Technology Newsmaker Q&A Susan Beardslee

Jan. 16, 2018
ABI Research identified three important technology trends in intelligent transportation: Freight as a service; vehicle OEMs adopting factory-fit telematics solutions; and the rapid growth of the commercial telematics sector.

In its recent report, “1-Minute Reads for 3 Big Trends Impacting Each of the 20 Most Compelling Transformative Technologies,” ABI Research identified three important technology trends in intelligent transportation: Freight as a service; vehicle OEMs adopting factory-fit telematics solutions; and the rapid growth of the commercial telematics sector.

Susan Beardslee, senior analyst at ABI Research, spoke to Aftermarket Business World about the importance of those trends for manufacturers and logistics providers.

Why is the “Uberization” of freight important, what types of companies are using these services?

It really restructures a lot of processes under the current broker model. Payments are quicker because it’s digital, and it really helps with dynamic routing.

This is a long-tail technology, and it appeals to the less-than-truckload market, and owner/operators, which ties into small and medium businesses. It can help with seasonal fluctuations and peak demand. With e-commerce driving a lot of additive business, it can help smooth out some demand.

How is the adoption of embedded or factory-fit telematics solutions playing out?

Volvo and other manufactures that were originally building their own solution are working with telematics providers to build-in those capabilities in the factory. When a fleet company goes to buy a truck, it’s already installed and the cost of the solution is built into the sale of the vehicle. By 2022 or so, the proportion of built-in versus aftermarket will start to switch, and up to two-thirds of the market will move toward factory-fit.

You also noted in the report that commercial fleet sales are actually outstripping commercial vehicle sales. What’s driving that growth?

Safety is a huge issue, and some of the fleet operators are using telematics for retention and rewarding good drivers, as well as moving into vehicle prognostics. With the electronic logging mandate, having those devices for track and trace is very attractive.

They can also layer other services on to that, such as route optimization or traffic delay avoidance. You can do a lot of this using aftermarket solutions without changing the vehicle architecture, and add or subtract functionality as you go.

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About the Author

Brian Albright

Brian Albright is a freelance journalist based in Columbus, Ohio, who has been writing about manufacturing, technology and automotive issues since 1997. As an editor with Frontline Solutions magazine, he covered the supply chain automation industry for nearly eight years, and he has been a regular contributor to both Automotive Body Repair News and Aftermarket Business World.

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