- Doug Shrier, VP Continuous Improvement and Program Management, Covenant Transportation
- Thiag Loganathan, President of Data Solutions, DMI
- Raj Paul, VP IoT & Connected Services, DMI
Panelist Introductions (3:25)
Covenant Transportation Group Introduction (6:51)
Market Landscape (10:33)
DMI & CTG Together (20:30)
Panel Discussion (26:25)
Leveraging DMI (34:40)
Key Takeaways (41:46)
Audience Q&A (45:15)
Video Link: Redefining Asset Management in the IoT Era
Josh: Good morning everyone and welcome to another DMI webinar. We’re excited that you’re with us. Today’s session is titled, Redefining Asset Management in the IoT Era. My name is Josh Burkhead, your moderator and organizer for today’s webinar, which is brought to you by DMI, and in partnership with Covenant Transportation Group.
Over the next hour, we will cover what many organizations are currently exploring, more specifically asset management implementation. Additionally, we will dive into the first steps with IoT in 2017, a panel discussion, and a live Q&A. For those of you who may be new to us, I’d like to take a brief moment to introduce DMI. DMI was established in 2002 and has recently acquired Lochbridge, entering the connected car and IoT market.
We are known as a global leader in end-to-end mobility with a client base including hundreds of Fortune 1000 commercial clients and all 15 US federal departments. DMI’s set of wide-ranging capabilities include managed mobility services, mobile strategy, omnichannel commerce, enterprise collaboration, and much more. To learn more, visit DMinc.com.
As a quick reminder, a link to the recording of today’s webinar will be made available and emailed to you within the coming week. We have a dedicated page on Vimeo with resources, including webinars, executive perspectives and more, all of which are available to you at no cost. Visit the URL on the screen to get started.
Let’s take a moment to ensure that everyone is ready and familiar with the webinar control panel. First, you should have a control panel on the right side of your screen. You may minimize this panel by clicking on the red arrow button on the upper left-hand corner of the control panel. You can expand this panel by clicking the same button.
Second, you have the ability to submit questions using the chat pane located near the bottom of the control panel. Throughout our presentation, we encourage you to type in your questions and comments using the questions pane. I will be gathering all questions and comments during the presentation. We will also be opening up the discussion during the last 15 minutes of the presentation to answer any of your questions.
To start today’s session, we’ll launch a poll to gauge your current pursuit in IoT. We will hear a little bit from each of our panelists. Then we’ll introduce Covenant Transportation Group and hear a little background on the trucking industry. We’ll review DMI’s impact in CTG’s journey and the current market landscape, as well as an asset management overview and common problems. We’ll review a plan how you can get started in asset management harnessing the power of IoT.
We’ll rap up with an audience Q&A, so have those questions ready. This is your chance to directly engage experts who are here to help you drive success in your organization. Okay. So as I mentioned before, we’d like to start by asking you a question, and that question is, “How would you grade your organization’s current approach to asset management?”
Please go ahead and select an answer now. We’ll give you a few moments to make your selection. Answers range from A) excellent, to F) seeking immediate improvement. Okay, thank you for your responses. It looks like we’ve got answers ranging all the way from the top to the bottom, with many people falling kind of in the middle, average and seeking improvement. Okay. Doug, I’ll hand it off to you to start our introductions.
Doug: Thank you. My name’s Doug Schrier. I’m the vice president of Continuous Improvement and Program Management for Covenant Transportation Group. I’m also the vice president and general manager of Driven Analytic Solutions, one of the seven business units underneath CTG. My email is on the screen. Feel free to email me with any questions you may have after the event.
Where I got my start in transportation is I started with CTG as a consultant in 2010 and never left, co-founded DAS, Driven Analytic Solutions, in January of this year. Prior to working in transportation as a consultant for Dewolff, Boberg and Associates, where I had an opportunity to work on a bunch of Fortune 500 consulting engagements, from nuclear to heavy manufacturing, to some not so big organizations such as poultry and beef processing. With that, I’m going to hand that over to Thiag.
Thiag: Thank you, Doug. Pleasure joining you today. I, Thiag Loganathan, lead the data solutions for DMI, IoT and Analytics Division at DMI here. Prior to that, I had founded a data and analytics consulting company in 2007, which got acquired by DMI four years ago. As part of my professional journey, I started as an application developer in 1997, found my way into data and BI when I was at Fifth Third Bank.
