Telcos reinforce their position in logistics [Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates)]
(Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) By 2021, there will be 2.14 billion M2M (machine to machine) device connections worldwide and automotive and transport sector solutions will account for 13 per cent of overall M2M device connections, growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 27 per cent during the period.
Originally used for automation and instrumentation, modern M2M communication has expanded beyond a one-to-one connection into a system of networks that transfers data automatically across wired and wireless links.
The versatility of M2M solutions make the technology ideal for all manner of data collection tasks, from remote monitoring, to status tracking, smart routing and much, much more.
M2M device connections by sector, worldwide, 2011–2021
Across the sectors currently leading the way in M2M implementation, a worldwide survey shows that the vast majority of respondents in transport and logistics sector are already focused on M2M now — while far fewer are still in the early planning and consideration stages. It's one of the sectors that anticipate the greatest growth in the relevance of M2M. While only 32 per cent of transport and logistics businesses see M2M as very relevant to their business now, nearly half of them (48 per cent) think it will be very relevant in three years' time as the figure below shows.
Simple solutions for big business benefits
The importance of M2M for this sector is not in doubt. Mobile Network Operators (MNO) are increasingly able to support customers with vertical sector solutions. One du customer, the fast-moving consumer goods company of Masafi has deployed an Android-based Samsung smartphone app running on mobile data packages supplied by du to streamline delivery and improve the accuracy of its inventory records. Masafi can also track the location of its drivers in real-time, via the GPS location of each smartphone.
Telcos are well placed to be able to develop and support industry-specific business applications with these and other solutions such as Fleet Performance software, which will contribute to the generation of profits for fleet managers and their teams. Offerings in this area have the potential to reduce actual operating costs by up to 20 per cent annually, according to industry analysts.
Fleet management priorities for eco-logistics
Fleet management solutions offer a comprehensive tool-kit with which businesses can manage, monitor, and report on their transportation fleets. This goes beyond what each of the tools would independently offer, and shows how a telco can bring several services together to achieve a single purpose. Fleet Performance eco-driving solutions enable fleet managers to control operating costs (e.g. fuel), limit carbon emissions, and reduce insurance premiums, all from a dedicated web portal. Managers can use the tool to monitor their fleet, and to analyse the environmental friendliness of each of their drivers' performance. The Fleet Performance fuel monitoring tool tracks fuel levels in real time using a mobile portal which comes as a smartphone app for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry devices, and provides fleet managers with a real-time view of the fleet.
Additional Fleet Performance self-report modules enable managers to create customised activity reports about their fleet based on criteria such as date, time, fleet vehicle, and driver. The benefits of such fleet management solutions to the transportation industry are clear, but these solutions can actually be used in other industries, especially those involving supply chain management.
The accurate and up-to-the-moment information that is provided by such a system enables logistics managers to better coordinate the movement of company vehicles between sites, optimising resources and providing customers with more precise scheduling information. Man management and vehicle management will be improved as the company is able to plan better where and when people need to be. As a result, it will help the organisation costs because operationally it is being more efficient.
Conclusions: M2M drives real business benefits
As well as providing logistics support, an M2M-based tracking system provides new levels of insight into its operations in the region. With over 60 reports built in and a custom reporting module, the system enables efficient management of exceptions that can have a negative impact on fleet costs. These include idling, speeding, out-of-hours working and route reviews. It allows the logistics management team to replay the routes taken by vehicles, identify below-standard driving and optimise the overall efficiency of the fleet.
In real time, a manger can monitor the location, speed and status of its vehicle fleet and with the use of a Driver ID system be assured that only authorised drivers can operate its vehicles. Setting rules on speed and routes allow operations staff to see when speed limits are broken or vehicles stray outside pre-determined areas, triggering alerts by email or SMS message. Logistics is all about efficiency, and M2M is a great solution to boost it.
The writer is the chief commercial officer of du. Views expressed by the author are his own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.
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