Mapping the future

Justin Manson, sales director of TomTom Telematics South Africa, has more than 15 years of experience in the fleet-management and telematics space. FOCUS speaks to him about the future of telematics.

In South Africa’s mature telematics sector, staying ahead of the competition isn’t so much about the data, but rather about the software, analysis and packaging of information. This is a major leap from the past, where data was treated as proprietary information not to be shared.

According to Manson, businesses are operating in an integrated world where sharing of information with partners is beneficial to all.

“By concentrating on what we do best and partnering with third parties, we are able to offer clients a more complete, tailor-made service offering,” Manson says. “Today, many drivers who work for logistics companies make use of tablets (called driver terminals), which provide a mobile workforce solution.

“An operator can manage the entire supply chain – from procurement and dispatch, to route optimisation and delivery – using these driver terminals,” he explains.

Driver terminals are loaded with applications and data to support certain job functions. For example, devices have a built-in camera and software to support remote uploading and sharing of files for use in the insurance industry, while other applications may have the capability to accept and store signatures digitally.

In many cases, there is a delay between the signing of a delivery note and its arrival at the accounts department, which causes a delay in invoicing time and has a negative impact on cash flow.

“This is just one of the delays that can be eliminated. Our goal is to ensure that the hardware is supported with applications that enable this technology to be utilised with as little disruption to a company’s traditional workflow as possible while improving these business processes,” says Manson.

When asked about the short to medium-term future of telematics, Manson identifies connected cars and software-as-a-service (SaaS) as taking centre stage.

The “aftermarket” connected car market is declining and the factory-fitted, or Original Equipment Manufacturer-fitted market is on the increase. This means that SaaS starts to play an important role in terms of taking the data from connected vehicles, analysing it and packaging it in a way that adds value to a fleet customer.  

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Focus on Transport

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is one of the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publications in southern Africa.
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