“Connect or become obsolete.” Edward Kulperger, VP Europe at Geotab
Companies show an increasing interest in connecting their fleet. Data allows you to proactively manage maintenance and register mileage – for instance to separate business from private, plan efficient routes and automate processes. But there’s a lot more to the story than just efficiency. It’s about seizing opportunities otherwise undetected, giving companies the competitive edge they need to survive.
The world’s second largest connected fleet telematics company, Geotab, boasts decades of experience in North America and has now set its mind to the Old Continent. Fleet Europe spoke to the company’s VP Europe, Edward Kulperger (pictured).
Mr Kulperger, what is Geotab and what do you do?
EK: “Geotab as an organisation with a little over 500 people now. Our platform collects about 3 billion data points per day from approximately 1.3 million connected vehicles. We take that data and provide it to some of the largest fleets in the world so that they can automate a number of their business processes from maintenance to mileage to accident reconstruction to connecting electric vehicles. This is what we’re good at and where we’re investing in.”
Who are your typical customers and how do they use your services?
EK: “We cross a big network. Amongst our clients are the largest courier company, the largest owner of vehicles in the rental and commercial leasing space, as well as one of the largest consumer goods organisations in the world. They have between 90,000 and 1,8 million vehicles in Europe, Latin America, North America and even Asia and Australia. Our platform facilitates routing and makes goods travel faster. It also enables our customers to understand where a person is driving in a way that isn’t conducive to corporate culture. Also, engine data predict breakdowns so that you can direct the replacement part to the right service centre and avoid downtime.”
Are Geotab’s services only of interest to large corporations?
EK. “Not at all. Even the small and medium fleets can benefit from our technology thanks to a global distribution channel. We have a few partners that take our product and they do the presales marketing, selling, and support of the product to small, medium and even enterprise fleets. They are growing quite rapidly right now for us and enable Geotab to stay focused on the engineering side.”
What do you see as a major challenge for corporate fleets in terms of telematics?
EK: “Companies know they have to connect their vehicles to get into mobility. If you don’t connect them, you’re going to leave opportunities on the table and remain static as a business – or even become obsolete. You need to understand what type of data you want, and you need to choose a partner that enables you to connect today’s and tomorrow’s vehicles – which will be electric.”
Talking about electric cars: what is Geotab’s added value?
EK: “We can connect into all different EVs, understand what’s happening with range, provide EV suitability assessments so that you can understand your vehicle usage and when and where you should adopt EVs. Beyond that, if you have 1,000 electric courier vehicles that come into your depot to plug in at the same time, you need to balance the load with the fleet as well as utility company. With the acquisition of FleetCarma, we help fleets and utilities to understand that and through our technology we’re able to intelligently balance the load and time the charging points within that fleet.”
What are the trends that will impact your business and how will Geotab respond to these?
EK: “We’re investing heavily into big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning as well as into electric vehicle technologies. We see a convergence with fleets and smart cities and communities. It’s about the ability to move people faster through a city. For example, we have programmes in Las Vegas where an organisation overlays our data with other data sets. This allows them to direct the emergency vehicles to the scene of the accident a lot quicker – also because they can change the street lights to open traffic and roads. We believe we are at the cusp of the smart city evolution.”
What else can Geotab do to make cities smarter?
EK: “We have programmes where cities take our data to understand when vehicles are circling around and looking for parking, allowing them to understand where to invest in parking areas. Also, we have municipalities that leverage our data to pinpoint potholes or dangerous intersections so that they can curtail accidents and provide safer streets. So, we see that this convergence of AI, big data, machine learning is really happening and we’re at the forefront of that.”