No time to relax, security’s the next challenge
There’s no time to sit still in the Fleet business. We’re all (more or less) preparing our business cases, hoping to implement some kind of a mobility solution rather sooner than later. It’s the flavour of the month, but it’s confusing. The supply chain doesn’t seem to be ready for corporate fleets and everyone is still waiting for the Super App, this one aggregator that allows us to plug in mobility suppliers and offer an easy-to-use solution to our users.
Truth is that the supply chain will dramatically change over the next couple of years. Remember the leasing business a couple of decades ago: hundreds of small local players that gradually consolidated into today’s leasing market. The mobility industry will evolve in the same way, only much faster.
A different angle
Regardless of the transformation of the mobility industry, new technologies are inevitable and will be implemented by OEMs, tech companies such as Apple, Google, Tencent and telecom businesses. Data will be shared between cars, cities and platforms, 5G will connect data sources with cloud services and the supply chain will adapt its products and service offering based on what’s commonly known as “big data”. In other words, whatever might be your roadmap, massive change is just down the road and it’s going to happen whether you like it or not.
Not only the technology that feeds the automotive and fleet industries is changing, so is your own business. Take the Pharmaceutical industry as an example. 20 years ago, medical reps were given a car to visit hospitals, doctors and distributors. Today however, the interactions between medical professionals and pharmaceutical suppliers are digitised. As a consequence, the mobility needs of the Pharma industry has changed. Many businesses are going through similar transformations and the role of the Fleet Manager is changing in parallel.
Data has value. The mere efforts (e.g. GDPR) that are being undertaken to provide for sufficient protection on data storage and treatment level, demonstrate the seriousness. The one topic that’s left in the dark, is the protection of the data transfer – from car to car, from employee to cloud, from car to supplier. Once 5G will become the new standard, in 2 to 3 years, the amount of data that will be transferred wirelessly, will be enormous.
Suppliers (OEMs, Telematics providers, Mobility suppliers,…) will do their best to protect your data from hackers, but it will end up with data being protected with inconsistent and various levels of security that might not be at the level that your company requires. Here’s an analogy: you won’t allow one leasing supplier to offer only 4 tires in a leasing contract and a second supplier to offer 8 tires. All of your company car drivers will need the same number of tires in their lease contracts. Similarly, you’ll want all of your future mobility suppliers to have the same high standards in data transfer security.
New supply chain
There’s a new kid in town that’s finding its place in the Fleet supply chain, the cybersecurity people. Their job will be as essential as your roadside assistance today: provide you with additional layers of security and reduce risks of hacking. One of these kids is a company called Trillium Secure, a mid-stage start-up with roots in California and Japan, backed by Airbus, Deutsche Bahn and a couple of other investors. They offer various types of data security to the car industry, protect data transfers inside the vehicle or between vehicles and protect OTA updates.
Companies such as Trillium are still a bit unusual – they speak “tech” where we speak “fleet” – but here’s the reality: we’ll be needing them soon and the earlier we start communicating with each other, the better. So… let’s welcome this new member to our community!