Telematics for Fleet Management

Date: Monday February 6, 2012

Telematics for Fleet Management Europe 2012.

Frederic Bruneteau, Managing Director at PTOLEMUS Consulting will be guest speaker at the conference on the 26th-27th March 2012, The Mövenpick Hotel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

What is your role in the fleet telematics market?

PTOLEMUS advises all players, from TSPs to major telematics customers, in their strategy, their innovation management or their business development.

Contrarily to most strategy consultancies, all our consultants have management experience & expertise in this industry. This makes them credible and operational from day one.
We are also often called upon by VCs and private equity funds who wish us to evaluate their target, generally in the context of a commercial due diligence process.

What major advances do you think the telematics industry has made in 2011 relevant to fleets?

Obviously, the European Commission has announced that it will take regulatory measures to make eCall mandatory for all passenger cars (whether company owned or not) and LCVs (Light Commercial Vehicles) by 2015.

This will have a big impact on the uptake of telematics in fleets, as all new LCVs will then be shipped with a black box and a SIM card. This is also likely to increase of OEMs, who will have a big incentive to bundle eCall with many connected services, from traffic information to remote maintenance.

In addition, a major change is the fact that the industry has clearly shown a path towards consolidation. Vector acquiring TrafficMaster; Trimble acquiring Punch Telematix; Francisco Partners acquiring Masternaut (through Cybit)… Scale is increasingly becoming a major factor.

Finally, TomTom Business Solutions’ impressive success shows that the old one-to-one selling approach that the fleet has used may be old-fashioned. TomTom’s indirect channel strategy has worked very effectively. It is also coherent with its low cost, high volume product strategy.

What challenges do you think the industry still faces?

Increasingly, the industry will have to move towards an open ecosystem, i.e. a system comparable to the App Store in the mobile world. From an economic point of vie, it is becoming increasingly complex for TSPs to develop all new products on their own.

A more des-integrated approach, based on open architectures, comprehensive development toolkits and development communities, is required.

Only this move will enable the dramatic cost reduction that many accounts expect to jump to telematics.

What is the key to successful deployment of telematics technology in commercial vehicles in your opinion?

A few prerequisites in our view include:

  • A detailed understanding of the fleet’s operational needs, translated into technical requirements,
  • A cost-benefit analysis of the telematics solution and a technical comparison of the different available systems. This will avoid duplicate investment.
  • A communications policy towards all drivers that emphasises the positive aspects of telematics, for example the fact that delivery staff will arrive earlier at home in the evening
  • An integration with back-office IT systems and management processes.

What key topics or issues you are looking at discussing with the industry at the show and why are they important for moving the industry forward?

  • The integration of traditional fleet applications with now expected B2C services such as navigation, traffic information, speed cameras, local search, etc.
  • The integration with back-office IT systems, notably ERP systems
  • The opening of closed OEM-controlled operating systems and data (notably FMS-related) to outside developers. This was promised by several OEMs in 2011, notably Volvo and Daimler. I will look for evidences this year!

What developments/trends do you see impacting the industry over the next 2-5 years?

  • eCall surely (see earlier)
  • The commoditisation of simple track & trace, which may even become free
  • Combined strong price decreases / volume growth
  • The des-integration of the value chain towards open telematics.