Then, I was part of the consulting team with the SAP Business Objects for a few years before founding Kalvin Consulting in 2007. There I work with customers like Doug in helping them lay out the strategy of leveraging IoT and analytics, and also executing that strategy. Raj?
Raj: Yep. I’m Raj with Lochbridge, which was recently acquired by DMI. I’m responsible for IoT and connected services portfolio, responsible for their IT development and go-to-market strategy around IoT. As far as my professional background is concerned, I spent most of my life in the connected car space and automotive space.
Being headquartered in Detroit, we do a lot of business with most of the auto OEMs in Detroit and outside of Detroit as well. Most of my journey has been in the connected world in the automotive space and trying to bring that experience into the larger IoT space and how connected products can be used when we’re going to talk about asset management today, but all the potential use cases, how smart connected products can add value to the business. That’s my focus.
Josh: Excellent, thanks Raj. We’ll now hear from Doug as he introduces Covenant Transportation Group and provides an overview of the trucking industry.
Doug: Thank you. Overall, from a trucking company standpoint, CTG is a top 50 provider within transportation. We operate within expedited where we’re the second largest team carrier. Temperature control, we’re the 12th largest refrigerator-based carrier. Logistics services, including dedicated services, in addition to that, we also operate a factoring company or financial services, a brokerage, and equipment sales and leasing organization.
Overall trucking, a great way to think about trucking is the ATA calls it the lifeblood of the US economy. 70% of all tonnage of freight in the US moves by trucks and within the truckloads space. CTG’s primary vision, or one of our primary visions, is to strategically use technology to successfully drive business operation using process implemented by experts and visionaries.
We want to be what we call a problem solver to all of our customers. We do this by focusing on three key areas: organizational excellence, focusing on our driver’s safety and experience, our professional drivers for our asset-based organization are our lifeblood of how we move our freight. Without them no freight moves.
Finally focusing on problem solving for our customers. Again, part of our mission, and we’ll talk about that later, to be a problem solver for all of our customers. As we’re resolving the problems internally, we also may look to monetize some of those solutions through our final business unit, which we launch here in January of this year, driven analytics solutions.
On the next slide, you’ll see some of the product offerings that we currently offer through driven analytics solutions. We’re really focused, with the initial launch, on driving safety and retention engagement from our professional drives. Underneath the safety offering we had a couple of key ones, predictive modeling in which we can analyze the big data within our system. All the information comes back from our IoT, our operating systems and DMS’s, to determine the drivers that are most at risk and intervene with them successfully.
Predictive weather, riding our trucks around snow and ice accumulation on the roads. Making sure that they’re on safe and passable roadways throughout the US. Dispatch compliance, ensuring that we can account for every mile that we drive. Minimize the miles that we don’t need to drive to reduce our overall risk. Maximizing hours of services, ensuring our drivers understand what it means to be compliant. Ultimately, through this, we do this through driver coaching and a bunch of GEO services.
Then on our professional driver engagement and retention, we ultimately use that same big data analytics to determine the drivers who are mostly likely to leave us and to intervene with them to get them to stay longer. We also really changed the way that our TMS operates as well through what we call a Driver Relationship Manager, in which we take our drivers, or professional drivers, or main assets, and put them at the central of our value stream. We also offer driver scorecarding and some mobile app components to make the professional drivers’ experience, out there on the road, easier.
Josh: All right, thank you very much, Doug. What does the current market landscape truly look like? To examine just that, let’s kick it off with this question. What are the trends that you’ve observed in asset management since the advent of IoT?
Doug: That’s interesting. I was reading an article in Forbes that both stated some facts from Bain and McKinsey. Bain stated that by 2020 annual revenue from IoT vendors will grow to over $470 billion. As this grows, the number of devices rapidly grow as well. What we’re seeing, from the time that I started within heavy transportation and truckload, to today is our organization has seen more devices added to each one of our assets.
Our normal asset combination, which consists of a truck and a trailer, used to just have one IoT device on it. That was an onboard computer that we used to communicate back and forth with the driver and to track where the actual truck was. Now, if I look at it today, on most of our units we have four to seven distinct independent IoT devices.
As you can image, with all this data that comes in, it’s about how we take that data, turn that knowledge into knowledge, and ultimately turn that knowledge into value for our main stakeholders. There’s a huge opportunity that lies ahead here as the IoT continues to grow. Some of the products that we are offering through DAS are using that IoT information and are really set to drive that conversion from data to value there. Ultimately we are working with vendors too like DMI.
