The global automotive industry has been witnessing growing importance of vehicle telematics that forms an integral part of the connected car technology. Pune-based Transworld Technologies has been making its presence felt with its telematics solutions. Auto Tech Review caught up with Vikram Puri, CEO, Transworld Technologies to know more about how telematics has penetrated the fleet/ logistics management space in India and the challenges that need to be addressed for its implementation.
Vehicle telematics in India broadly means GPS or vehicle tracking and not much beyond that, said Puri. In fact, vehicle tracking is the lowest end of the value proposition, said Puri, sounding concerned over the proliferation of cheap imported devices that are of poor or average quality and abundantly available. The country’s transport segment has been prompt to jump at this perceived low opportunity but is also quickly getting disillusioned, he said.
In recent times though, a realisation seems to have dawned upon the Indian automotive industry that vehicle location is not just the low hanging fruit. The real value can be extracted from a telematics implementation by ensuring the offering and solution has similar capabilities like an end-to-end ERP, he noted. From an in-bound supplier perspective, manufacturer, customer, customer‘s customer, fleet owner, driver and third party logistics (3PL) provider are all key stakeholders in an effective telematics implementation. Puri said an enterprise class, end-to-end supply chain visibility solution (rather than just telematics) has become increasingly crucial in contemporary times.
Puri dwelt at length on Transworld’s FleetView solution that offers a holistic, 360° view of the driver, vehicle and the journey. Driver behaviour is at the heart of the system as it impacts all deliverables of any supply chain solution, right down to the bottom-line of all stakeholders involved. The objective of any monitoring system is to benchmark and measure as well as set new improvement standards.
FleetView and the Mobile Eye – another telematics solution by the company – capture driver behaviour data in a high granular resolution, creating a driver behaviour risk score that can be used to counsel or reward a driver. The camera that is integrated with the Mobile Eye device ensures that the driver’s actions, his expression, fatigue levels and reaction times are all co-related with the road at the exact instance of an event, like a sudden brake or harsh acceleration/ swerve, etc., Puri explained.
Puri made a pertinent mention about the initial resistance of commercial vehicle drivers that has now given way to eager anticipation and compliance because of integral incentives that are computed for safe driving in the FleetView portal.
Puri is bullish that the FleetView solution will serve as a catalyst in driving the automotive business in the future, working as a smart platform to predict & integrate consumption, operation & services, bringing together all stakeholders, including sellers & buyers of auto products and services. And once that happens, the industry will witness efficient leveraging of small fleet owners, who are now being pushed into consolidation and perhaps extinction.
Puri said that Emergency or E-Call service coupled with Road Side Assistance programmes – run by third parties – will be a key driver in automotive telematics space. This area is expected to grow quickly, especially since it is being fuelled by regulation; for example the AIS 140 Standard, he noted. The expectations from telematics devices as well as from machine-to-machine (M2M) portals will be to constantly integrate additional data points, develop a lean, efficient, ‚edge‘ computing capability, with the technology to communicate over narrow bandwidths with fast and dynamic data routing, Puri observed.
The Mobile Eye already performs this function as part of JRM (Journey Risk Management). The advanced version actually measures and captures safe distances from objects on all four sides of the vehicle, with the parameters varying dynamically depending on the speed and areas where it is being driven. Puri said the future versions will adjust their parameters based on the skill level of the driver. The objective is to not only measure and improve driving safety, but also to forewarn the driver at the wheel of upcoming risks and hazards, he added.
Small fleet owners currently form a large chunk of the commercial vehicle market in India. Puri said technology should become an enabler for fleet owners or all their operations, right from customer service, fleet maintenance to driver and fund management. Transworld Technologies will continue to focus on areas such as driving risks and driver behaviour. The company sees huge opportunities in big data, analytics and BI going forward and expects all buying decisions (whether for goods or people movement) to be driven by these categories. Puri has no doubts that vehicle telematics is fast becoming a ‘must have’, rather than just being a ‘good to have’ service.
TEXT: Suhrid Barua