4 Use Cases for IoT Fleet Management

How ultra-connected logistics in fleet management will improve the quality of the food we eat, make our cities smarter, increase productivity, and re-engineer delivery vehicles.

The Wireless Technology Forum assembled a panel of fleet management technology experts from UPS, AT&T, Verizon Telematics, Deloitte, City of Atlanta, and TotalTrax on March 16, 2017 to provide insights into improving fleet management with ultra-connected logistics.

Mike Curran, Global Telecom and Future of Mobility, Deloitte, setup the topic by providing a peek into the future state of IoT Fleet Management. IoT will be an ecosystem of providers including vehicles and sensors, sending information via a wireless and/or mobile networks, creating vast amounts of data and driving efficiencies back to the business.

"Fleet management market to be worth $28B by 2021."

Mike Curran cited 4 trends:

  • Vehicles will increasingly drive themselves. We're not talking about transporting people, but instead delivering packages, or moving goods without human drivers.
  • Vehicle performance will improve by leaps and bounds. The sensors on fleet vehicles will report yellow status (need to repair soon) to the business and reduce the number of complete breakdowns on the road.
  • Vehicles will be shared more and owned less. If a vehicle is shared and creating 20 GB of data/hour, who owns the data?
  • Transportation will increasingly support connected and seamless multi-modal experiences. Instead of a single mode of transportation, algorithms could provide more efficient routes and modes such as buses, trains, and even bicycles to deliver packages. Today an 18-wheeler drives your package from California to Georgia. Tomorrow, the connected IoT network routes your package via bus, train, plane, and automobile to your home in half the time and a quarter of the cost.

The panel dove into 4 IoT fleet management use cases:

Food Safety

Susan Fitzsimmons, AT&T, and Dick Sorenson, TotalTrax, discussed their work in micro-tracking of food products. I think we can all agree that want to consume food that has been maintained at the correct temperature, humidity, light exposure from production to table.

Imagine the scenario where a customer consumes spoiled food. This customer goes back to the grocery store and confronts the manager. Worst case scenario, this customer retains legal counsel sues the grocery store. Now the grocery store needs food tracking data from creation to delivery. In the case of cabbage, they need to start with which field the cabbage came from and the field temperature when the cabbage was picked. Next, they need to know at the pallet or shelf level the temperature and humidity the cabbage was stored and transported at. As a conscientious grocer, when the problem is found, they need to find the other spoiled cabbage and pull those items to prevent another sick customer. Instead of disposing of an entire field or truck full of cabbage, with IoT data, the grocer can pinpoint the issue before it happens and hopefully prevent anyone from getting sick.

Mapping Potholes

Keith Robinson, City of Atlanta, Mayor’s Office of Innovation, alluded to future uses of autonomous vehicles including mapping potholes and road striping. He didn't want to let the cat out of the bag but he let the audience know that City of Atlanta would be making a formal announcement on autonomous vehicles later this year. Potholes are always an on-going problem in all large cities; I would love driving over fewer potholes!

Increasing Worker Productivity

Amit Jain, Strategy, Big Data & Business Development Leader, Verizon Telematics, cited that labor costs are still the highest cost center of any company. His customers are finding value in analyzing data from IoT sensors. By collecting and analyzing IoT sensor data, his customers are able to increase worker efficiency by 1 work order, or 3 to 5 deliveries per day. This productivity increase creates cost savings that directly affect the bottom line.

Fleet Vehicle Re-Engineering

Philip Aiello, Senior Product Manager Automotive Engineering, UPS, shared how they are harnessing the power of IoT sensors in their delivery trucks. Phillip made the analogy that UPS is monitoring their vehicles like a doctor is monitoring your heart with an EKG. Correlating this IoT sensor data with GPS coordinates, UPS is now in the mode of predictive maintenance instead of reactive maintenance. This means that UPS maintenance is notified of a repair with a part is in "yellow" status, indicating that the part needs to be replaced soon, minimizing reactive fixes after the part becomes inoperable.

UPS is taking this one IoT sensor data one step further by sharing the data with their vehicle manufacturers, and recommending engineering design changes. Since UPS buying thousands of vehicles, and they have the data to back up their recommendations, manufacturers are listening.

With large and small companies creating ultra-connected logistics with IoT innovation, ROI value is now a reality in 2017.

What about security?

The team from RaceIQ was on-hand to demo their innovative technology in the automotive market. James Jones, CEO, RaceIQ, is working with major automakers to prevent hackers from unauthorized control of vehicles and accessing private vehicle data. RaceIQ was named Wireless Technology Forum's March 2017 Top Innovator.

Thank you to our speakers for sharing your insights into today's fleet management opportunities.