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When it comes to acquiring connectivity and logistics applications, customers often “know they need to do something, but are not sure how to get started,” says Lowe. They might lack sufficient information-technology staff, as well as insight into how they can cut costs and achieve desired levels of efficiency. Areas of particular interest to companies today include technology for tracking vehicle trailer temperatures and fuel consumption.
In the past, companies desiring such functionality had to build much of the capability from scratch. Today, there are more products available off the shelf, lowering the cost of technology and making implementation easier.
Companies running legacy applications face the question of when to scrap old systems and when to build new apps on top of them. Often they will have made a significant investment in the old technology and be understandably reluctant to replace it, especially if it’s still in working order. “If you work with a platform that’s flexible and device-agnostic, you don’t have to replace everything with a one-world app,” Lowe says.
Today, companies are having a much easier time separating upstream applications from the devices that collect the data and the buckets they can place it in. Enterprise systems don’t have to be broken apart in order to make room for the new technology, says Lowe.
Data can now be collected wirelessly and sent to a central server. The result is access to real-time information to an extent that wasn’t possible before. In addition, there’s more data available, allowing for better decision-making by fleet managers.
Systems today are gaining the ability to take action in the event of a deviation from standard metrics, without the need for human intervention. In the past, technology might provide real-time alerts on which people needed to act. Now, the system might automatically respond to a temperature change in shipment moving over the road. Lowe expects to see further efficiencies in delivery, leading to the elimination of unnecessary routes, and advance alerts for delicate items such as perishable food.
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