They have a lot of experience within IoT to take some of our thoughts and turn them into actions and helping us unlock values there. This is one of the main reasons why I think McKinsey and Bain both are projecting IoT growth so much is because of the value you can unlock within your current supply chains.
Thiag: To kind of add to Doug’s point, while lots of IoT devices are happening because of a combination of decreasing costs of both connectivity, cheaper sensors, and storage, there is also a continuous trend in how that’s having an impact in asset management. If you go to the next slide please, George.
We’ve been seeing this happen over the past few years, and absolutely accelerated in the past couple years, since the emergence of next-end data platforms, especially cloud-based even. While the innovation and technology is progressing rapidly, certain industries are getting disrupted more than others. Some of the industries which are generally lagging behind, they need a change agent.
This is where it was very opportunistic that we met somebody like Doug, who is betting on next-end asset management earlier and then looking to leverage IoT and data to improve asset management and overall business performance for Covenant. Apart from just Covenant, also looking at the trucking industry on a whole. Doug, as you looked at this industry, the opportunity I had considering the sensors and data that we are collecting, what were the business drivers and events which led you to get started, Doug?
Doug: You know it was interesting that prior to being in transportation I was in a bunch of different industries. When I walked into transportation day one I thought that hey moving a truck from point A to point B really can’t be that difficult. Then I got into it and I figured out the issues that are … within the transportation supply chain as we look at it today, the impacts with traffic and congestion, the impacts of road construction, the impact of weather, the impact of the fact that the assets are moving by humans.
They’re driving them down the road. We want to be as safe and as efficient as possible. When we started to look at all of our problems, and what we were experiencing, a lot of the solutions came back to using data that was currently in place or finding a way to get more information from that truck back to our home base so that we can then take that and use that to resolve our problems.
For instance, we’re in the middle of installing over 2,000 IoT-based devices on our reefer units, our refrigerated trailers, so that we can monitor the temperature of the trailers and the product within the trailers real time and be able to make changes to it if it’s outside of spec.
Whereas prior to that, you would show up to a customer site and you would have hoped that whatever you were hauling that remained, needed to remain cool, did in fact stay cool. The product would be offloaded off the truck, temperatures checked, and frequently that could be out of range.
With IoT-type devices, for that example, for that example, we were able to reduce the amount of damages to product, our customer’s product, by ensuring that the temperatures are always within spec. There’s a multitude of other things that we have. We talk about the IoT devices with that, but also trailers. We’re, all of our trailers we have, we’re 6,000 trailers across the US, where are they?
What are the conditions of them? What units or tractors are they attached to? How do you manage that very extensive set of assets so that it’s optimal? Do we really need 6,000 trailers across the US or could we survive with 5,500? Those are key business decisions that we need to make on a daily, weekly, monthly basis and the IoT devices and overall the technology devices help us do that.
How we do this, a little bit more in detail, is we really have ROIs or centers of values that we look at. As we look at these we ultimately are looking at where are stakeholders needs, where our stakeholders are having current problems. As our mission states we seek to be a problem solver for all of our customers. The issue that we have is that all of our customers have different problems.
Thiag, I know you know about this as you helped other customers and industries unlock and answer their problems, but we have all these problems that we have coming at us from our customers and our stakeholders. We have to selectively choose which ones we work first, second, third, fourth, and fifth. The ROI and value center helps drive that and drive which projects we’re going to work on first.
Thiag: That’s interesting you say that, Doug. Over the past seven – eight months, the way we have gone at this, even though we started with a combination of business alignment and agility, right KPI standardization, you were always going to go after operational excellence, right? Unlocking value in trailers.
We spoke about asset management. Eventually it’s about all these different areas where it can all come together and increase the value being generated for the different value centers and stakeholders within the organization. Thank you for that narrative.
Doug: Yes. Yeah, I would add as we answer these problems, like we’re doing with DMI and using DMI to accelerate it, we ultimately look to those solutions to market through the driven analytic solutions, so and through joint ventures with partners like DMI.
Josh: Yeah, Doug, and that’s a great point that you’ve bought up. Would you mind describing what CTG was ultimately looking to achieve and what role DMI played in that?
