Many industries have taken to Internet of Things (IoT) in a big way over the past few years. And the fleet management industry is no exception. WebNMS is a leading player in the IoT platform space offering IoT-based fleet management solutions, among others. Auto Tech Review caught up with Karen Ravindranath, Program Head – WebNMS IoT to know about its IoT-based fleet management solutions as well as the future technologies it is developing for related sectors.
FLEET MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS
IoT is the key driver behind WebNMS’ fleet management solutions. Ravindranath said that given the growing connected vehicles ecosystem it is imperative that users adopt connected monitoring and tracking solutions, since they add a lot of value to the business. There are currently gaps in delivering solutions in the logistics market due to various factors including order management, tracking of material & delivery at the customer side, which ideally means connecting what is transported and the means used for such movement of goods. This gap is what WebNMS’ IoT-based fleet management solutions aim to address, Ravindranath said.
The company’s fleet management solutions provide end-to-end package to any fleet owner, with additional features for safe delivery. Ravindranath said that WebNMS’ fleet management solutions provide the necessary tools to complete the loop for logistics businesses. There are various aspects that could enhance the efficiency of fleet management such as order management; trip planning; safety management; and maintenance of assets (drivers and vehicles). WebNMS’ fleet management solutions address all these logistic aspects to enhance the entire supply chain. All these solutions are automated and in real-time, thus driving higher efficiency.
Ravindranath talked about the importance of tracking and safety management and has features such as geofencing, driver behaviour tracking and fuel management along with OBD data that enable fleet managers to reduce downtime as well as trim operating costs.
WebNMS IoT PLATFORM
The company’s IoT platform covers the tools that focus on providing customers with a gamut of solutions to improve the overall business from the logistics perspective. Safety management for tracking is at the top of the pyramid, with solutions such as geo-tagging, driver behaviour analysis and alerting, Ravindranath observed. This is followed by areas of workload planning that includes order and route management, by providing automated routing solutions based on materials transported and the destination.
The IoT platform also offers OBD-based data monitoring that focuses on vehicle performance and fuel information for the purpose of periodic maintenance. It offers contract management for the vehicle as well as provides tools to log and facilitate payments on vehicles as well as drivers contracted for transportation of goods.
The platform provides reporting capabilities on various aspects of goods and transport such as data on workload, number of trips, fleet utilisation, safety-related incidents, driver management, and helps users comply with safety norms. She said that the platform offers customised algorithm-based solutions; for example, setting up parameters for specialised loads such as those for cold chains or farm goods. Such goods would require on-trip, real-time information for delivery to customers, something that WebNMS’ IoT platform offers.
REMOTE ASSET MANAGEMENT, DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
WebNMS IoT also offers remote asset management and related industrial solutions. Ravindranath said the company is part of the Industry 4.0 focus, which talks about process automation inside the industry. The manufacturing processes are sensor-based, which means a large part of automation is controlled through sensor and its related data. This provides the ability to collect manufacturing related information from various sites or plants of a user into a unified structure for further use. The remote asset management solution of WebNMS’ IoT platform enables this unified process and sensor data into a single location, thus helping conduct further analysis and take automation-related decisions.
WebNMS’ R&D and engineering strength is based in India, with 40-50 % of its focus on development, Ravindranath said. She noted that when WebNMS began its IoT initiative, the technology itself was in the nascent stage and its adoption was only beginning to take off. The company not only focuses on development of that technology, but also in newer areas of engineering. The company’s talent pool crosses 4,500 engineers, and is focused on IoT, artificial intelligence, machine learning, since all the algorithms and automation are based on this. All these are a focus area of the company, Ravindranath added.
The company isn’t focussing on autonomous vehicles for now, but said that it is an area of evolution. All the information collected about vehicles, routes and other parameters could help prepare the future vehicle autonomy. While the move towards developing autonomous vehicles appears to be the logical evolution, this area is where OEMs would have more to work on, she said.
Various players are offering fleet management solutions, with focus on automation, and WebNMS IoT has strong differentiators to stay ahead of its competitors. The platform is integrated into a single comprehensive suite, something not many companies offer, Ravindranath said. Secondly, being device agnostic is crucial for the company. This platform supports various hardware for all these fleet management solutions. Ravindranath sees the company offering solutions that go beyond tracking, in fleet management space as its biggest differentiator. WebNMS IoT is focused on not only adding new product lines, but also bringing in new technologies for its existing products.
TEXT: Naveen Arul