2 juin 23

Connected Fleets Expert Meeting: Letting the magic happen with data

The first ever Connected Fleets Expert Meeting, held on 1 June 2023, focused on the value of data and how to unleash its power to overcome fleet challenges and improve efficiency. 

The meeting provided a deep dive into connectivity through presentations and discussions by several experts. Highlight questions included: 

  • Why is data crucial for fleets, and how is it gathered?
  • How do OEMs and Telematics Service Providers (TSPs) manage and use data?
  • Which technologies supplement the data gathering and analysis process?
  • What do fleets need to know about data platforms and how to integrate them? 

The first Connected Fleets Expert Meeting added a new level to the learning experience in the fleet industry, including experts from prominent companies including Ptolemus, UBench, Renta Solutions, Ford Pro, Targa Telematics and Sofico.

Who is better at predictive maintenance? 

Paul Maupin, Marketing Director of Ptolemus Consulting Group, presented a timeline of how telematics evolved and what we expect in the coming years and focused on the crucial difference between the OEMs and TSPs. 

Emerged in 1996 through GPS satellite data, fleet telematics today is being supplemented by advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), paving the way to autonomous trucks around 2025, says Maupin. 

According to Maupin, OEMs and dealers are pursuing predictive maintenance solutions to optimise product uptime. OEMs offer little services that don’t differentiate much from each other, but are ahead of TSPs in developing predictive maintenance services while TSPs are more advanced in the deployment of AI and ML technology, which could affect future strategies, says Maupin.

Asked by Schoefs if collaboration is needed in the market, Maupin replied that it makes sense from a service offering rather than a business perspective. As OEMs manufacture vehicles with embedded telematics, TSPs should focus on data gathering and analysis, Maupin believes. 

Presenting many exciting forecasts for the future of the fleet industry, Maupin says the fleet telematics market is expected to grow fourfold in the coming ten years. 

Paul Maupin, Marketing Director of Ptolemus Consulting Group

Don’t oversee the benefits of data 

Manuel Medinger, CEO of the connected claims management paltform specialist UBench and managing over half a million claims annually, says many players in the market need to include the advantages of data to create value creation.  

The damage management module, UBClaims, is expanding its connections as data points are increasing over time, says Medinger, and through analysing real-time data, picks the best body shop according to the requirements of leasing companies, filtering every aspect from damage to price. This is a challenging feat, as data flows from countless sources and too many stakeholders and customers are involved, along with communication errors and process restrictions. Nevertheless, with the help of AI, data is optimised to get the perfect match for leasing companies. UBench also offers benchmarking of the existing service networks to outline the average efficiency of body shops. 

What the future holds for the industry? Manuel Medinger believes a standardisation on a global level is needed. 

Manuel Medinger, CEO of UBench

Securing the flow of data

The first discussion of the Connected Fleets Expert Meeting included Erik Maes, Managing Director at Renta Solutions and Aliaksandr Kuushynau, Chief Wialon Officer (pictures at the top of this article).

While Renta is a giant with five data platforms on the cloud, Gurtam is another with 3.6m vehicles connected to its fleet management platform. 

Where is Renta getting the data? Asked Schoefs. The MRT (Maintenance, Repair, Tires) platform of Renta derives repair data from OEMs directly, says Maes. AI boosts the analysis process to provide intelligence to allow us to see specific patterns in data. 

Kuushynau approves this approach by saying Gurtam converts data into actionable insights to allow fleet managers to make the right decision. To this end, Wialon, the fleet management software platform of Gurtam, is absorbing data from any source, including Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, OEM-installed devices and telematics devices. According to Kuushynau, TSPs are crucial in helping fleet managers get data into the correct systems and make decisions. 

Underlining a crucial change for the future, Maes says electrification will influence the importance of proactive maintenance, as electric vehicles (EVs) will need less and less care. Thus, certain information will be vital, including mileage, battery lifetime and residual value. By efficiently using data, electrified fleets can keep their residual value high and the total cost of ownership (TCO) low. 

Both experts agree that fleet telematics will be indispensable in future, while most fleets still believe it is too early to dive into it. 

Being the eyes of leasing companies

What shall leasing companies do to see ahead in the ever-confused fleet industry? Bart Deprez, Senior Business Intelligence Consultant at Sofico, looks into data. Sofico works with multiple stakeholders in the fleet industry, including leasing companies, OEMs and mobility providers, constantly working on solutions to overcome challenges through the mastery of data. 

Deprez points to increasing investments in the online transition, as it became one of the main investments in the IT departments.

At this point, Sofico helps customers with one of the most critical aspects, personalising the user experience, discovering what your customers need, how you can influence them, setting automated tasks for them, and eventually simplifying the processes. 

Bart Deprez, Senior Business Intelligence Consultant at Sofico

How to survive in the telematics market? 

The strategic partnership between Targa Telematics and Ford Pro underlines the significance of cooperation between telematics providers and OEMs, also providing a clear example of a business model which would help both sides thrive in the future ecosystem. 

In the closing discussion of the Connected Fleet Expert Meeting, Thomas Smith, Country Manager UK at Targa Telematics, and Chris Miller, Data Services Partner Manager at Ford Pro Software Europe, explained the partnership. 

The partnership acts as a complimentary telematics application, offering free-of-charge services, increasing data points and enhancing the application of after-sales devices. With the capabilities of both sides converging, Targa can push data needed by Ford, and Ford can push OEM data to Targa when needed.

The advantages are enormous in an ever-complex and vast ecosystem, as the management and process of OEM data help fleets solve confusing equations by considering the below questions, says Smith: 

  • How to accommodate a mixed fleet? 
  • How to include older vehicles without embedded connectivity?
  • How to accommodate bespoke requirements,
  • How to ensure data is secured? 

There are several mutual benefits, such as OEM data reducing downtime, enabling after-sales devices to be deployed and providing complete visibility of the entire fleet. Most importantly, OEM data enables both parties to add or remove services for specific needs. 

For the future of telematics providers, Smith gives essential advice: “Telematics companies who rely on generating revenue by selling pieces of hardware will have difficulties in future. There has to be flexibility and a correct mindset to survive.

Thomas Smith, Country Manager UK at Targa Telematics

Chris Miller, Data Services Partner Manager at Ford Pro Software Europe

Sofico and UBench (Diamond partners), Renta Solution and Wialon (Platinum partners) sponsored the first Connected Fleets Expert Meeting. Follow us to join the second Connected Fleets Expert Meeting on 10 October 2023!

The main image shows Steven Schoefs, Head of Strategic Relations at Fleet Europe; Erik Maes, Managing Director at Renta Solutions and Aliaksandr Kuushynau, Chief Wialon Officer.

Authored by: Mufit Yilmaz Gokmen