In the transport and logistics industry alone, in-vehicle cellular IoT connections are expected to grow from 100 million in 2020 to 292 million in 2030. This exponential increase will enable new and improved applications — especially given the speed and capacity of 5G. But for IT teams charged with the deployment and daily oversight of large numbers of vehicles, it also prompts important fleet management questions.
Each in-vehicle sensor, camera, digital display, and smart device needs reliable, always-on connectivity to function. To realize future competitive advantages, enterprises need to consider today not only how that connectivity will be delivered, but also how to efficiently incorporate so many new devices into a Wireless WAN (WWAN) infrastructure. Hint: widely available LTE and 5G, centralized cloud-based network management, and purpose-built wireless edge routers.
How can IT teams deploy connected fleet technology efficiently and at scale?
When the deployment of connected fleet technology devices includes complicated hardware and cloud-based components, there is a greater chance for costly mistakes that can compound over time. This is especially true for devices utilizing SIM cards for cellular connectivity.
When deploying new devices, the responsibility for their registration frequently falls on the customer. This means that all the steps required to configure the router — including inputting serial numbers into a cloud management system, registering SIM cards with a connectivity management platform (CMP), and more — have to happen prior to provisioning. When multiplied over dozens, hundreds, or thousands of devices, workloads can be not only soul-crushing, but also expensive.
By choosing a zero-touch deployment option for 5G vehicle routers — where settings, configurations, and firmware come preprovisioned — companies can enjoy a much faster time to service with fewer touchpoints per device.
How do LTE and 5G wireless routers simplify enterprise fleet management?
Even after eliminating deployment bottlenecks, growing organizations still face fleet management questions regarding ongoing connectivity, router, and IoT support. Managing the network using a device-by-device approach may work for small fleets, but it’s a model that doesn’t scale due to the compounding complexity, time and resource requirements, and the potential for errors and security flaws.
To effectively manage in-vehicle networks and connected devices across a fleet, organizations need a network management solution that is cloud-based, integrates with the existing WWAN , is accessible from anywhere, and provides easy access to essential data generated by onboard routers and IoT systems. By using widely available cellular broadband service to connect cloud management platform to in-vehicle wireless edge routers, managers can gain crucial capabilities including:
- One-click application of software and firmware updates, and concurrent rollout of network configurations
- Analytics and dashboards displaying device and network health
- Insights that accurately portray data usage for data spend optimization
- Security incident detection and mitigation through traffic segmentation, access blocking, and threat analysis
- Diagnostic tools that enable users to quickly identify and support network issues
- Robust troubleshooting capabilities
Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Service for Mobile and wireless in-vehicle routers — delivered with built-in Cellular Intelligence — enable reliable connectivity and centralized management for IoT devices across fleets, creating operational efficiency and decreasing costs.
For the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and its 1,400 officers, failures of out-of-date networking equipment meant that cruisers had to be taken out of service for troubleshooting and support — keeping officers in the station instead of the field. Now, using NetCloud Manager and vehicles upfitted with rugged LTE routers, the SPD’s IT team can support the whole fleet’s routers and connected devices from anywhere.
How can fleet telematics and location tracking save time and money?
Extensibility is another key feature of cloud-based router management solutions, allowing fleets to employ a wide range of telematics in LTE and 5G connected vehicles. Telematics solutions — provided through Cradlepoint Technology Alliance Partners FleetComplete, Forward Thinking, and others — make it possible for IT teams to monitor drivers, track vehicle usage and location, and identify maintenance needs, all of which can benefit fleet management.
Improving vehicle lifecycles with predictive maintenance
Costs incurred from unplanned downtime repairing vehicles and connected fleet technology can quickly balloon and become unsustainable. With myriad supply chain issues affecting everyone, the cost of fleet repairs continues to skyrocket. According to Global Fleet Management, in 2021 alone, the cost of labor and parts rose between 4% and 8%.
When fleets collect telemetry data on fuel economy, mileage, tire pressure, engine health, and more, organizations can develop important insights that save time, money, and ultimately keep equipment working longer. Over time, this data can be aggregated and analyzed to identify patterns used for predictive maintenance.
Using telematics for driver safety and performance
With an average of 20% of vehicles in a fleet requiring accident-related repairs, fleet managers are especially eager to employ telematics to boost driver performance and safety. Real-time safe driving metrics including hard braking, speeding, rapid acceleration, and seat belt use make it possible for fleet managers to proactively build a safer team of drivers, decrease accidents, and lower repair-related costs.
Keeping track of fleet vehicles
It’s a bad day whenever a fleet vehicle disappears. Fortunately, routers with active GPS and Auto Vehicle Location (AVL) integration enable cloud access that makes it possible to view location information from anywhere, ultimately avoiding a “dude, where’s my car?” scenario. By automatically uploading location and telematics data to a cloud-based network management platform, location-based services enable administrators to track and trace vehicle locations, even when confronted with a cellular “dead spot.”
Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Service for Mobile and wireless edge routers unlock the power of connected fleets, enabling highly reliable access to applications such as IoT in long-haul trucks, GPS and telematics in service vehicles and delivery trucks, and point-of-sale (POS) and guest Wi-Fi in taxis. Cradlepoint solutions help IT teams and fleet managers better serve customers, improve business operations and save money.