The Internet of Things (IoT) is reimagining many areas of our lives, but some industries get the best out of this technology. One of those industries is the transport and logistics domain (T&L). Powered by technology, modern fleet management encompasses a range of management systems that help bolster fleet productivity and cut expenses.
Integrated within a fleet management solution, IoT sensors provide a gigantic data output across entire fleets for further analysis. With such powerful insights at hand, fleet managers can analyze key metrics, such as vehicle location, fuel usage, engine status, driver behavior, and more.
Through onboard units (OBU), tachographs, fuel level sensors and tracking beacons, fleet managers receive real-time data inputs and can react accordingly. Onboard units are equipped with various inputs and outputs for connecting interface cables, GPS and GSM antennas, and other peripheral equipment.
With technology, businesses streamline their operations and meet customers’ needs to the fullest while optimizing operational costs. Overall, implementing telematics in fleet management has various benefits, but we’ll talk about them later.
IoT technologies for fleets
The most important IoT-based technologies for modern fleets include:
- GPS. Global Positioning System allows locating a vehicle in real-time.
- ELD. Electronic Logging Devices closely monitor and record driving hours.
- RFID. Radio Frequency Identification helps transmit vehicle data. This system includes tags, antennas, and readers, enabling automatic identification and IoT fleet tracking.
- OBD. On-Board Diagnostics sensors collect and transfer diagnostic data on fuel consumption, tire pressure, and other vital parameters, including tailgating alerts and braking metrics.
Talking about equipment, various devices can be connected to an onboard unit, including:
- driver identification keys;
- alarm button;
- RFID reader and card;
- temperature sensors;
- shock sensors;
- ultrasonic rangefinder;
- fuel level sensors.
This way, it would be fair to say that IoT-enabled telematics paves the way for the future of fleet management. The functionality of an IoT fleet management platform includes:
Location identification by GPS coordinates and GSM towers;
Control of visits to objects and speed limits in drawn geofences;
Fuel consumption monitoring using fuel level sensors and flow meters;
The system supports the ability to generate more than 20 types of alarms and events;
The system allows you to send commands to the device using a TCP connection;
The system supports driver identification using RFID keys;
The system receives photos from GPS trackers upon request.
How to increase your fleet efficiency with IoT
Industry professionals say that the use of IoT has revolutionized fleet management. Is it an overstatement? Well, not really. IoT solutions work in conjunction with fleet management technology to deliver truly impressive results. No wonder that the industry sees a gigantic rise in using various technologies.
For instance, Berg Insight claims that as many as 22.5 million fleet management solutions will be installed in Europe alone by 2025. According to industry reports, fleets that employ IoT-connected fleet management solutions enjoy improvements in many areas of their business. Let’s dive straight into it.
IoT devices create digital twins of fleet vehicles. These models provide information on vehicle parts and their technical condition. As this data is constantly updated, fleet managers can monitor the most vital vehicle-related metrics and plan repair activities on-demand rather than on a schedule. Whether you need to change the oil, replace a battery, tires, or fix damaged motors, the digital twin is a real game-changer for the industry.
Automation is taking industries by storm, and this technology has much to offer for T&L businesses. First, automation brings unprecedented security and safety, including staff and trucks. As accidents mainly occur due to human error, automation mitigates many risks.
For instance, fleet managers can set up sending automated notifications informing their fleets about traffic and weather conditions. In this regard, automation allows fleet operators to act proactively and prevent accidents before they happen.
Nowadays, predictive analytics is considered a synonym for proactive management. In this regard, IoT-enabled fleet management technology provides fleet operators with powerful predictive capabilities. The analysis of incoming data results in making quick yet informed decisions. In other words, predictive analytics is the synonym for a fleet’s effective management.
Backup cameras and blind-spot assistants alert drivers about possible hazards on the road, such as pedestrians crossing a street in the wrong place, speeding vehicles, or objects on the road. If an accident happens, video data serves as a piece of evidence. What is more, systems empowered with computer vision help spot drivers' drowsiness and alert the closest dispatcher center.
Fair enough, the digitalization of a fleet won’t come cheap, not to mention it won’t happen overnight. Therefore, fleet owners must understand precisely how IoT technologies increase the efficiency of their businesses in the long run.
Thus, let’s summarize the benefits of using smart fleet management solutions integrated with IoT connections. Such platforms allow logistics businesses to benefit from predictive analytics via:
1. Reducing fuel and maintenance costs.
2. Lowering the number of accidents and emergency situations.
3. Extending vehicles’ service life.
4. Improving overall business performance.
5. Optimizing routes.
6. Going green and reducing environmental impacts.
In regard to all these insights, it would be fair to say that fleet management systems allow managing fleets more effectively while saving on expenses.
To Sum Up
Fair enough: the freight and transportation industry is highly regulated, so it takes time to embrace new technologies. In addition, some fleets are often not ready for large-scale digitization: they have inflexible processes, underdeveloped infrastructure, and the staff is reluctant to learn something new.
However, it’s a question of time before the use of IoT will become commonplace for both small and large fleets. Over time, the Internet of Things is likely to play an even bigger role in fleet management. The technology has so much to bring to the table for fleets of all sizes: real-time tracking, driver behavior monitoring, data-driven decision making, you name it.
We're witnessing the creation of an ecosystem that encompasses connected vehicles, connectivity providers, fleet-related apps, and T&L businesses of all sizes. It seems like the digitalization of the logistics domain will soon become an industry standard, not a nicety.
P.S. Do you care to know more about how fleet management solutions help fleet managers cut costs and improve efficiency? We write a lot about fleet management. Check out our blog for more insights.
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