We­bNMS pro­vides ve­hi­cle mon­i­tor­ing so­lu­tions

Auto components India - - CONTENTS - Story by: Sricha­ran R

Getting con­nected and the In­ter­net of Things (IoT) seem to be the cur­rent trends in the au­to­mo­tive sec­tor, as many fu­tur­is­tic as­pects come in right from the man­u­fac­tur­ing stage of a ve­hi­cle. One such thing is the fleet man­age­ment so­lu­tion that the soft­ware firms of­fer. It is an ad­min­is­tra­tive ap­proach that al­lows com­pa­nies to or­gan­ise and co­or­di­nate their fleet op­er­a­tions. This is done to im­prove ef­fi­ciency, re­duce costs, and to en­sure com­pli­ance with the govern­ment reg­u­la­tions.

We­bNMS, the IoT di­vi­sion of Zoho Corporation, is a lead­ing provider of en­ter­prise IoT plat­form and so­lu­tions that max­imise the po­ten­tial of con­nected busi­ness in­fra­struc­ture. The firm of­fers many ready to de­ploy so­lu­tions that are built over its IoT plat­form. It re­volves around three ma­jor ca­pa­bil­i­ties: En­ergy man­age­ment, Re­mote as­set man­age­ment, and Lo­gis­tics & Fleet man­age­ment. The soft­ware com­pany’s fleet man­age­ment so­lu­tion can be used for ve­hi­cle track­ing, driver be­hav­iour mon­i­tor­ing, as­set man­age­ment, and OBD data mon­i­tor­ing, etc.

“Dur­ing the course of the last 5-6 years, we have fo­cused on IoT. Our plat­form is ap­pli­ca­tio­nen­abled. It helps cus­tomers cre­ate ver­ti­cal IoT so­lu­tions. Our fleet man­age­ment so­lu­tion is a com­pre­hen­sive prod­uct, that does track and trade based on GPS. It also does geo-lo­ca­tion, geo-sens­ing, route plan­ning, sched­ul­ing, driver man­age­ment, on­board di­ag­nos­tics, driver be­hav­iour an­a­lyt­ics and much more,” Karen Ravin­dranath, Pro­gramme Head of We­bNMS IoT, told Au­toCom­po­nentsIn­dia.

The so­lu­tion We­bNMS pro­vides seems to have an edge over its com­peti­tors. “There are a cou­ple of things where we dif­fer from our com­peti­tors. Many are just into the GPS-based track and trade. We go a lit­tle fur­ther and give it as a com­pre­hen­sive suite, where you can have driver be­hav­iour man­age­ment, work­load sched­ul­ing, an­a­lyt­ics on op­ti­mis­ing the routes etc. The so­lu­tion we pro­vide can also be in the plug and play model and it can be part of a wider IoT so­lu­tion as well,” she said.

The soft­ware com­bines a lot of IoT as­pects and gets in­for­ma­tion on the ar­eas that need to be re­fur­bished or ser­viced, and plans and op­ti­mises the routes based on that. “An­other ma­jor as­pect is that it com­bines with the whole Zoho ecosys­tem. For ex­am­ple, we have cus­tomers who are into on-field ser­vice and these com­pa­nies have the re­spon­si­bil­ity of man­ag­ing the de­liv­ery ve­hi­cle. With this, it makes a com­bi­na­tion of know­ing your cus­tomer and cus­tomer re­la­tion­ship be­ing ful­filled through the IoT fleet man­age­ment so­lu­tion. We are ca­ter­ing to both of these: One, the whole con­cept of fleet track­ing, sched­ul­ing and op­ti­mis­ing the work be­ing driven by data, and two, us­ing the track­ing and ful­fill­ment data adding more value to the cus­tomer re­la­tion­ship as­pects,” Karen said.