Doug: Sure thing, so ultimately what we’re looking to achieve here is to resolve our customer’s, our stakeholder’s problems, and we’re working hard to live that mission.
DMI really helps us accelerate that growth. When we can’t do things internally as fast as we want them to be, because we have so many problems within the current supply chain, then partners like DMI that have area expertise help us accelerate that approach.
Thiag: To add to it, apart from the capabilities that Doug was referencing too, there’s always the element of timing if you will. We met Doug at the right time as he was working to get some basic processes and business alignment in place. It was a nice happenstance wherein we were able to chat about his strategy and vision.
Doug being a consultant in the past, he, not just talked about the tactical engagement we got in. He shared the vision and the hurdles he was having. That helped us lay out a path of how our past experiences and some of the acceleration frameworks we have, can help Doug leverage his expertise in trucking industry and also leverage our acceleration framework to be able to execute a strategy in a faster timeframe.
Especially some of these stories we had related to Bombardier, a train manufacturer in London, wherein we had an API-based framework where the datasets can be leveraged, not just by internal customers, but also by external customers to do data-driven applications and business decisions along with the experience of building an Uber-like app for Allison Lee in UK. All of this not only validated some of Doug’s vision, but also helped them add components as to where he could take the strategy he had and then the vision for the market. Anything you could add to that Doug?
Doug: Yeah, I would tell you that as someone that’s actively in seeking the problems that are currently happening or the waste within the supply chain or the lack of visibility within the supply chain, you stumble across all these problems. It’s your expertise, DMI’s expertise, that helps unlock that. One of the things that working with DMI has helped us is really taking a problem. We know we have this problem. We know how we operate within this space.
We know what our paradigms are within transportation, but DMI bringing in a whole different set of paradigms and a whole different perspective, so when we came out with an ultimate solution, instead of an incremental improvement within this space, such as the trailer management thing, we’re actually coming out with a break-through improvement that really helps align, allocate, utilize the entire trailer force.
As I talk to other carriers, who are struggling with the same thing, I’m seeing them really attack incremental changes instead of having partners like DMI help attack what ideally, what if we did this and had to design this from scratch, what would it do? What would that break-through look like and drive that break-through improvement to the organization.
Thiag: We were able to serve Doug in a manner that … Instead of starting from scratch, I believe this is what you were alluding to, we were able to leverage our existing asset management framework, IoT framework, which has got a lot of these base foundational objects and data structures and interactions and connectivities already established.
We were able to focus on the customizations, business application, interaction points, specific to Covenant and trucking industry, really just expedites in a go-to-market learning factor and then tweaking the system, because we had the basic functional components in place like in a cycle for interfaces, we thought in our administrative functions, foundationally it’s a meta-data driven application, architecture-application framework.
There are data structures, basic analysis, visualizations in place. There is also connectivity in place to interconnect with the assets. Now we have to customize tweak them to fit with the fleet of Covenant. Certain business interfaces, both expose as APIs and then visualizations available, which we are customizing it to fit Covenant’s business systems.
Then we have plans to make it available not just for covenant but for the entire tracking industry, taking into consideration the other potential business systems, which are in the ecosystem. I believe this is very helpful in expediting our go-to-market as we … One of the key things with IoT and big data is it’s not a solid science yet. It’s about how fast we learn and evolve. I would say we are in very good shape with regards to that.
Josh: Thank you Thiag. What was the discovery process like to identify CTG challenges and potential solutions?
Thiag: That’s a good question, Josh. It’s important to get started right. We emphasize on the right construct for discovery. Again, I mentioned this about Doug’s background in consulting, that was very helpful to have a partner who understood the value in having the right construct for discovery. He enabled the DMI team to have various interaction points through workshops and knowledge-sharing sessions and working sessions for our collective team to first focus on establishing a common understanding of challenges and sets this criteria.
Once we had that in place, then it was a little easier to discuss the solution options and then which path we were going to take. We were able to leverage the prototypes and sample data to get into the solution option that we’re progressing now. How was the experience from your perspective, Doug?
Doug: It was very enjoyable, eye-opening. I tell you, and we struggle with this internal, I’ve struggled with this as a consultant, and it was really hard to put people in a room and get them to forget about their paradigms and to process flow something out and be objectively about what we’re planning to do.
DMI was very good in that standpoint. They helped us see things that maybe our thought patterns or habits prevent us from seeing. I think we got the ideal solution out by having a selection of partners together talking about what the issues were, what the solutions may be, and modeling that out and coming up with a holistic approach to trailer and asset management.
