By Sivi Moodley: CEO Macrocomm Group

While fleet transport remains critical for keeping the wheels of our economic recovery turning, we also have to continuously look at innovative ways to improve the efficiency and overall cost to society and sustainability impact that this has on both a national and global level.

In a recent study published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, transportation contributed 29%  greenhouse gas emissions, with light vehicles and medium to heavy vehicles making up 58% and 24% of that total respectively.

In addition to the negative impact on the environment, South Africa’s road deaths, which average 14 000 every year and are among the highest in the world, have been described as a national crisis by the Automobile association. Over and above this tragedy and loss in human life,  in 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa indicated that this has come at an economic cost of R147 billion.

From a consumer perspective, transport and logistics are a critical component in delivering goods from the point of production to the point of consumption. As a key component of the input cost structure in the retail pricing of consumer goods, the ability to derive efficiency in fleet and transportation economics can also provide a way to curb inflationary pricing of these consumer goods.

The use of digital technologies and stitching together of IoT devices, sensors, monitoring platforms, autonomous workflows are all driven by data and analytics. These improve iteratively using technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning are continually proving to us how we can address the challenges outlined above in a smarter and more intelligent manner.

The remote monitoring of assets allows fleet operators to efficiently monitor vehicles location and condition using IoT sensors and GPS devices to track them. It enables fleet operators monitor the safety of both vehicles and drivers, as well as to ensure timely delivery of goods, reducing the risk of loss, spoilage  and shrinkage. This should ultimately translate to lower prices at the till.

Automation also helps create intelligent transport systems. The ability to  send automated notifications to all the connected devices means that drivers can be informed in real-time in case of rerouting required due to traffic congestions, weather-related disruptions, or for any other reasons. Automation also enables smart fleets to send notifications to the nearby service stations as well as fleet operators in case of breakdowns, or accidents or hijackings.

Real-time data from fleets operations empowers operators to create KPIs and dash boards that give a 360 degree view of fleet operations.  This allows operators to improve on managing fleet efficiency, translating to cost optimization and improvements on the bottom line. In addition to this, additionally, IoT also helps the fleet operators to access better insurance discounts based on driver behaviour, vehicle health and safety metrics.

Perhaps one of the most valuable insight gained from deploying smart IoT fleet solutions is on driver behaviour, since fleet operators business’ performance has a large dependency on how their drivers behave. They can use IoT  to monitor on infringements and  adherence to  standard operating processes, schedules and routes. IoT uses sensors that enable fleet operators to study the engine ON/OFF frequency, braking pattern, accelerator pattern, and even the sleep pattern. It can help drivers stay awake by sending real-time alerts by utilizing image-processing tools that recognize the movement of eyes while driving and alerts as and when required. With Electronic Logging Devices installed on SMART trucks coupled with biometrics, the operators can have a proper record of drivers’ driving hours, which closes the risk gap on safety.

Lastly, no IoT discussion goes without a view on predictive, proactive and preventative management, which is also relevant SMART fleet management. Intelligent reporting, enabled through  advanced systems such as On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) , also works in harmony with the IoT technology. The integration of OBD IoT-enabled connected devices allows fleet operators to remotely acquire key performance metrics on the vehicles diagnostics. Analysis of this data enables fleet operators to perform predictive maintenance of vehicles,  performing repairing and servicing tasks the severe and costly damage has done.

Bringing a this all back to the environment, efficient operations as a result of route optimisation and scheduling on  a national and global level reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that originate from fleet operations.

About Macrocomm

Macrocomm is a premier innovation and technology agnostic led provider of data driven digital solutions. Our solutions are not just focused of connectivity and technology, but they aim to solve societal problems in a Smart Made Simple way. The Macrocomm group of companies play across all stages in the digital value chain including devices, connectivity, platforms, application and software development, systems integration and training and development. This enables us to innovate across the digital value chain to deliver bespoke as well as generic solutions in a manner that leverages both scope and scale. We service a range of verticals including municipalities, fleet, agriculture, facilities management, health, mining, retail and logistics. Our key partners include Vodacom, Sigfox, FAW, University of Stellenbosch, Liquid Intelligent Technologies and Orange.