TELETRAC NAVMAN ON TRACK
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