Why Businesses Should Embrace IoT for Off-road Fleet Management
An Interview with Applied-IoT
The Internet of Things (IoT) is weaving its way into every industry, bringing tremendous opportunities to enhance operational efficiency and reliability. Among the leading industrial applications that benefit from IoT is asset and fleet management. In a campus-style production facility, vehicles, equipment and special tools are geographically scattered with low levels of coordination. The lack of asset visibility is conducive to unplanned downtime and dampened productivity. This week, our partner – Applied IoT has shared with us some fresh insights into how IoT is poised to transform off-road fleet management at enclosed industrial campuses.
1. Tell us about Applied IoT. What is your vision, who are your customers, what verticals do you target etc.
Applied-IoT provides technology and digital solutions for the industrial sector. Our clients operate in harsh environments, where reliable communication networks are often out of reach. They manage extensive and varied assets including powered vehicles, mobile and fixed assets, equipment, tools and raw materials as well as people exposed to multiple worksite hazards in mines, oil fields and industrial plants.
Applied-IoT engineers asset visibility solutions purpose-built for improved operational transparency to reduce costs and downtime, improve security and optimize asset utilization. Our industrial clients can rely on our rugged hardware, reliable communication technology and customized software and dashboards.
We strongly believe in “intelligent data” – selecting the relevant information as stepping stones for enlightened decision-making rather than delivering an overwhelming and counterproductive amount of big data.
We also firmly believe that the customer should control and own their proprietary data. That’s why our approach gathers asset data on-site and transfers it directly to customers’ private servers or cloud-hosted services, as requested.
2. Talking about fleet management, what are the main challenges faced by off-road fleet operators across industries today?
The first challenge lies in the remoteness of the areas where fleets are operated. Examples include forests, mining sites, construction areas poorly serviced by Telcom operators. In the Internet of Things sector, global network providers are progressively extending their coverage. However, many zones still remain in the dark or are characterized by challenging terrain conditions like inside an industrial plant or factory.
The high diversity of assets grouped under a customer’s fleet is also a challenge in achieving operational awareness and optimal asset use. Besides vehicles and mobile heavy equipment, many non-mobile assets like air compressors and other unpowered machinery must also be constantly monitored. On top of that, there may be a need to track consumables or even smaller items. Often times, an operator faces disparities in utilization and maintenance intervals.
3. How is IoT revolutionizing off-road fleet management?
New-generation assets are embedded with telematics devices that can connect to Telcom networks. Nevertheless, the average off-road fleet also incorporates older vehicles not equipped with communication technologies, as well as assets that may have a motor but are not self-powered.
IoT enables fleet operators to connect a wide assortment of assets to the same platform, providing comprehensive information on their location, usage and status. This full visibility presents a clear opportunity to spotlight existing bottlenecks and improve operational efficiency, which directly affects companies’ bottom line.
4. What tangible business benefits does IoT bring to off-road fleet management?
IoT provides instant transparency over your business through custom dashboards and alert systems. An industrial manager can see where his assets are and whether they are being used consistently and effectively. This knowledge empowers decision makers to fine tune their workflow, schedule precise maintenance intervals and optimize operational deployment and cost.
5. What are the challenges of deploying an off-road fleet management solution?
The physical design of Industrial IoT sensors and devices must be rugged in order to withstand harsh environments (weather, temperature, vibrations, shocks) in outdoor and remote areas. They should also be protected from accidental removal or attempted theft.
In addition, the IIoT system must be scalable and can easily accommodate additional devices at all times, without being overloaded. As your business and fleet grow, so must the visibility system. It must also be versatile enough to allow industrial clients to add next-generation assets or sensors to enhance their full optimization system.
6. What are the building blocks of a successful end-to-end off-road fleet optimization solution?
A robust, reliable communications technology that can support several hundreds of assets connected within a small area, while being able to withstand harsh industrial environments (weather, vibration, shock, temperature etc.).
7. How do Applied-IoT and BehrTech work together to improve off-road fleet management across industry verticals?
Applied-IoT and BehrTech both strive to bring visibility to the industrial sector, where many businesses have been hindered by obscure operations, costly breakdowns and speculation-based workflows. Both companies believe that remote industrial areas can greatly benefit from operational awareness, which is key to lowering costs & optimizing day-to-day activities.
This common understanding of industrial requirements led us to establish a strong partnership to develop industry-worthy products. The superior coverage and range capability of the MYTHINGS architecture is set to provide a cost-effective solution, even in remote areas. With MIOTY LPWAN technology, MYTHINGS also allows customers to incorporate any additional sensor or monitoring requirements to the platform, making it highly flexible and scalable.
Applied-IoT wields extensive experience across multiple industrial sectors including mining, oil & gas, manufacturing and maintenance repair operations (MRO) for aerospace. We provide the required expertise to tailor technical solutions to the customer’s needs.
Joint solutions by BehrTech and Applied-IoT will enable operators to track and monitor a vast range of assets, both large self-powered vehicles and smaller accessory items, to ensure their availability, utilization and effectiveness.