Monday, December 19, 2011

Fleet Management Technology Heats Up

Telematics suppliers in the commercial segment are making strategic moves as analysts predict solid double-digit growth for fleet management technologies. New product rollouts and mergers are occurring as suppliers try to expand their market share.

Many are beefing up product offerings. In November, Networkfleet unveiled its Networkfleet 5000 Series of fleet tracking hardware. Networkfleet 5000 series lets fleet managers monitor vehicle locations and data such as mileage, speed, fuel consumption, and diagnostic trouble codes. That helps them improve operations and reduce costs.

At the same time, TomTom Business Solutions rolled out its TomTom Pro 7150 Truck. The solution gives truck drivers and fleet managers automated routing that analyzes vehicle profiles and road attributes and restrictions. It includes a comprehensive collection of truck attributes, such as weight and dimension limitations to avoid low-bridge clearances, and load characteristics such as HAZMAT restrictions.

These moves follow some consolidations that came as companies moved to expand their offerings. In the spring, Trimble acquired PeopleNet, a provider of integrated onboard computing and mobile communications systems for fleet management. In Europe, Cybit and Masternaut merged to cover the region as a single, focused service provider.

Analysts are bullish on the market, predicting double-digit growth rates. Berg Insight predicts that the number of fleet-management systems deployed in North America will grow from 2.1 million in 2010 to 3.8 million by 2015. In Latin America, deployments are expected to increase from 0.9 million this year to 2.3 million in 2015.

ABI Research expects global commercial telematics equipment shipments to increase from 1.94 million in 2011 to 6.43 million in 2016. Asia-Pacific is set for strong growth, but North America will remain the leading market.

Networkfleet and TomTom are also highlighting user experiences to illustrate the benefits telematics can bring. Campbell Oil Co., an oil and lumber delivery service, reduced vehicle idling and saved $1800 in fuel costs within the first month of implementing Networkfleet. Campbell also reduced speeding, increased on-time deliveries, and streamlined fuel tax reporting.

British cleaning specialist Zenith Hygiene Group, which has 56 cars and 63 trucks, expects to reduce fuel costs by $140,000 a year following the installation of TomTom’s fleet management technology.