WebNMS provides vehicle monitoring solutions
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.
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.
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