Monday, 6 August 2007

Transport and Mobile Solutions - The outlook

Over the last 18 months we have witnessed significant change in the application of mobile technology in the transport sector. Prior to this recent change, the most prevalent use of technology has been in vehicle tracking. Tracking solutions have been used to assist businesses in making better use of their fleets and as a security measure. These two benefits alone justified the cost of deployment in most cases.

So what is this driving this change?

There are five main reasons for the transport sector demanding more from their mobile technology partners, these are;

· Road Transport working time directive came into effect March 2005
· Employers duty of care responsibilities “Driving at Work”
· Rising cost of fuel.
· Increased road congestion
· Customers becoming more demanding.

As a result of the above, the transport sector is demanding the creative deployment of mobile technology to solve this raft of issues.

So how can technology play its part?

Well, its no longer just about tracking; Its about time usage reporting to assist in compliance with the Road Transport working time directive. Its about process compliance and ensuring that risk assessments are undertaken to meet with the Driving at Work responsibilities. Its about route optimisation to reduce the amount of mileage and avoid congested routes. Its about providing customers with real time accurate data directly back into their IT systems.

This may look like a huge challenge, but the fact of the matter is, this can all be achieved with mobile technology today. However the problem is, to deploy a solution that deals with the five imperatives of the Transport Sector will require several technology partners.

So Tracking, Navigation and Field Mobility vendors need to partner to differentiate their offerings and the wireless networks need to get involved in the passing of real time information to and from the vehicles and mobile devices.

We are starting to see the emergence of such partnerships, but as with all partnerships these will take a while to materialise with fully integrated rich transportation solutions. I believe by Q4 2007 we will start to see the fruits of these partnerships and the step innovation in technology required to deliver complex solutions.

So what about the consumer space?

In the consumer space the demand for Satellite Navigation is growing rapidly and there is currently around 4 million Britons are using personal Satellite Navigation devices to navigate our roads.

As a result of partnerships driving the Transport Sector, the resulting technologies will inevitably find their way into the consumer space. Today’s generation of navigation devices are the first to be connected to real-time information, but the services they offer provide little more than road incidents to be avoided.

Motorists can expect to see a wide variety of useful data flowing into their cars in what is being termed Connected Navigation. This demand will open up a multitude of opportunities for service providers and data aggregators to exploit travellers’ desires for contextual information about local services and points of interest.

This new ‘connected navigation will provide more “intelligent” route planning, using real-time and historical road congestion data to provide dynamic route optimisation rather than the current quickest, shortest route planning.

The adoption of in vehicle mobile technology is set to grow rapidly in both the corporate and consumer space, to such an extent that buy 2010 it is possible that every vehicle manufactured will have “Mobile Inside”

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