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Managing fleets better with internet of things

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From: LiveMint By: Shivani Naik Published at: December 8, 2017
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The internet of things (IoT) presents huge opportunities for business growth across industries. In fleet management, for instance, the opportunity for IoT is huge and the possibilities are endless. As per International Data Corp. (IDC) data, the IoT market in India is expected to increase from $21.1 billion in 2016 to $34.5 billion by 2020.
These numbers clearly indicate that companies that embrace IoT technologies will have a significant advantage over the competition.
Benefits include greater connectivity between devices and data insights enabling new business models and revenue streams; streamlined operations, driven by efficient delivery routes, reduction of paperwork and reduced vehicle maintenance; increased visibility of all aspects of business, including driver behaviour and activities; and stronger customer relationships and satisfaction.
Integration of fleets with IoT solutions can help companies improve supply-chain visibility for improved customer experience, theft protection, process-chain monitoring and just-in-time inventory management.
The following steps show how a fleet management IoT solution securely integrates real-time visibility, analytics and sensor-driven automation into the entire supply chain. This includes collecting telematics information and sensor data, as well as device and application management capabilities.
Establish critical business metrics and benchmarks: It is crucial to find ways to quantify and control costs; train and retain drivers; manage information about the vehicles and their use; and provide information to the rest of the organization.
Fleet management IoT systems introduce an entirely new framework—enabling managers to collect, analyse and share greater amounts of data at a faster speed. Real-time data can help identify areas of improvement and key performance indicators (KPIs) to match business objectives, including travel time, distance and fuel consumption between destinations; hours logged by drivers and compliance logs; cost of products spoiled before delivery; and value of tools and assets lost per year.
Identify important data sources to monitor: It is important to first identify which data sources are valuable based on business objectives and KPIs. For example, connected vehicles today typically have multiple applications targeted at a specific data source. In many of these cases, certain data never leaves these vehicle or is instead transferred to the cloud in silos, limiting the insights gathered from that data.
Securely access and integrate critical data: A security management solution is recommended for protecting data from threats that could otherwise go undetected by isolated security systems.
Therefore, securely accessing the real-time data and aggregating the data at the edge of the gateway—say, a network providing access to another network—is an important next step.
It is crucial to find a gateway that works with a variety of critical protocols, data sources and types of data to ensure silos can be broken down. Additionally, when deploying an intelligent gateway, consider device management as part of your strategy to access and integrate data.
Also, if the data being gathered (and/or transmitted outside the connected vehicle) is sensitive, evaluate the risks associated with the device being hacked and the data being exposed.
Determine the right level of in-vehicle compute: It is important to design an appropriate data architecture for your IoT solution to balance which streaming data (data coming from the sensors) gets analysed in-vehicle and which data is sent to the cloud for analysis.
A balance between the two can optimize costs associated with bandwidth usage and cloud management, in addition to speeding up actions that need to be taken based on the data.
Develop business applications to continuously monitor KPIs: A fleet management IoT solution enables proactive monitoring of various sensors and the corresponding analysis of the collected data. Turning vast amounts of data into actionable business insights is one of the largest challenges.
However, developing business applications, such as dashboards and reports for monitoring KPIs, can overcome these challenges and help prevent potential issues from impacting service.
With the fleet management IoT solution, managers can leverage near real-time information to efficiently organize and direct the day-to-day operations of their fleet services.
Move from reactive to proactive with automation: Once the solution is in production, and data is being displayed to management in reports and dashboards, the resolution of some issues can be automated.
For example, an on-board sensor could report that the temperature inside a truck compartment has surpassed a maximum level. In this case, an alert can be sent to the driver’s mobile device, or to a regional dispatcher, notifying them of the issue.
Deploying automated alerts and notifications, based on data that is captured from various sensors and IoT devices, highlights previously hidden equipment issues that can lead to more serious problems. Identifying these issues early on helps to improve the quality, availability and reliability of your fleets.
Rajesh Janey is president and managing director (India enterprise) at Dell EMC.

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