The industry has been going through waves of changes as new technologies get adopted. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the coming era of mobile resources management and advanced telematics adoption.
The fact is, mobile resources management (MRM) was barely a phrase on anyone’s tongue a short five years ago. But today, as apps proliferate and new technologies allow fleets to track their equipment use down to the most minor detail, the game is changing.
Today, terms like Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) are the norm. So how well is the industry adopting these new technologies?
From GPS fleet management systems to GPS-equipped smartphones and other portable devices and apps, managing workers and equipment has never been easier.
Today, the U.S. fleet market currently stands at around 18.5 million vehicles. Of those, around 5 million are using some version of advanced resource management or telematics technology.
By 2019 it is projected that around 8 million trucks will be using some form of MRM technology, with hardware and service revenues approaching a staggering $4.7 billion. Looking at these numbers, it’s not hard to see that MRM adoption has seen major growth over the past decade.
The Trucking Fleet Solution Renaissance
If you are a trucking fleet solution provider, you have got to be looking ahead with a pretty satisfied eye. Average growth for GPS tracking solutions has grown around 15% a year in the local sector, especially in regional and city applications.
But with the recent FMCSA ELD mandate about to go into effect, expect MRM and telematics growth to really explode. By as soon as the end of next year, operators will be required to record hours of service using electronic logging devices instead of paper logs. This will open the door to GPS-tracking systems that have HOS-related features installed.
With these ELD regulations set to affect 3.1 million trucks, finding the appropriate MRM or telematics solution will be critical for most fleets. 2017 will also see the growth of the trucking sector surpass that of the local service and delivery fleets.
Today, hardware solutions are also seeing wide adoption. Now you can find driver interface devices that can be connected either through the data bus in the vehicle’s hardware, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or other means.
From Cost to Value
For many, reading this brings to mind the inevitable question: What about cost? While there are definitely large, dominant fleet telematics and MRM providers, new companies have recently hit the scene and are capably holding their own.
It’s these newer providers that are increasingly bringing low-cost solutions to market. In some cases, this undercutting of prices has forced the established players to lower theirs.
Now the focus turns from lowering cost to adding value. Sure, you can start a race to the bottom on price, but what about the features fleets need to get the job done?
Fleet managers are now looking for more than just GPS fleet tracking. Of course, simple fleet management solutions can be delivered at low cost, features like behavior monitoring or fuel card integration provide added bang for the buck.
The more features are added, the more revenue per unit increases. Countering the competition in this way sets the stage for real innovation in the product space.
Customized to Your Need
As providers begin to differentiate themselves within the MRM and telematics spaces, they are also focusing on customizing their solutions to the needs of their fleet customers, and not the other way around.
Let’s say you’re a utility fleet that needs to integrate your maps of a particular facility with in-vehicle tracking services. A provider might then offer tracking, geofencing and possibly arrival and/or departure time monitoring.
In the end, the best way to see these technologies grow is through ensuring fleets see a positive return on their investment, and not just in the bottom line. Fleets should expect to see gains in productivity, safety and security, as well as efficiency.