How businesses can succeed in the new connected world
Author: Neil Cawse, CEO, Geotab
The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming our everyday lives, and it’s a game-changer for business. With telematics, businesses can connect their vehicles to the cloud. With the data they gather, they can see huge improvements in safety and efficiency, and increase profitability as well.
This is the new way of doing business — data-driven management. The connected device and sensors can tell a manager where a truck has been, who’s driving it, how fast they were going, whether they wore a seatbelt, if there are any engine issues, tire pressure problems, the temperature of the goods being hauled, and much more. This helps the manager make better decisions and react faster.
Connectivity and data provide a huge competitive advantage. As a result, telematics has been adopted by many of the largest fleets in North America and Europe, and is now gaining in popularity in Latin America, South America, and other regions around the world.
Telematics can transmit real-time information back on location, engine status, fuel level, mileage, speed, and many more things. But it’s not just about the data. Like an iPhone, the telematics device opens the door to a whole ecosystem of apps, add-ons, and software integrations — tools for measuring company performance and supporting innovation.
There are three things that companies can do to keep up with the evolving marketplace. 1. Look for open platform solutions. 2. Start small. 3. Create a policy for cybersecurity.
Look for open platform solutions.
Forward-thinking companies look for open platform solutions. What does this mean? Being open platform means that a company has an open architecture and a willingness to collaborate. This is crucially important to any IoT implementation. IoT companies must provide their customers with complete access to their data in a format that can be easily digested, through APIs with fast response times that scale well.
Openness accelerates and fosters innovation. Open platform solutions give customers the ability to leverage insight (aggregate or otherwise) from the Big Data they collect.
At Geotab, we have created the open platform standard for fleet management. Geotab’s telematics data is completely open and easily integrated with other business systems. Hundreds of partners use our software development kit and APIs to integrate Geotab data with systems for maintenance, invoicing, route planning, risk management, and safety.
Geotab collects more than 1 billion data points on a daily basis in our Big Data repository to produce intelligence, helping businesses across every industry become safer and more efficient. We serve as a hub for connecting vehicles to the Internet for business intelligence, not only on that vehicle’s engine data, but also for specialized devices like temperature sensors in reefer units, salt and sand spreading rates for winter operations, or pallet movement through beacons, the list goes on.
How do you know a solution is open platform? Ask your technology provider these important questions:
- What kind of data can you provide?
- Is there a software development kit (SDK) and APIs?
- Is there an ecosystem of third party developers building applications using the SDK?
- Can the solution accommodate my growing business?
This may seem contrary to common sense. But, it’s okay to start small when it comes to starting a new analytics or Big Data project for your business. Many successful companies start by focusing on one area of their business and picking a few things to measure. The metrics will be different for each business, based on their individual company goals. Once you get more proficient, then it’s time to expand.
It’s important to note here as well that you don’t have to do it all yourself. There are experts out there to help businesses get connected and manage their data. This is another reason why finding the right partner in technology/software is essential. Data is meaningless unless you have the proper tools to understand it. Dashboards, custom reports, visualization tools, these things are a must-have for businesses that want to gather and learn from their data. A user-friendly software interface can also help prevent data overload.
Create a policy for cybersecurity.
The IoT is providing incredible value and cost-savings for businesses in terms of data, but it has to be balanced with strong data security and privacy. For any type of connected devices you are using, you should have proper measures for storing and handling the data. Another question that companies should consider is “Who owns the data?”
Check the security policy of your technology providers as well. They should have mechanisms in place to detect and immediately react to vulnerabilities like users passwords being exposed.
Technology is rapidly evolving. IoT data is revolutionizing the way business is done. Companies need to prepare themselves now, to ensure they can remain competitive in the future.
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