The idea of connecting the entire fleet without spending extra on the infrastructure using cloud has managed to gain the attention of quite a few fleet operators. According to Market Research Hub, the IoT fleet management market is estimated to be worth US$15,870.0 million by 2025, with an annual CAGR of 20%.
Why Cloud Computing is Important for Effective Fleet Management
Considering the rapid growth of the fleet and automobile industry, it is vital for every fleet owner to strengthen its core competency by adopting smart technologies, which will generate a greater return on their investments. The modern economy is driven by stiff competition to acquire the major market proportion, which has compelled fleet owners to convert their existing fleet networks into smart fleet networks by leveraging the power of connectivity, configuration, support, and security. An exponential growth has been noticed in the number of business units employing telematics for managing their fleet operations.
When we talk about fleet management units, the major focus is on cost reduction and optimum resource utilization. Fleet owners are in constant search of new ways to shorten their vehicle downtimes and maintain the condition of their fleet. However, while trying to maintain fleet efficiency, they are confronted with their own set of challenges.
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Let us have a look at the major challenges faced by the operators in fleet management and how cloud computing, especially Amazon Web Services (AWS), can be the perfect tool to resolve these challenges.
1. Fleet tracking
Fleets operating in different geographical regions encounter variations in their network signals and face difficulty in updating their existing locations to the central server. Latency and fragmented data further aggravate the issue for the fleet owners, significantly affecting their operation and decision-making process. Besides this, during connection with the cloud, fleet generates an excessive amount of data containing different parameters such as engine data, reporting sensors, and vehicle safety conditions. This data needs to be shared with the cloud for processing and extracting insights related to the operation of the fleet. The amount of time required to transfer the data adds some delay to the process. Since connections cannot be maintained continuously, considering the operation in remote areas, fleet owners are constantly in search of an optimum solution to minimize the connection losses and extract valuable insights from the data generated.
Digital telematics (GPS, data modem, and connection to the sensors) can help in accurate tracking of the entire fleet, with additional functionalities for asset tracking, performance tracking, environmental conditions, and assessing the driver-driving pattern. Edge devices integrated with the cloud at the source is the solution to the challenges faced by the fleet owners. With the hardware sensors like accelerometer and gyroscope available on the devices, motion of the vehicle can be detected with precision. This data can be then shared with software-based sensors, which examines the working pattern, runs analytics, and delivers insights that are vital to ensure smooth operation of those vehicles. This promotes computation of the data near the source, enabling automation and freedom from the need to interact with the central server for making decisions.
2. Infrastructure management
It becomes an arduous task to manage and maintain the physical IT infrastructure, which does not generate any revenue for the fleet owners. Employing skilled workforce who can manage the infrastructure will increase the cost and complexity of the organization. Nowadays, business units are looking for ways to channelize their major operations and outsource the supporting activities. This approach allows teams to focus on their core competencies and delivers value to their customers.
With cloud computing, fleet management units can get rid of the physical infrastructure and have access to virtual machines that are provided by the cloud service providers. These machines can be exercised for data storage, data processing, and for providing necessary computing power for running their applications. These can benefit fleet owners in terms of reduction in cost, time, and space required. Further, this infrastructure can be transformed into web-based application SaaS (Software as a Service), which provides the flexibility to operate from both the user and the client’s end.
Fleet owners invest time and money in their IT Infrastructure to facilitate connections with their fleets operating in remote areas. Traditional infrastructures can be upgraded only to a certain level given the constraints in terms of space, time and money.
AWS Cloud eliminates the limitation as it has the flexibility to scale as per user’s requirement with a provision of pay as you use, thus eliminating complex license process.
4. Effective utilization of data
With the enormous amount of data related to fleet locations, vehicle conditions, assets, and drivers, it becomes difficult for fleet administrators and teams to analyze this data for delivering valuable insights. Although, data available in such abundance clearly provides opportunities to monitor every aspect of fleet operations, evaluate areas that require attention and have security over generated data, it can also infect the system with sluggishness if not handled properly. Fleet owners need to effectively manage the incoming data and set up key points, which can alert owners where variations are noticed in comparison to their pre-defined execution.
Devices generating data at the source can be configured to integrate with AWS Greengrass, which facilitates filtration of data as per the requirements. With the flexibility to operate on intermittent networks, the challenge to establish a constant connection with the devices can be eliminated. Real-time monitoring of the devices and analysis of the incoming data stream with Kinesis data analytics help organizations make better-informed decisions as well as increase reliability, connectivity, and functionality of the devices.
