Traditionally GPS tracking service companies have been primarily focused on mobile asset security and transport logistic. However, vehicle tracking has been one of the oldest fields in which M2M and IoT applications have been applied. Applications can be as simple as to locate a vehicle, to more advanced and proactive solutions such as remote immobilization, restricting use of vehicles, monitoring driving behavior, speed control, routing, cargo efficient handling and integrity.
Current trends in the industry are exposing the capacity or limitations of GPS tracking devices to escalate interaction with different elements.
The motives for a vehicle owner or fleet manager in regard to the integration of GPS technology may be well related to the potential of running efficient transport logistics, saving money, optimizing the use of vehicles, good maintenance and security value-added services. Current trends in the industry are exposing the capacity or limitations of GPS tracking devices to escalate interaction with different elements. Perhaps, the most important value in DCT’s (Digital Communications Technologies) nineteen year of experience, is the validation of the unique vision and development of a device capable of interacting with multiple accessories, sensors, ecosystems, and technologies. DCT’s current Syrus 3G Bluetooth device series, resembles more a smart gateway rather than a tracking device. To call a Syrus device a tracker, would be similar to calling a smart TV, a simple monitor screen. We have learned that the largest limitation in the GPS tracking business, is the primary purpose for which the hardware device is being built for.
The tracking industry must now move into the development bench. TSPs (tracking service providers) need to think like developers
To overcome the rapid technological development and expanding universe of connected things, DCT had to evolve its mindset, from a hardware manufacturer perspective, and think as a service provider. Once the location of an asset has been identified, the need to have a direct interaction with the asset and its surroundings becomes evident. A vehicle’s location may be identified, but confirmation that an authorized or assigned driver is present may be needed. It may be necessary to know the status and integrity of the cargo. If it’s perishable cargo, and needs to be in a specific temperature range, it may be critical to have accurate temperature readings all the way through. The list may go on and on; so the tracking industry must now move into the development bench. TSPs (tracking service providers) need to think like developers; they need to be familiar with functionalities, and tools, not just finished solutions or business models. The capacity for a TSP to adapt its business model according to the market’s demand will depend on the flexibility of the hardware, software and management tools it has available. Few TSPs or fleet managers would say today, that their solutions are not in danger of becoming obsolete. They are constantly challenged by demands that are moving more and more into the interaction of many other systems. Complexity is increasing, yet great opportunities arise with staggering amounts of data that can be analyzed in real time. This offers great opportunities as in-depth analysis, is becoming the foundation for new business models, newly added value services that help run vehicle operations more efficiently, better safety and security, as well as saving more money. Challenging needs, as well as specialized knowledge, come from different backgrounds. Unless a growing development community gets active into solving problems, the GPS tracking business will continue offering the same old limited solutions. Local interaction and edge intelligence must also scale to the level of access and communication with other systems.
Where does the industry stand in taking advantage of the IoT revolution?
The GPS tracking industry correlates this constant interaction between GPS tracking devices with sensors, cloud-based servers, monitoring stations, warehouses, driver’s inputs and data analysis, with IoT Interoperability. IoT which stands for, Internet of Things, aims to interrelate connected devices and their capacity to transfer data as well as to execute actions without requiring human interaction. GPS tracking devices have been doing this, at a certain level, even before the term was brought to the stage. Devices are configured with a set of instructions and conditions that run locally on the edge, just as any operating system would do on any computer. The unit constantly checks its surroundings within its hardware capacity and reports accordingly. This communication and check-in process with cloud servers, is used to evaluate the data in real-time, make conclusions and send instructions back to the unit. This process is normally done without human intervention. Here is evident, the importance and value of a unit that is capable of interacting with many sensors and accessories, with as many ports and protocols as possible, and be able to communicate and interoperate with other ecosystems. The challenge is, how to be able to interact among such a wide range of elements without having to reinvent the wheel. The main reason for the creation of DCT’s centralized backend system (Pegasus Gateway), is to forward data to different third party platforms and development. Pegasus is the heart of DCT’s advanced ecosystem for fleet automation and productivity. It comprises a complete RESTful API architecture and development tools for Syrus. It simplifies the complexity of hardware protocols and interaction with other ecosystems, without having to dive deep into development & research in solutions, that are already available in other technological verticals.
What is the future of GPS tracking service providers?
TSPs need to evolve and become ready to interact with other industries. Technology is moving to a level of “connected things.” This is pushing TSPs to move fast into exploring ways to share communication and interaction of their systems with other systems. Some time ago, the value was defined in the specialization of a specific vertical. Fleet Managers would provide specialized reports related to distance/fuel cost, permanence, driver behavior and any other performance indicators related to tracking. Security applications would be designed to recover a vehicle, or more pro-actively stop vehicles from being stolen. Nowadays, these inputs need to be considered more broadly. They need to be considered as part of a greater ecosystem. For example, government agencies may request specific data to be sent to a centralized system, which in turn may interact with smart traffic systems or law enforcement agencies. In the private sector, for example, distance traveled and performance indicators may be shared with gas companies to audit fuel efficiency as well as to integrate value-added services, such as contracted maintenance. Panic buttons and S.O.S. signals which were managed locally at the TSP’s monitoring centers are now part of interconnected systems that include, road assistance services, law enforcement, emergency centers, or health services. End users are also demanding, more and more, interoperability among different connected services and social media engines. End users, will not expect to see tracking services of their vehicle as an isolated piece of their budget. Fleet managers will expect more and more automated processes with less human interaction. New Regulations will force fleets to comply with increasingly interconnected demands.
Great opportunities lie ahead, but the GPS tracking industry needs to start building “the outlets for the new appliances that will become available.”