The latest developments in the kind of electronics used on board trucks, in warehouses, in scheduling, in delivery and receival, in invoicing, in compliance, in HR and maintenance, are creating massive data flows in and around the freight being transported.
The fact of the matter is that the basic data pouring out of all of this equipment is dumb, it doesn’t know whether it is important or not. The convergence of systems should enable operators to make sense of all of the information as it is coming through and only be notified whenever something to which their attention needs to be drawn has occurred.
Industry has been waiting for developments like this to happen for some time. The technology is, in fact, way ahead of the legislation and the way that the regulations are enforced. Hopefully, the new Heavy Vehicle National Law, which is currently being drafted by the National Transport Commission, will write the new regulations in such a way that it inherently has built-in flexibility to move with the times.
One of the problems is the fact that there are a lot of new technologies out there and all of them can claim to be able to handle specific jobs in the monitoring and compliance run realm. The issue that the industry is now starting to grapple with is not what kind of black box to fit in a cabin, but, instead, how to make all of those black boxes and business systems talk to each other in a focused way that has practical implications.
As with any new technology, there can be issues on the part of many selling to the industry about grand claims made about many of these new technologies. Many operators are willing to wait and see exactly how the land lies after the first flush of these technologies come through the system.
Once there is anecdotal evidence that an operation can get valuable safety outcomes or improve productivity or costs elsewhere in the business, the market will accept the new technology. So far, progress has been made on the part of individual technologies as they have been fitted into trucks, and the value of these particular technologies has been seen, meaning they’ve been generally accepted in the industry.
The next step is for operators to change their buying behaviour. They won’t be asking the question as to whether this particular piece of technology works or not, but instead, whether this piece of technology will work with all of the other technologies on board and whether the convergence of the data will significantly improve their operations.
Operators should not be looking to use telematics to deal with exceptions, while creating massive data flows, but instead analyse whole journeys and examine overall behaviours. Operators are asking systems to make judgements of the overall behaviour of the driver and to come up with what coaching would be effective to ensure a safer and more effective operation.