Telematics for Logistics
Telematics, the technology of sending, receiving and storing information via telecommunication devices in conjunction with control on remote objects, is becoming popular. Telematics, however, is not only limited to Global Positioning System (GPS) technology integrated with computers and mobile communications technology in automotive navigation systems. The term has evolved to refer to the use of such systems within road vehicles, in which case, the term vehicle telematics may be used. The solution (telematics) for commercial vehicle space in India is growing. Albeit logistics industry in India is yet to adopt the technology, the country offers tremendous opportunities to the solution providers because of the multiple challenges the industry has to face in the divers geographical terrain. Accurate route directions, traffic information, easy tracking and tracing, and security of vehicles are the key concerns for the logistics companies. The internationally acclaimed telematics solution providers are expected to address all these issues by catering to local requirements. It is pertinent to mention that the solutions used in developed countries like the US and Europe, may not fit for this largely unorganised logistics market. Accordingly, the solution providers have to put more value added services in their software. For instance, traffic rules and regulations that vary state to sate and weather related information in local languages needs to be added to the solution. On the other hand, they will have to assure uninterrupted telecommunications to the remote areas where truck operators often face serious problems. Above all, the solution should be cost sensitive. Since the transport industry in India is dominated by small and medium-sized players, it has to be within their reach. The price point in India is something the service providers will have to work with, to understand which subscription cost makes sense. However, it was found out that many third-party providers and OEMs have had to roll back the telematics positions they took. Roaming costs were very unpredictable, and customers were not happy with that. Logistics service providers, on the other hand, need to be sensible about value addition to their services. Since technology makes the real difference to grab new markets and save cost/time, it paves the way for the long-term win-win benefits for both logistics service providers and their customers.