5 Cost-Saving Technologies for Connected Fleets

Connected Vehicle Fleets

Transportation Enterprises Increase ROI, Safety & More With Remote Cloud Management

In a hyper-connected world, the in-vehicle networking needs of fleets are just as robust as retail store needs — with the added challenge of always being in motion. Regardless of the industry, mission-critical applications are constantly emerging, and always-on, in-vehicle connectivity is the only way to keep up. The following are five innovative vehicle fleet technologies that public- and private-sector organizations are using to cut costs, as well as a few tips on how to ensure successful deployment and maximum ROI.

Accident Protection Systems

Today’s driver safety analytics systems analyze motorist behavior and assign quality and safety metrics to entire fleets or specific drivers. These systems also can offer real-time insights into the environment and vehicle conditions. Operator monitoring systems soon will combine behavioral and physiological data to detect driver fatigue and other dangerous conditions. Additionally, V2V (Vehicle to Vehicle) networks are in development and may soon allow vehicles to communicate with each other to mitigate blind spots and avoid accidents. All these technologies rely on robust wireless connectivity to transmit data to the cloud.

Surveillance and Body-Worn Cameras

Video surveillance technology is making it possible to record and utilize video in real time, rather than long after an incident (such as an altercation, theft, or accident) has occurred. Here are a few of the most innovative features offered by industry leaders:

  • GPS and other metadata automatically assigned to footage

  • Wireless offload to the cloud

  • Real-time streaming

  • Immediate playback on mobile devices

  • “Buffer period” for capturing video up to 30 seconds prior to the user hitting “record” Cloud offload for video footage helps ensure that important footage is documented without keeping drivers from their other duties, while real-time streaming and playback help address and mitigate incidents immediately.

For maximum effectiveness, video surveillance technologies should be paired with a mobile network solution that can be counted on for reliable connectivity and extra bandwidth as needed.

Transport Refrigeration Monitoring Systems

For fleets that transport perishables, maintaining ideal refrigeration levels is mission-critical. A mistake or system failure could ruin an entire truckload of foodstuffs, meaning serious monetary losses and damaged buyer relationships. The newest refrigeration monitoring systems use wireless sensors to measure temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, door openings, and more in real time. These systems can alert both the driver and headquarters, helping prevent product loss and stop potential catastrophes.

Asset Tracking Systems

While radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies have been used by industries such as retail for years, the ability to synch RFID data to cloud applications from the road is now making it possible for fleet enterprises to streamline operations and reduce waste, loss, and theft of inventory and valuable assets. For example, an Emergency Medical Services team that deals with a number of small, portable supplies and instruments might install RFID readers in each ambulance and assign each asset a small RFID tag to track where those supplies are in real time and determine when supplies need to be replaced — without the need to scan bar codes or conduct manual entry.

Fuel Monitoring Systems

Fuel monitoring systems provide precise measurement of fuel levels, offer usage data to help optimize use, and help streamline fuel inventory reconciliation processes. These technologies also prevent fraud, draining, and unauthorized fuel use. To effectively utilize this data, fleet operators need it in real time, which means the systems must be able to transmit data to the cloud on the go via mobile connectivity.

Network Characteristics for a Successful Deployment

A network engineered for the unique needs of vehicle fleets is key to making investments in cost-cutting technologies pay off. Here are a few features to look for:

  • Cloud-Managed Platform: Fleet operators can’t afford to bring their vehicles back to headquarters every time the network needs a security patch or firmware update. Instead, look for a network solution that offers secure remote cloud management. The police department in Boise, Idaho, estimates that before adopting a cloud-managed solution for their in-vehicle networks, they spent 160 personnel hours each time they needed to make network updates across the department’s 150 cruisers. After switching to a cloud-managed solution, it only took their IT staff about 5 minutes to roll out updates.

  • Ruggedized Router: Not all routers are built to withstand life on the road; fluctuating temperatures and road vibrations will quickly damage many mobile devices. Choose a platform that is designed to endure temperatures between -20 and 60 degrees Celsius. An in-vehicle router should also include ruggedized brackets and be tested according to MIL STD 810G (military) and SAE J1455 (Society of Automotive Engineers) standards.

  • Dual-Modem Dock: A router with a dual-modem dock for multi-carrier connectivity offers the flexibility to provision additional bandwidth during high-usage times and provides true wireless-to-wireless failover in case of a cellular coverage gap.

Webinar: Next-Generation In-Vehicle Networking

To learn more about next-generation in-vehicle networking, watch our on demand webinar now, How Transportation Networks Stay Connected in Evolving In-Vehicle Landscape.