March 23, 2006
 

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Posted: 06.01.05

Target: Telematics

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By Elizabeth Brown




A need for more effective and efficient homeland security first put telematics vendors to the test, as meeting our nation’s needs for reliable tracking services became an issue of national security. And according to a recent report by market intelligence research firm ABI Research, as the government’s interest in telematics grew, commercial business leaders in both the long- and short-haul trucking industries couldn’t help but sit up and take note of it.

According to David Schrier, an analyst at ABI Research, telematics has become an important “mobile resource management tool” for commercial vendors trying to keep track of their cargo. This includes both truckload carriers that want to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction, as well as the public transportation industry vendors, such as taxi or city bus dispatchers that want to be more efficient with their response to calls.

Improvements in RFID, terrestrial and satellite communication infrastructures and GPS technology, according to Schrier, now allow trucking companies to monitor their cargo and improve driver habits (by monitoring speed efficiency and instances of hard braking) as well as engine efficiency. As a result, companies such as Schneider National Trucking (which will outfit 48,000
trailers with Qualcomm’s T2 tracking hardware this year), can monitor its assets in real time.

ABI’s new report “Trailer Tracking Markets” states that the telematics industry has “evolved to the point where system vendors are now providing specialized hardware for specific types of trailers besides the common dry van.” These include refrigerated and flatbed trailers, as well as intermodal cargo containers. The previously legislative atmosphere surrounding telematics is giving way to a more business-centered, commercial market.

The United States isn’t the only country to jump aboard the telematics bandwagon, as the market is at various stages of growth all around the world, reports Schrier. The United States continues to be at the forefront of developments in telematics, but China and India are quickly closing in, with the telematics trend making an impression both in their thriving trade markets, as well as urban infrastructure. ABI finds that “taxis represent a huge addressable market, particularly in Beijing, as fleets gear up for the 2008 Olympics in China.”

As telematics technology adapts to an increasingly diverse customer base (in Hawaii and Europe, cars with hidden telematics systems are being used to bait and catch car thieves), telematics gives businesses that invest the tools to rise above the rest in profit and efficiency.
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