As we move towards a more connected world, the Internet of Things (IoT) is starting to become a reality and everything around us is getting smarter. The beating heart of this movement is Machine to Machine (M2M) communication, which allows the machines around us to share and act upon data intelligently and with minimal, or in some cases no human interaction at all. Such automation will have a profound effect on time-saving and cost-cutting for the business of the future. That future is now.
M2M in our daily lives
In our homes and places of work, M2M is already starting to have an effect on our daily lives. Smart TVs, smart thermostats like Hive, and smartphones are already prolific but this is just the beginning. The much fabled Internet fridge came and went right at the end of the dotcom boom and few of us even blinked. Years later, the Internet fridge has almost become a joke. Perhaps we should have paid more attention because the technology behind the IoT is more available and cheaper than ever before.
In the commercial world, M2M is also very much present. Self drive trains like the Docklands Light Railway have been around for several decades and speed cameras with automated ticketing systems are a reality that many fleet managers are aware of.
M2M for fleet managers
M2M is at the core of vehicle telematics systems. Fleet managers are already making use of data sent directly from their vehicles to the back office systems, meaning things can happen automatically such as a job being completed and an invoice sent.
“The new process has allowed us to deliver higher standards of customer service and reduce phone calls by 65%”
TomTom Telematics customer Crossflight have already seen huge benefits from their M2M telematics system underpinned by TomTom Telematics WEBFLEET. By integrating their own booking and dispatch software with WEBFLEET, Crossflight are able to automate the process from customer order to completion. The M2M system has saved time and eliminated several manual processes.
“The new process has allowed us to deliver higher standards of customer service and reduce phone calls by 65%”, says James Kelly, Operations Director at Crossflight.
As the technology becomes more prevalent, fleet managers are likely to find that M2M applications will crop up in other areas of their daily lives. As with most industries, many of the manual tasks undertaken could save fleet managers a lot of time if they were automated allowing the fleet manager to get on with doing what they should be doing: managing the fleet. Systems in the future could be responsible for not only giving you the data you need to perform your job and improve the performance of your fleet, but also managing some of the more time consuming parts of your job such as manually booking vehicle maintenance, distributing jobs to drivers and in the future, and even feeding back information to help the vehicle drive itself.
Five top trends and predictions for the M2M fleet
1. Automated dispatch – With many customer orders placed online, an M2M system will allow for the whole process to be automated from order through to delivery or collection. This saves time taken up by phone calls and emails and could also eliminate several human errors.
2. Better analytics – Integrating your existing systems with your telematics solution will allow much deeper analytics by removing some of the black holes left by manual processes, which will produce much greater insights.
3. Customer integration – Vertical integration of vendor and customer systems will allow for much more efficient order processing and reduce the number of errors caused by upstream/downstream discrepancies.
4. Usage based insurance – Insurance premiums in the future are likely to be based on usage. M2M systems will allow more data to be sent directly from the vehicle to the insurer on driver behavior and in the event of a crash, cutting down on insurance costs such as risk and those associated with first notification of loss (FNOL).
5. Smart alerts – Smart alerts will allow fleet managers and drivers to respond instantly to almost any problem with a vehicle, be it mechanical, electrical, or even if a vehicle is stolen. The ability to be more proactive will improve safety and ultimately reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the vehicle.
For more information on how fleet management technology could have a positive impact on your business operations, take a look at our free Rapid ROI Through Fleet Management Systems white paper.