IoT Blog
IoT Blog

Sierra Wireless Enables Telematics Service Providers To Quickly and Cost-Effectively Connect Fleets to the Cloud

by Benoit Tournier, Director of Marketing, Transportation

Today, anyone managing vehicle fleets – from food and beverage distributors to utility companies to construction equipment leasing companies – is facing a difficult business environment. Competition is fierce, customer expectations are high, and skilled drivers and other workers are expensive and hard to find and retain. These fleet managers must also find ways to comply with strict workforce and environmental regulations, all while trying to grow their business. 

However, Telematics Service Providers (TSPs) can help fleet managers address these challenges with the Internet of Things (IoT). New IoT solutions enable TSPs to help their customers collect and process real-time edge data from their vehicle and other equipment fleets, and then transmit this data to the cloud where they can further analyze it for actionable insights. For example, IoT-enabled fleet telematics systems allow fleet managers to:

  • Apply preventive maintenance and improve fleet performance, with real-time alerts on engine fault codes and other vehicle information, including engine temperature, battery levels, and tire pressure.
  • Lower their fleets’ impact on the environment by improving their fuel efficiency and minimizing vehicle idling.
  • Immediately dispatch repair services to a broken-down vehicle, update a vehicle’s route based on weather or traffic conditions, and streamline or automate other processes.
  • Improve driver behavior by monitoring vehicle speed and other driving patterns.
  • Increase customer satisfaction by providing customers with real-time updates on the current location and expected arrival time of their products or service technicians. 
  • Track and recover stolen vehicles and other equipment even when it is powered down, and collect valuable data on vehicle collisions and accidents that can help them avoid these problems from happening in the future. 

What Are the Top IoT Challenges Faced by Telematics Service Providers?

Anyone who has placed an order with Amazon Prime might think it’s pretty simple to generate insights like these by collecting fleet data and integrating it into the cloud. Yet, as many TSPs can tell you, building, deploying, managing, and updating fleet telematics systems that can deliver such insights is actually very complicated. 

For example, you have to negotiate and manage agreements with multiple cellular carriers to ensure you have sufficient coverage for your fleet telematics system. Even then, connections can be lost if a vehicle enters an area without coverage, or as the system switches from one carrier to another. You must also purchase, configure, and manage a diverse inventory of edge devices for different countries and regions, adding complexity in device deployment and maintenance, while also increasing your supply chain risk. Additionally, you must put in place security plans to protect sensitive customer data from the point it is generated at the edge, to its integration into the cloud. 

How the Leader In IoT Solutions Can Simplify Fleet Telematics Systems

Fortunately, Sierra Wireless understands these problems, and addresses them with a portfolio of IoT solutions for fleet management. Build with the IoT expertise that comes from Sierra Wireless’ 25 years of experience connecting fleets to IT systems. These solutions provide TSPs with everything they need to connect their customers’ vehicle and other equipment fleets to the cloud – including smart edge devices, worldwide connectivity services, an open-source development platform, and an all-in-one edge-to-cloud solution. 

Sierra Wireless’ portfolio of IoT solutions for fleet management includes:

  • Smart Modules with Built-in Global Connectivity: Sierra Wireless’ smart modules combine an integrated application processor with connectivity. This combination provides TSPs with flexibility, allowing them to integrate all the telematics features their customers need into their systems. At the same time, by including connectivity, these smart modules simplify logistics, strengthen system security, and reduce total cost of ownership. In addition, the smart modules’ embedded SIMs (eSIMs) can automatically select the best available network in an area. Not only does this ability to switch between networks improve coverage in both rural and urban areas but, in the event of network outage, the eSIM will automatically start using the next available network to keep the device connected.
  • Simple IoT Connectivity Services: Sierra Wireless offers two different IoT connectivity options, both of which help simplify telematics system deployments. The services allow them to avoid having to select and manage different cellular providers, with secure and resilient coverage networks that provide redundant routes to multiple carriers, eliminating local coverage gaps. Sierra Wireless’ Smart Connectivity service provides global coverage through more than 60 partner networks, enabling TSPs to connect devices to the cloud in more than 190 countries without needing keeping devices on hand for different regions and countries. Meanwhile, its Enhanced Carrier Connectivity service provides strong coverage for North American deployments by including plans from the AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Rogers networks. In addition, both of these IoT connectivity services enables TSPs to source their devices and connectivity from a single provider, with an all-in-one invoice and one point of accountability.
  • A Fully Managed Wireless Network Operations Center: Included with its Smart Connectivity and Enhanced Carrier Connectivity services, Sierra Wireless’ 24/7/365 Global Network Operation Center (GNOC) help TSPs achieve the highest possible uptimes for their fleet telematics systems. The GNOC proactively prevents service disruptions and, if network outages do occur, works directly with operators to restore connectivity as soon as possible.
  • An Open-Source, Easy-to-Use IoT Development Platform: Designed for the IoT, Sierra Wireless’ Linux-based development platform, Legato®, enables TSPs to maximize the value of the security, reliability, and other connectivity capabilities of its smart modules – empowering them to add advanced IoT features to their fleet telematics systems. Legato is easy to use, allowing customers to develop systems faster and with less resources. Because the entire Legato stack is open source, it can be migrated to any processor, helping make fleet telematics systems futureproof.
  • End-to-End Defense in Depth: Sierra Wireless builds security features into all of its solutions – including its smart modules, and IoT Connectivity services – to provide TSPs with the layered security technology they need to protect their customers’ data from sophisticated cyberattacks. This Defense-in-Depth approach includes encryption keys that secure Sierra Wireless’ smart modules, NAT/PAT firewall technology that protects its wireless network, and unique or random device credentials. Sierra Wireless complements all this protection with end-to-end data encryption, secure storage, and DDoS mitigation.
  • An All-in-One Edge-to-Cloud Solution: In addition to the above solutions, Sierra Wireless also offers TSPs Octave, its all-in-one edge-to-cloud solution for connecting industrial assets – including vehicle fleets – to the cloud. Octave is a complete solution that includes Sierra Wireless’ smart modules and modems, Smart Connectivity service, and Defense-in-Depth security features. It also includes data orchestration services with distributed JavaScript engines at the edge and in the cloud. These services make it easy to securely extract, orchestrate, and act on data from vehicle and equipment fleets. For example, Octave’s data orchestration technology enables TSPs to easily setup and later change rules for processing and filtering data at the edge. Not only can this capability help TSPs minimize their data transmission costs, but by lowering the energy used by their devices to transmit data, they can extend the life of telematics devices that are battery-powered. With devices that can transmit data for months, or longer after they have last been used, these telematics systems can be used to find stolen equipment and even send lockout instructions that prevent thieves from using this equipment.

    With this integrated set of edge-to-cloud solutions, TSPs can simplify fleet telematics system development, easily update these systems over time, and seamlessly and securely integrate telematics data into practically any cloud-based IT system. 

    Start with Sierra and read our white paper, The Fast, Cost-Effective Way to Deliver Telematics for Fleet Management to learn more about how Sierra Wireless’ edge-to-cloud portfolio of IoT solutions enable you to deploy fleet telematics systems that allow you to unlock value in today’s connected economy.