June 2014

Fleet Management News & Business Info | Commercial Carrier Journal

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COMMERCIAL CARRIER JOURNAL | JUNE 2014 41 technology M ark Botticelli entered a conference room in PeopleNet's headquarters in Minnetonka, Minn., with the Google Glass, one of many high-tech devices that potentially could be part of PeopleNet's next-generation Precision Mobility platform. While the high-tech eyewear currently costs $1,500, it likely will become more affordable with time. Fleets and drivers someday may want to use the technology to conduct pre-trip inspec- tions, Botticelli said. Instead of noting any defects on paper or by punching keys on mobile devices, drivers could use simple eye movements and verbal cues to capture content as they walk around vehicles. Inspections are one of many examples of how connected devices – or the "Internet of things" – already have made an im- pact in the transportation industry. Electronic control units, tire sensors, roll stability control and lane de- parture warning sys- tems, video recorders, onboard computers and smartphones already are used to capture and transmit data in and around the vehicle. In developing the Precision Mobility platform, PeopleNet is taking a new approach for managing the growing amount of data being generated at the vehicle level. Most telematics providers, PeopleNet included, traditionally have used a direct connection between their proprietary in-cab mobile devices and applications and their own data centers. While this model works, it can be fairly complex when trying to create a custom integration, workflow or application for the cab or the back office. More telematics providers now are using a "bring your own device" (BYOD) or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model where they use "dumb" devices connected to the vehicle's data bus to capture and forward data to servers in the cloud. With this approach, "there is no intelligence in the cab and no opportunity to do real-time anything," said Botticelli, PeopleNet's chief information officer. "Our approach is that you want to do as much as you possibly can within the cab before you deliver it." PeopleNet, now celebrating 20 years in business, will stay true to its roots and provide a fully supported enterprise platform. This involves a deep commitment to developing and supporting its own hardware, cellular network and mobile applications. One advantage of deploying its own in-cab hardware rather than leveraging consumer-style devices is to distribute pro- cessing power to the truck in order to "generate higher-value data and deliver that data to the cloud," Botticelli said. PeopleNet also plans to make its hardware and software applications easier for integration by adding new "publish and subscribe" message brokers to its in-vehicle gateway and – for the first time – to a public cloud rather than its own private data center. "Anyone who has useful information within the cab can publish that data to our gateway, and then anyone who is sub- scribed to that data will get it immediately," Botticelli said. PeopleNet already has released some of the components of its new Precision Mobility platform and will be adding more soon. MAKING THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS WORK FOR YOUR FLEET BY AARON HUFF technology AARON HUFF is Senior Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. E-mail or call (801) 754-4296. CONNECTED DEVICES: PeopleNet's Precision Mobility platform will connect with the "Internet of Things." PROPRIETARY HARDWARE: Processing power can stay local to deliver higher value data. INFORMATION FOR ALL: The "Publish and subscribe" approach makes integration faster and easier. Fast forward PeopleNet prepares for the future of fleet mobility Brian McLaughlin, president of PeopleNet, shows the latest PD.4 display device and vehicle gateway at the company's headquarters in Minnetonka, Minn.

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