Telematic and automatic vehicle location (AVL) systems were originally focused on vehicle tracking. These early uses were commonly referred to as “dots on a map” applications. By leveraging the relatively low cost of cellular, a growing number of organizations are harnessing the power of telematics for a variety of business applications.
The growth of telematic applications has directly tracked with improvements in cellular data networks. As these technological advances have occurred, data communications have become easier, and businesses are finding new uses for telematics. This increased use is causing two new issues to arise—data overload and the challenge of using multiple systems.
A common theme we hear from AVL system owners is: “We get so much data that we don’t know what to do with it.” Currently, most companies provide hundreds of canned reports, overloading the ability to glean valuable data to run the business.
The challenge today is not how many reports are provided, but how to focus on the specific information to better manage the business. Clearly understanding the information available and receiving specific reports designed for your needs allows you to gain more insight and value from the system, and communicate actionable tasks in real time. Each specific organization or industry has different metrics or data points that are important to them, and providing reports with personalized data is becoming increasingly important.
The Challenge of Multiple Systems
In the past, one department in an organization might have implemented an AVL system on its own. This worked fine, in part because there were no other systems within the organization that required consideration.
Today, however, we are seeing multiple departments or divisions within an organization each procuring their own single systems for their own individual usage. One department may install hardware to track fuel consumption while another may install different hardware to track the location of vehicles. With multiple systems, the organization faces the following challenges:
- A single vehicle may carry two or even three AVL systems.
- Typically, the organization ends up paying more for multiple incompatible systems.
- When all of the systems are active, the company could be paying for data two or three times over.
- Having multiple, separate systems prevents data sharing and limits the benefits of the investment in the technology.
Gaining a Global Perspective
Having a global view of your telematic systems and data collection methods is becoming increasingly important. When investing in an AVL system, it makes sense for all your departments to come together and create a “Master Wireless Plan.” The plan lays out how the data interfaces to support multiple needs, as well as report types, frequency, and accountabilities for using the data. Utilizing this plan, departments deploying AVL solutions can be assured that their decision will ultimately be fully interactive as defined in the Master Wireless Plan.
A single, integrated system, used across the entire organization can provide integrated reports that can be used across the organization. Also, assigning accountabilities and guidelines for users and managers ensures consistent management of the system by all parties.
By planning for the technology on a larger scale, you can reduce the direct cost to your department or division, reduce the overall cost of the system for the organization, and better plan for expanded use of the technology in the future.
A challenge in many companies is how to conduct the companywide survey and prepare a Master Wireless Plan. Your Parsons team has the expertise and resources to handle all aspects of preparing and, if required, managing the Master Wireless Plan.