Digital innovations for fleets in 2020

Derek Bryan is vice president of EMEA at Verizon Connect.
posted by Derek Bryan
20 January 2020

New technologies are accelerating the pace of change for businesses across Europe, and many businesses are unsure how developments in AI, data analytics and other innovations will impact their operations in 2020.

Against this landscape, we’ve looked at the technologies and innovations that are likely to be the most transformative in the coming year.

Here we look at the top trends in technology that will drive the mobile workforce on the road ahead and how they will help transform fleets, supply chains, logistics and businesses themselves.

Customer experience with AI and machine learning

AI and machine learning will open up new possibilities that seemed unimaginable only a short few years ago. With more computing power at the edge, businesses will be able to capture more data from across every aspect of their operations and use this to transform customer experience.

For increasingly mobile workers, this will result in more “frictionless” engagement with managers. For example, in the event that an electrician is delayed, systems should be able to automatically identify the delay and assign another colleague to the next job. 

Accelerating next-generation predictive technology

Embracing AI at scale will also help accelerate the rollout of next-generation predictive and preventative technology across businesses of all sizes. This will give businesses near real-time updates into the past and future performance of every asset at their disposal. Thanks to recent advances in technology, assets ranging from cranes to trailers are now capable of reporting more information to managers than ever before.

With these new insights, fleet managers can more efficiently and effectively manage both their fleets and their extended networks of mobile assets. Data on road conditions, weather updates, and mechanical faults can be used to predict risks before they impact customers or other workers.

Bridging the gap between the fleet and workforce

An explosion in the growth of data and telecommunications will help unleash the potential of the connected workforce. Fleet-dependent service providers will move from a sole reliance on vehicle monitoring data to gaining more information on those carrying out work on those vehicles.

We’ll see new solutions that combine vehicle location data and technician status insights to help operations managers make faster and more informed decision-making. In addition, fleet managers will do all of the above using a single application, without having to switch between separate platforms and field service systems. As a result, fleet-reliant businesses will stay consistently and firmly connected, helping to mitigate the risk of disruption.

Safety is about to get more vocal

We will also see mobile workers harness the power of voice recognition technology to help improve their safety, allowing hands free input of data, activation of tasks and streamlined communication with managers. Despite the growing popularity of consumer digital assistants in recent years, there has been a slower rate of adoption of this technology from enterprises. 

Most importantly, voice recognition reassures managers with the knowledge that speed of communications does not come at the cost of safety. Mobile workers can keep in constant contact with their team without having to take their eyes of the task at hand. This is especially useful in the fleet space, as it helps create a better, safer field working experience.

Transforming the work environment with 5G

As vehicles continue to add hardware and computing power to handle their data and make it actionable in the day-to-day, they need a transit mechanism to take that data out of the vehicle and communicate it with other vehicles and the overall internal infrastructure. The faster, higher capacity of 5G network infrastructure will support increased data volumes.

One of the key potential outcomes of the move to 5G is the use of the vehicle as the centrepiece of a mobile work environment, helping it to serve as a single point of contact for all types of connected work. Integrating additional technologies like inventory control using wifi, online capture of data and quick information exchange would further solidify the vehicle as the workspace of the future.

Be ready for the future 

One certainty about the future of fleet management is that technological innovation will continue to determine the competitive landscape for businesses. From enhancing customer experience to opening up operational efficiencies, fleet managers should be constantly looking for new capabilities enabled by technologies.

Existing business models need to be able to handle the change. A single, centralised platform at the heart of the fleet-based business will help fleet managers to reduce any barriers and transition smoothly into the new digital business landscape.

 Derek Bryan is vice president of EMEA at Verizon Connect

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