As the AWS cloud is equipped with different analytics products and provides the flexibility to set rules in accordance with the user requirement, detailed insights can be gained regarding the status, location, and condition of the vehicle. This information can be used to take corrective actions required in the effective operation of the entire fleet. It can also be utilized in evaluating the areas, which require attention like potential vehicle breakdowns, and provides organizations with a buffer time to make the necessary adjustments and reduce the downtime. In case of an accident, this data can be transferred to the control room and emergency dispatch can be made. Business can leverage from the insights that are derived from the collected data to employ corrective measures and thus improve the bottom line.
Sometimes due to loss of data during the transit, assumptions are made in the absence of concrete details, which can conflict with the present state of the vehicle.
With the help of AWS Dynamo DB, fast and consistent performance can be delivered to the application, which scales as per the application requirement with latency in milliseconds. Amazon Greengrass interacts with the machine at the source, keeps data in accord, and communicates securely even without the internet. It (Amazon Greengrass) ensures Amazon Lambda to compute locally and deliver insights. Stored data can be analyzed by running analytics on different parameters. Representing data via dashboards and visualizations helps in making better decisions, which can indirectly benefit the economy of the organization. Classifying vehicles within the fleet, which require attention and automatic resolution of the critical issues are some of the important features provided by the cloud. Moreover, the availability of real-time data with AWS Cloud can be the game changer for any fleet management unit as it helps them to commit to works, schedule the operations, analyze utilization, ensure smooth operations, and a seamless customer experience.
6. Optimum asset utilization
Businesses always aim to prevent exploitation of resources and try to ensure utilization of available resources up to its full potential.
AWS provides CloudWatch, which can monitor, control, and automate basic common components of the cloud environment. It provides a simplified user interface allowing users to access detailed information about the utilization of the resources and track discrepancies during the operation. AWS Cloud has four management tools that can work and integrate together with AWS platform. It facilitates modeling of the entire infrastructure, standardizes it, establishes compliance, monitors user activities, and tracks the space utilized for different operations. Thus, the user can have complete control over the environment.
7. Integration with existing system
Fleet owners often neglect the need to upgrade their infrastructure considering the massive overhaul they will be undergoing. This also includes training of their employees with the new state and it consumes cost and time of the company – two vital resources, which every company wants to have a control on.
With AWS Cloud, organizations do not need to change the existing infrastructure and this enables them to continue with their existing system. This helps in reducing the cost and training required for the new infrastructure. AWS Storage Gateway can bridge the connection between the on-premises software and the cloud, which results in a significant cost reduction and time for the organization. Data stored in the existing systems will be backed in AWS intrinsic products (Amazon S3) which can also be retrieved back if required. The products are so designed that they filter the data in accordance with their requirement, regions, frequency of their usage. The platform enables smooth harmony between the systems, thereby guaranteeing low cost and faster service.
Data is gold for any organization, and its security can never be overlooked. With different vendors available, there are often data leaks, which could be potentially dangerous for the organization.
AWS Cloud provides several built-in architectures and firewalls with Amazon VPC. Users can work in an isolated region of the cloud and exercise complete control over their networking environment like IP Address, regions, etc. It also provides various connectivity options considering the region to be exposed publicly. Besides, the security features can also be scaled up after considering the volume of data the organization deals with and can carry out a number of compliance requirements to meet the security standards of the entire infrastructure.
9. Access Control
Fleet owners and drivers are constantly worried about the information related to their fleet and assets, especially when they are in motion. Moreover, the unavailability or a slight delay in accessing data can result in a huge loss.
With cloud computing, they can access the cloud from any device (tablets and smartphones), any time, without worrying about the operating systems. The devices are authenticated to prevent any intrusion, maintain security and accessibility of the entire operations and take necessary control actions without any delay.
With these features, cloud computing provides ample benefits which can help fleet management companies to transform their existing infrastructure into smart fleet infrastructure and create value for their customers.
eInfochips, an Arrow Company is an AWS advanced consulting partner and has also partnered with other cloud service providers like Microsoft Azure, IBM Watson, and Mindsphere. Due to the widespread expertise in cloud platforms, eInfochips’ cloud landscape has extended to various industry verticals. Also, eInfochips is providing end-to-end IoT solution development from edge-to-cloud. Our gateway framework enables reliable and scalable edge connectivity to devices while ensuring a secure cloud communication.
To know more, download our IoT Gateway brochure or get in touch with our team.