Josh: Yeah, so finding the right partner is one thing, but how can somebody get started in asset management and IoT? It seems like this could be a difficult thing to initiate from the ground level.
Thiag: That’s a very good question, Josh. It’s a lot of the times people focus on technology platforms and tools. It’s really not about that. It’s really about what are the processes we’re going to change? What are the value centers we’re going to go after?
Doug mentioned this a few minutes ago about prioritizing. More often than not there are hundreds of challenges. It is about which two, three, five, use cases we’re going to prioritize based on a combination of an opportunity to improve potential value. What data is available? What is collectable? The engineering challenge is … Having a view of all of these elements is going to help determine roadmap and where we get started.
Now if you go to the next slide, Josh. I just want to emphasize the hardest problem is in technical at all. There is plenty of really good engineers out in the market and the techies to do the plumbing, to do the setup, to make sure data is collected, and to make sure it’s being consumed and used and all of that. The hardest problem is really the synergies and partnership between business leaders, business analysts, and the techies to be on the same page, to be able to prioritize, focus on the value, which is going to get created.
Josh: Thiag, do you want to talk about how you would move forward from this point?
Thiag: Yes, please. It is about … If you go to the next slide please, Josh.
Thiag: Yeah, so it is about laying that in a strategy if you will, as in you have the needs. What are the assets that we going to focus on? What data is/can be collected? How is that data going to be used? Then you have a business plan as to how can I internally, as part of my business processes, how can it align with the processes and policies we have. There is a life cycle for an asset. There is risk and compliance.
Then we set and established targets, that is incremental, that is achievable, along with a roadmap. Having that strategy and roadmap in place is the starting point. Once you have that in place, then if you go the next slide please Josh, it is about the technical framework. The technology and framework, we want to think from the aspect of integration and API-first framework, components, because technology is evolving so fast.
It’s not settled down by any means. We want to think in architecture where it is components, and some replaceable, some just can get added. The key phrases being API first, data-captured security. You don’t see it but it’s there, very important. Then in micro services architecture, and then think of all of them, all interaction points being interfaces, so that way interfaces can get modified and also additional interfaces can get added as the program rolls.
If we go to the next slide it is a high-level swim lane type of an architecture which gives the view of how data flows from the assets and connected devices all the way left. That’s where the harder engineering happens. We focus on connectivity, getting the data right. More often than not today, when it comes to asset management, there is the generation one where we’re talking about reading, gen two, where we are writing back to the assets and then controlling the assets directly.
That’s got a little bit more complexity when it comes to security. When it’s reading it is at least comparatively little less complex. Read, connect, and then bring it all together and build algorithm systems, set it up in a manner that it launches itself, self-learning, machine learning. Then have them connected into interfaces business application so that we can get the value out, the outcomes which we have focused on. That is kind of in a nutshell how to get started and then move forward incrementally, Josh.
Josh: Excellent, thank you Thiag. Thiag, in your view, why are clients seeking out partners like DMI to execute an IoT?
Thiag: We touched on it briefly earlier. It is about this phase, it’s an evolving phase for IoT and data landscape. There are specific subject matter expertise requirements in industries. There is specific knowledge-based required from a technology implementation partner perspective.
DMI, because of our past experiences, and also as being a specialty-focused forum, which focuses on IoT data and mobility more so than others, not a generalist, that helps. Apart from that, a specialist team like what Raj is leading, and maybe Raj you can add a little more to our story, why are we a good partner to work with?
Raj: Sure, as you mentioned, we recently got acquired by DMI. If we look at the collective experience our organizations bring together, people have been talking about mobile apps for a long time, but there were … There’s a bit difference between mobility and mobile apps.
DMI brings in a lot of the mobility experience, a complete end-to-end capability. Now with IoT and connected car experience, which we’ve been to the table, I think the connective experience is pretty valuable. We bring in both technical capability but also the business consulting capability which helps pulling in solutions like this much quicker.
I think we talked about, quite a bit about, how can we build a real-time enterprise? The way I look at it is when it comes to asset management in particular, how can I get real-time visibility into my assets out there? How can I go to market at a much faster rate?
Josh, next slide, so what we believe in is time to market is very important. Of course there are going to be challenges, technical challenges. Those are solvable challenges. I mean I still have the view that the first gen is about trying to understand the state of our assets, whether it’s where they are, what they are, how are they performing is one.