She also said the prod­ucts are In­dia-spe­cific and are be­ing used in the In­dian mar­ket. The soft­ware com­pany also has part­nered

with a cou­ple of hard­ware ven­dors in In­dia. This is be­cause a prod­uct can­not be de­liv­ered just as soft­ware alone and it will be dif­fi­cult for the cus­tomers to buy soft­ware and hard­ware sep­a­rately. In or­der to sup­port them, the firm brings it as a whole and gives the cus­tomer an op­tion for hard­ware choice. This makes the plat­form flex­i­ble in terms of adding or ac­quir­ing new de­vices faster. Along with part­ners, We­bNMS pro­vides an end-to-end so­lu­tion for a tran­si­tion to the whole mon­i­tor­ing as­pects and also al­lows them to have a choice of what they want. We­bNMS has part­nered with 4-5 OEMs so far.

Prod­uct se­cu­rity

About the se­cu­rity of their prod­uct Karen said, “When ev­ery­thing gets con­nected there is al­ways a ques­tion of se­cu­rity. But, Zoho has a prom­ise of keep­ing its cus­tomers’ data se­cure. Busi­nesses are open­ing the eyes to the con­cept of be­ing on the cloud, where they can se­curely store data. This is a very im­por­tant as­pect of our com­pany as a whole. As a part of Zoho, We­bNMS also uses the same in­fra­struc­ture. The se­cu­rity ecosys­tem be­gins from re­ceiv­ing the data, how we store it, how we take care of seg­re­gat­ing per­sonal in­for­ma­tion, en­crypt­ing it and also de­cide on who will be able to ac­cess it based on the au­then­ti­ca­tion along with the prod­uct.”

An­other ma­jor is­sue is con­nec­tiv­ity. This be­ing one of the im­por­tant as­pects, We­bNMS and its part­ners come up with dif­fer­ent op­tions to make sure the plat­form is con­nected al­ways. Karen said the soft­ware can run even with a 2G net­work. Not just this, the de­vice also stores data when there is a net­work is­sue and saves it once it re­ceives the sig­nal. The com­pany has worked with its part­ners to en­sure there is no data loss.

Mov­ing for­ward

Bring­ing vis­i­bil­ity into the as­pect of fleet man­age­ment and to the en­tire busi­ness area is a fo­cus area for We­bNMS. “We see that what­ever soft­ware that is out there in the mar­ket, is more likely a by- load prod­uct. For us, it is a con­nected part of a con­nected busi­ness of­fer­ing and we want to pro­mote it where the value of the whole fleet man­age­ment is brought into the en­ter­prise or the sys­tem. An­other as­pect is that with ma­chine learn­ing and AI, an­a­lyt­ics plays a ma­jor role. To­day, we are col­lect­ing data and there is a lot more to gain by us­ing those data. We also an­a­lyse them and ask the right ques­tions for each do­main that the cus­tomers re­quire. This will help them solve their prob­lems with much ease. So, the di­rec­tion is bring­ing the fleet data and con­nect­ing it to the en­tire con­nected ecosys­tem in the busi­ness work­flow and into other apps,” Karen said.

The soft­ware team is also dis­cussing with OEMs to en­able the con­nected car ecosys­tem. This en­ables them to col­lect data from cars to make it bet­ter. This will be in an OEM part­ner­ship, where the ven­dors col­lab­o­rate with the firm to en­able the con­nected car plat­form. We­bNMS is not of­fer­ing this as a prod­uct or so­lu­tion yet.

All Zoho prod­ucts are made in In­dia for the world. It is de­vel­oped at its main re­search and de­vel­op­ment cen­tre in Chen­nai. For the fleet man­age­ment so­lu­tion, the R&D team has only 20 mem­bers, though in the Chen­nai cen­tre the com­pany has around 5000 em­ploy­ees. Zoho in­vests con­tin­u­ously to bring out the best so­lu­tions. “It is not just the fleet prod­uct but the larger IoT prod­ucts are the key in­vest­ment for us. That plat­form takes care of how data comes from a mov­ing as­set or de­vice and how we store it. We do the an­a­lyt­ics over it. The in­fra­struc­ture here takes care of how you store huge amount of data that comes from 1000s of ve­hi­cles on the move. So, there is a larger team that is en­abling the se­cu­rity, and we have a sep­a­rate team for each of it,” Karen said.

Karen Ravin­dranath, Pro­gramme Head of We­bNMS

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