery and provide its current and predictive maintenance.
All the previous perks translate into this one. When the entire complex system of a freight or transportation enterprise functions smoothly in its day-to-day routine its productivity soars and overhead expenditures plummet driving up ROI and increasing revenues tremendously.
Despite the evident merits of IoT-based fleet management solutions, their implementation should be approached with care.
IoT for Fleet Management Challenges
While building fleet management software both developers and managers of freight and transportation companies should be aware of the pitfalls on the way of its successful implementation.
Reluctance of Drivers
While generally approving the efficiency of IoT tracking mechanisms many drivers may look askance at such equipment being installed in their cars. After all, no one likes to be tracked while having a break or sleeping. To make them change their mind, the personal benefits of utilizing IoT technology for fleet management should be impressed upon them.
The information about the location of a vehicle at any moment of time should be kept open to authorized persons only since it can be exploited for criminal purposes by wrongdoers who may come into possession of it.
Shifting Compliance Requirements
The advent of digital technologies is so rapid that legislation regulating their usage often lags behind. When it is enforced, companies may have to bring their existing IT ecosystem in accordance with the newly adopted norms.
Autonomous Vehicles Ruckus
This trend is only gathering momentum but one of these days we will see numerous driverless cars on our highways. The absence of a human at the wheel imposes a special responsibility on the creators of digital products powering autonomous cars so that they should be safe for other road users and pedestrians.
Developing IoT Software for Fleet Management: Things to Remember
As a seasoned IT company with dozens of successful projects under our belt, Sirin Software recommends businesses to pay attention to the following tips while selecting an IoT fleet management solution.
Know Thy Needs
There is no one-size-fits-all software that could be used by any freight or transportation enterprise. So before choosing a boxed solution in the niche you should fathom the needs of your company and see what aspects of its workflow (fuel consumption, driver behavior, vehicle tracking) are a priority. Or opt for a custom fleet management solution.
Sustainability and Reliability Matter
The ultimate choice of software should be made only after you have tried a trial or demo version of it. In this way, you will be able to make sure it is smooth in functioning, its interface is user-friendly, and it is flexible enough to adjust to the shifting conditions of the company’s operation.
Don’t Neglect Security
In the modern IT-reliant world, cybersecurity is one of the primary concerns of all stakeholders. Naturally, the choice of fleet management software should be made with an eye to this aspect of its functioning. Preferably, a cybersecurity expert should be consulted on this matter.
Price Isn’t the Bottom-Line Factor
Going for the cheapest solution available on the market is likely to turn out a penny-wise but a pound-foolish decision. So you should start your selection campaign not with price lists but with the roster of features and foolproof operation and look for the best price/quality ratio.
Upgrade Availability Reigns Supreme
The ever-changing IT landscape of the early third millennium is progressing so dynamically that the solution you implement must be open for updates and improvements as soon as new technologies and developments crop up.
Summing It up
The use cases of the Internet of Things in different industries are displaying a constantly growing pattern with the number of connected devices likely to exceed 25 billion by 2030.
Among them, telematics solutions represent a significant portion with the global market size expected to reach $75 billion within the next three years. Companies that onboard them report a significant reduction in various workflow expenditures which makes their introduction a must for any freight or transportation business bent on expansion.
If you want to leverage IoT for fleet management, contact Sirin Software to obtain a top-notch solution at an affordable price.