The next one is controlling or assets. We build that as an organization. We build it on an asset-based consulting model. We have, when we say assets these are IP and axle regulators, which we have build prepackaged solutions, which we feel very strongly that our customers can leverage and then have a much shorter go-to-market strategy.
When we started our IoT journey we took a step back to see okay if we look an end-to-end IoT implementation, it’s about connection to the heads. Then trying to gain intelligence out of the asset or edge device, which we are connecting to. Then using that intelligence to either control the device directly or trying to notify an interested third party or an organization or entity about the asset state and what needs to be done.
We took these common patterns and we have an asset which could take it all the way from the edge, but then I have a very strong data analytics play. What we really wanted to focus on is the business outcomes. I think for the first part of this webinar we focused on the business outcomes and that’s more important, rather than just connecting to a device. What we see there with a lot of our customers is the focus has been quite a bit on connecting to the smart product or asset.
The business process, re-engineering or how to really look at your business process so that you could drive a lot of value by this new intelligence you have gained, that is something we have been focusing on and will be recommending our customers to focus on to drive the maximum value from IoT. That has been a journey and what you see here on the screen is a very high-level reference architecture to which we’ve been building our building blocks or assets to help the customer with this journey.
Next slide, Josh. Fleet management is one such business outcome we have been focusing on. There are multiple facets to fleet management. One is monitoring and then in real-time the asset itself. Then it’s also the consumer of the asset and this scales the driver so we could essentially do driving scoring and risk analytics on top of a traditional monitoring solution. That is something we have as a prepackaged asset, which we bring to the table, like as we’re talking with Covenant, so that they can have a much faster go-to-market. You want to add anything to this Thiag?
Thiag: No, I mean this is some of the items we have been chatting. This is some of the items that Doug is looking to leverage out of the systems I’ll be building for Covenant and for the market, improved utilization of the assets, driver behavior data. Then I think in the roadmap we have compliance and accident related benefits value are in the roadmap to be gained shortly.
The next couple of slides, Josh, is really just a screen shot, visuals, of what our accelerator solution looks like. If you can just move through them. The right time to gain a good understanding of what we have, it’d be appropriate for a demo, if somebody’s interested to reach out we can schedule a demo and then walk them through the solution if you will. This is a mobile view of what we have. The next slide has the driver scoring interface based on driving behavior.
Raj: With this scoring we took more contextual information as we were scoring the driver, not just the driving behavior, because of whether there’s a road condition or the rain, there’s so many attributes which are more contextual in nature, which will help score the driver. We have implemented a scoring algorithm which takes into all of this, rather than typical driving behavior.
Thiag: The accelerators and the framework that we have, it’ll expedite go-to-market for customers like Covenant. Collectively Covenant and DMI will be building together as part of our partnership JV. It’ll expedite go-to-market for the trucking industry, because it is technology and subject matter expertise. That’s what’s required for very specific industry or process specific solutions.
Josh: Thanks guys, so what are some of the key takeaways from this engagement that might serve as good reminders for our audience?
Raj: We talk at length about an intelligent asset management solution and how Covenant is basically doing that as well. One important thing that the world is moving more towards a mobile-based world. Mobile shouldn’t be an afterthought.
I think it should be part of the whole planning phase and should be prioritized along with whether we’re talking about a device integration, a smart product integration, or whatnot, because end of the day, gone are the days of a big process being used to do a lot of this. It’s going to be a lot of it is mobile based. We think that is one thing we recommend our customers to have, get go, from a planning phase to as an implementation strategy.
Doug: From an adoption standpoint, and really what I like to refer to as cash in the check, it’s about making sure that you’re staff and anyone that’s going to relate with the technology have early say in early adoption, that you’re taking into account what they believe they need to do with the situation or the tool, that the UX is intuitive.
Too frequently you’ll see a software come out and the user experience is non-intuitive, and the people will struggle. The company spends fortunes on training, so making sure that all that happens is key. For example, the trailer management here, your main person that’s using trailers is going to be your professional driver.
How do you show that professional driver exactly where that trailer is, where it is on the yard, so they’re not spending time, wasting time, driving around the yard looking for the trailer, when your customer, or their employer, actually knows exactly where that trailer is, so making those mobile app components available to that driver, so they can see it and that they can interact with it in a positive and easy way is key to any adoption.
