by Tara Neal
Faster speeds and greatly enhanced capacities across today's mobile networks are seeing operators making rapid inroads into new and emerging services built around ubiquitous connectivity. Telematics which delivers connectivity and intelligence to vehicles, is one such area of innovation that is expected to experience a surge in deployments, propelled in part by advancements brought about by 5G and IoT.
The Fast Mode recently spoke to Noam Cimand, General Manager of 3Dtracking on the advancements taking place in telematics and how these are driving operator opportunities in this space. Noam has been with 3Dtracking for 6 years, prior of which he was the Head of Cellocator. Before that, Noam held the position of VP, Sales and Marketing at Pointer Telocation and AVP Sales, Europe at Optibase. Noam is highly experienced in fleet and assets management, vehicle tracking and security, fuel monitoring and remote vehicle diagnostics.
Image Credit: C Vector Studio/Bigstockphoto.com
Tara: How has the telematics space changed in recent years?
Noam: For many years, telematics services focused on straightforward vehicle tracking and entry level fleet management. As engineering capabilities advanced and communications infrastructures expanded, telematics services providers have been able to be extract, transmit and analyze more and more valuable vehicle data.
Based on this data that is gathered from sensors and other accessories installed throughout a vehicle, telematics service providers can now offer a full range of advanced services involving monitoring vehicle diagnostics and driver behavior. Most of these sensors today are now transmitting telematics data over cellular networks from wireless connections on telematics devices installed throughout a vehicle.
Another area in telematics that has expanded in recent years is video. For video services, cameras are typically installed in and on a vehicle in order to transmit video feeds and images along with telematics data. These video feeds and images are being used in real-time for security purposes and monitoring for events like driver fatigue and distraction. Video is being used for event-driven purposes, like in response a driver pushing a panic button, as well as for offline analysis for reconstructing accidents.
IoT has also enables telematics services to extend from the vehicle to now include asset monitoring and tracking. For example, sensors can measure and transmit the details of various parameters of cargo, such as the temperature, humidity levels, exposure to light and many others. Also, the location of cargo can continue to be monitoring even after it has left a vehicle.
Tara: How are mobile operators currently involved in the telematics space?
Noam: Until recently, mobile operators were only passively involved in the telematics market and focused mainly on just selling SIM cards to the end customers of telematics services.
In recent years, mobile operators have started providing entry level vehicle tracking and fleet management services to their enterprise customers. Many of these services began in response to a request from an enterprise customer to find a solution for its vehicle tracking or fleet management needs for which the mobile operator quickly formed a partnership with a local telematics service provider.
In this situation, a mobile operator is for the most part acting as a reseller for its telematics service provider partner and these vehicle tracking and fleet management services are typically being included as an add-on to a larger package of other value added services (VAS) sold by the mobile operator to its enterprise customers.
Tara: How are these above changes creating more opportunities for mobile operators?
Noam: Mobile operators are currently taking a more active role in the telematics value chain. The fact that telematics services are based on increasingly data-intensive transmissions and require more network capacity is the main driver behind the wider involvement of most mobile operators in telematics.
We are working with a number of leading mobile operator brands that have been operating their own telematics services for a number of years. We see that due to their large size and reputation that mobile operators are able to attract large corporate customers that might otherwise hesitate to work with a smaller telematics service provider.
We also see that many mobile operators that have launched their own telematics services are leveraging their financial strength and offering their customers attractive financing options for acquiring and installing telematics hardware on their vehicles. This is a strong competitive advantage that smaller telematics service providers do not have the capacity to offer their customers.
Many of these mobile operators are leveraging their well-developed CRM, billing and other back office systems in the operations of their telematics service.
Tara: What are the emerging business models being used by mobile operators to provide telematics services?
Noam: The business model when a mobile operator has partnered with an existing telematics service provider and is reselling its services can be considered B2B2C. In this situation, the mobile operator will typically markup a transfer price that it receives from its telematics service provider partner. Depending on the relationship between the two companies, a mobile operator generally can also generate additional revenue from professional services, such as training and first level support.
In a B2B business model, the mobile operator is selling the telematics services directly to its customers. Here, the mobile operator is acting as the telematics service provider and managing the entire service operation itself. Many are offering their customers service bundles and attractive promotions that combine hardware installation, data plans and advanced modules. In this situation, when a mobile operator finances the acquisition and installation of the required telematics hardware for its customers, the charges are included as a line item as part of the service fee on a monthly invoice. By moving hardware costs from a large, one-time CAPEX investment to a smaller, ongoing OPEX expense, the mobile operator delivers a significant benefit to its customers.
When a mobile operator manages its own telematics service, it can recruit resellers that also act as telematics service providers under their own brands. This type of relationship is similar to the relationship a mobile operator maintains with its MVNO partners.
Tara: What type of technology ecosystem partners does a mobile operator need to engage?
Noam: In a B2B2C model, the mobile operator only needs to maintain a relationship with its telematics service provider partner. The telematics service provider partner is responsible for integrating hardware and maintaining the service platform. However, as customer requirements expand and become increasingly complex, relying on the telematics service provider to add new features and capabilities can be time consuming and expensive.
In a B2B model, the mobile operator needs to build relationships with both hardware vendors that supply telematics devices, sensors and accessories as well as a provider of a software platform to manage its telematics service.
For the software platform, this is where 3Dtracking enters the picture. We offer the flexibility to integrate new hardware devices, adjust workflows and offer services for not only fleet management and vehicle tracking, but also advanced service involving video, IoT and asset tracking. We are proud to say that we are working with several mobile operators around the world and have gain extensive experience working with this unique vertical. .
Tara: Any final thoughts or advice for mobile operators considering offering telematics services?
Noam: The market opportunities and revenue generating potential of telematics services are growing by the day. Today, telematics is much more than just vehicle tracking and now includes IoT, asset tracking, video and much more. Telematics services are becoming increasingly complex and data-intensive. These trends are happing in both developed markets in Europe and North America and Asia as well as emerging markets in LATAM, Africa and Asia.
3Dtracking is a global provider of white labelled telematics platforms. Telematics service providers around the world are using 3Dtracking’s software platform to offer a range of innovative fleet management, IoT and asset management services and packages. The company’s platform supports multiple languages, is device agnostic and is fully GDPR compliant. The 3Dtracking platform is in use in over 90 countries and processes over 70 million tracking records each day.
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