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Emerging Trends in Transportation & Fleet Management

Transportation is becoming increasingly sophisticated as organizations look for new ways to maximize the efficiency and productivity of their fleets to increase profits while serving customers better. Vehicles connected to intelligent software platforms with applications and analytical and reporting tools enable both, allowing fleet managers to not only track their vehicle locations but also monitor driver behavior and quickly respond to information about their performance. These five emerging trends offer future possibilities in the fleet management industry, with the adoption of broadened monitoring, new applications, and greater integration of data within the information economy enabling new business models.

1) Automation

A hands-off approach is the future for everything from maintenance of vehicles to efficiency in fuel use and route planning. Real-time insights can recommend ideal routes and respond to changing road conditions to ensure the fastest arrival. By developing insights from data collected about the vehicle, actions can be automated to not only identify the need for maintenance, but also, potentially allow area shops to bid on the work needed, and if a bid is accepted, schedule it at the shop.

2) Biometrics and Wearables

Beyond outfitting vehicles, fleet managers can also outfit their drivers so the two work in tandem. Biometric verification ensures the right driver is using the right truck every time, while wearables can track drivers’ physical condition to ensure they’re not drowsy or distracted, and provide important notifications while they are outside the vehicle delivering products. Augmented reality can improve driver safety by letting them keep their attention on the road while following routes sent directly to their devices and displayed right before their eyes, and assist with delivery accuracy by verifying the delivery item and location.

3) The Sharing Economy

Consumers increasingly expect to get what they want, when and where they want it, with the push of a button, thanks to services like Uber or 1-hour deliveries from Amazon. Fleet managers can apply similar concepts to enable dynamic dispatch for more efficient and timely delivery and integrate independent delivery contractors into their network on the fly, to expand their fleet capacity as needed. New business models could include roving mobile inventory vehicles that put product on the road instead of in a warehouse, for faster or more frequent delivery.

4) Mobile Apps and Fulfillment

Mobile apps can turn drivers into sales people with the opportunity to cross-sell at delivery. Mobile commerce capabilities can take payments and deliver receipts in the field. Applications can allow drivers access to controlled areas, automatically provide buyers reporting on the delivery, such as the end-to-end temperature record of a meat delivery, and gamify transportation to encourage competition among drivers for safety, fuel use, effective customer service, and more.

5) IoT Beyond Telematics

Vehicles can connect to the broader ecosystem of road infrastructure, such as stop lights, tollbooths, weight sensors, state line sensors, and other vehicles, to help enable an Intelligent Transportation System which delivers significant efficiencies to fleet operators, reducing time and fuel use to get the job done, while improving customer satisfaction.

Vehicles are a crucial part of the supply chain, and they’re becoming increasingly connected and intelligent. With the continuing advancements in technology, vehicles are entering the 21st century and altering what is possible from fleet management, improving efficiency, information gathering, driver behavior, and more.

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