Raj: To add to Doug’s point, it was interesting as we went through this journey, the users, how they’re multi-lingual, the level of education and technical sophistication is fairly broad. The user experience needs to be designed in a very … in a visual manner, intuitive manner, addressing that broader spectrum of users, which are out there.
To finish the … round it up if you will, the team being … You want to engage with a partner who understands the industry, and specific domain knowledge, understands the complexity when it comes to IoT and data systems, have that knowledge base learnings from past implementations, who ask the right questions, be the partner for you to help you design a game plan which is going to set you up for success.
Josh: Thank you gentlemen. We’ll now move into the audience Q&A portion of the webinar. I’m going to just check and see what questions that we’ve had submitted. We’ve got a question here specifically talking about what cloud environment that this architecture may rely upon. Is it Azure, AWS? What cloud environment is this currently on?
Raj: This currently is on AWS. It could be on Azure or in Oracle Cloud or in SAP HANA Cloud, but we choose to go with the AWS options, because of some of the assets we already have there, also some of Covenant’s current systems being there for easier connectivity. It’s AWS.
Josh: Excellent, another question here submitted by Simon. Four to seven IoT devices per truck were discussed, what is the typical focus of each type of device, for truck, trailer, tech, tachograph? What exactly are the focuses of those devices?
Doug: You have your motherboard, which is your onboard computer. That’s communication, directions, driver feedback. That’s your main communication. It also plugs into the ACM of the truck, so you’re getting in engine defaults and other things on that.
For the majority of our trucks, there’s also a unit deployed in there from the truck manufacturer, which helps the truck manufacturer manage quality from the first mile on, helps them manage the defaults that they’re seeing within their engines, and then their setups, so that they can work with us on providing predictive maintenance sooner, preventative maintenance before it becomes a breakdown. We have that.
You’d have driver’s personal cell phones in there as well, in which with our mobile app usage. We’re using that to communicate with them inside and outside the cab of the truck to gain key pieces of information from them as well with the use of that mobile app. Then the trailer is really about managing security, location, on a refrigerator trailer, really communication with the reefer units.
What’s the fuel level? What’s the current temperature, intake, out-take, so temperature control on those as well? We have a whole bunch of information coming off the truck that feeds through the motherboard or the onboard computer unit. Then we have peripheral IoT devices as well that do a specific thing.
Josh: Doug, this is a great follow-up question here submitted by Benjamin. How do you manage the mobility of assets in an environment where connectivity is a challenge? I would imagine that not all your trucks are moving through the highest populated areas to remain connected. What does that connectivity challenge look like?
Doug: A connectivity challenge generally is not a big deal for us. We do have about a 97% hit rate, which means that when we expect a communication we’re receiving it 97% of the time. There are dead zones, as everyone knows, out in the US, in which you don’t get any data from that.
When we’re not getting any data from the IoT devices we’re using other auxiliary information to manage location, to manage the things we do. If you think about the traffic of goods, the traffic of goods is going to model the traffic of people and where people are congested, and that’s where you’re going to have the best coverage from an IoT standpoint. I think that’s why we’re so good with the coverage rate.
Josh: Excellent, okay, now before we close, Thiag, as we went through a tremendous amount of information today, one of the takeaways that I had was that a lo of this can be applied, not just in the transportation industry, but through so many different kinds of enterprises and backgrounds. Is that true? Is that what you’re seeing right now?
Thiag: Exactly, Josh, the foundational elements of asset management totally transcend industries. While we focused a lot today around trucking industry and what we’re building together with Doug and Covenant, the foundation elements can transcend off managing connected assets. Raj and our team are very much focused on that. We’re looking to leverage the knowledge base that we build over a period of time to serve other industries as well.
Josh: Excellent, I’ll just wrap it up by saying thank you very much for our panelists and you, the attendee, for being here on today’s session. We hope this webinar has helped you think about potential next steps for you and your organization. We’ll be following up with you within the next week with a link to view a recording of today’s webinar as well as a quick survey.
This survey not only helps us discover if you found this session valuable, but also gives you the opportunity to take that next step towards a free one-on-one discussion with a DMI expert to review your current challenges and game plan for future success. This comes at no cost or obligation to you. We look forward to speaking with you. On behalf of DMI and Covenant Transportation Group, thank you for joining us and have a great rest of your day. Bye-bye.