Owner Driver - - Brisbane Truck Show -

When it comes to in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy and pow­er­ful telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, de­vel­op­ments come thick and fast and, per­haps, trade events can’t come quickly enough.

Teletrac Navman fronted up to the BTS keen to spruik new and ex­ist­ing prod­ucts, mind­ful of the fast-chang­ing mar­ket land­scape, not least for elec­tronic work diaries (EWD).

Teletrac Navman’s vice pres­i­dent – trans­port so­lu­tions Aus­tralia, An­drew Ross­ing­ton, is a vet­eran of four shows and finds de­vel­op­ments and the change in em­pha­sis strik­ing.

“I think it has ma­tured quite a bit,” Ross­ing­ton says.

“The peo­ple that go are a bit dif­fer­ent now too. It is a head­line event for most peo­ple out­side their as­so­ci­a­tion [gath­er­ings]. In the gen­eral sphere, that’s the one peo­ple hang out for and go to.

“The quality of the stands has gone up. The whole show has lifted, not so much from last time to this time but cer­tainly from two or three times ago. It’s cer­tainly some­thing we take a lot of no­tice of.”

This year’s of­fer­ing from the firm was a cause of sat­is­fac­tion, given the at­ten­tion it gar­nered.

“The good thing was what we brought was what peo­ple were talk­ing about – we were happy with that,” Ross­ing­ton says.

“There was a big fo­cus on EWDs for us. We’ve gone to the reg­u­la­tor with our ap­pli­ca­tion. That’s in with them for test­ing and we’re first cab off the rank. Ob­vi­ously, there are learn­ings go­ing on with that one.

“We’re pretty con­fi­dent and we’re work­ing pretty closely with those guys, so we’re pretty con­fi­dent we’ll get out of there with ap­proval in the short-term. Don’t know what the short-term is yet, there are a few things to go through with the reg­u­la­tor but peo­ple are re­ally in­ter­ested in that.

“If you asked two years ago about EWDs, peo­ple were very neg­a­tive about it and the take-up rate was go­ing to be pretty du­bi­ous … and, strangely, two years down the track, peo­ple can’t get it fast enough.

“So, all of our big cus­tomers and peo­ple are com­ing up to the stand with ‘when can we have it’ type questions.”

Ross­ing­ton be­lieves the in­dus­try at ev­ery level that is ex­posed to it is sick of the bur­den of pa­per­work re­lated to hard-copy work diaries.

“I think they’re ready for it,” he says. He notes that the EWD was an ex­ten­sion of fa­tigue man­age­ment concepts from the firm’s ex­ist­ing Sen­tinel prod­uct and says it has 30,000 driv­ers on that.

In-cab tech­nol­ogy was an­other sub­ject close to the hearts and minds of vis­i­tors to its stand, un­sur­pris­ing, given the fo­cus on Chain of Re­spon­si­bil­ity (COR) con­cerns.

This was par­tic­u­larly so of the iFace 7’’ tablet prod­uct and as­so­ci­ated ser­vices aimed not least at al­low­ing driv­ers to man­age their own safety and com­pli­ance.

“We have it in what we de­scribe as a ‘man­aged en­vi­ron­ment’ – it’s ‘low-touch’ for trans­port op­er­a­tors.

“That’s gain­ing even more trac­tion now be­cause peo­ple are re­al­is­ing if they’re try­ing to do ev­ery­thing it’s all just too hard.”

The firm had about eight iFaces around the stand, with in­ter­est focused on the apps cov­er­ing a range in­clud­ing mass man­age­ment, nav­i­ga­tion, tasks at hand and fa­tigue.

Also ex­er­cis­ing the minds of prospec­tive cus­tomers was effective in­te­gra­tion of all the rel­e­vant data that IT can pro­vide.

Ross­ing­ton rat­tles of a list of them, such as “how they get work out to their ve­hi­cles; how they connect our sys­tem their freight man­age­ment sys­tem or back of­fice or ac­count­ing sys­tem; how they get all the data in the one place, how do they get a view of ev­ery­thing that’s hap­pen­ing on the one screen – that was an­other re­ally big con­ver­sa­tion.

“So, th­ese are re­ally dif­fer­ent conversati­ons to two years ago and four years ago and, cer­tainly, six years ago.

“Six years ago, ev­ery­one was say­ing ‘GPS track­ing: track your truck’.”

Just on that, Ross­ing­ton feels data and sys­tems in­te­gra­tion will be the talk of the next show around his stand.

As for the do­ing busi­ness, he sees the case as un­de­ni­able, and it wasn’t just the in­dus­try day on the Thurs­day that hogged at­ten­tion.

“I would say, judg­ing on the peo­ple we were speak­ing to on the Satur­day, if we didn’t walk away with a cou­ple of hun­dred se­ri­ous peo­ple who wanted to talk about some­thing, I’d be very sur­prised,” he says.

Of those, the ma­jor­ity was of ex­ist­ing cus­tomers look­ing to new things but a hefty pro­por­tion was of those new to the com­pany.

Teletrac Navman’s An­drew Ross­ing­ton

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