29 Jul 20

Connectivity as an Asian economic imperative

Less hindered by data privacy and other stringent parameters, Asian businesses have been more accepting towards telematics and connectivity than their counterparts on the Old Continent. In addition, telematics have been extremely useful to improve driver safety and improve employee efficiency.

In these (post?) covid times, Asian businesses and governments are looking at connectivity for a new and very specific reason. The leading sectors are agriculture and infrastructure.

Covid recovery

Governments want a speedy and efficient recovery of all business sectors, which typically includes subsidies and tax incentives for companies. Consumer behavior needs to be revamped, which comes down to incentivizing people to spend money and buy locally produced goods and services.

Some Asian governments, especially the Indian and Chinese, are keen to increase the control on the different steps between production and consumption, which has generated a demand for big data across all economic sectors. Telematics and connectivity are part of the strategy.

Importance of data

By connecting tractors, for example, data can be collected about the performance of the agricultural sector; this allows governments to steer and correct the expensive incentives towards better efficiency of both those incentives and the industries that benefit from them. In addition, it provides intelligence about the assets as well and can help the tractor industry finetuning the market needs and improve the product.

When combined, data sets that monitor industry sectors from planning to production to sales, can help entire industries recover faster from the impact of the pandemic.

A unique solution?

The deployment of connected data to improve efficiency is not new: almost all industries connect (some) assets for control, quality, or productivity reasons. Extending the data sets to, in our example, vehicles is essentially just improving the performance of data.

The more interesting aspect of things here is the data connectivity of entire sectors to obtain details on single asset performance across companies – basically feeding industry-wide telematics source data in a single database to enhance a country’s economy.

The cost of doing nothing

Meanwhile, Europe is still struggling to overcome GDPR requirements for something as simple as vehicle connectivity. Without any impact on employee privacy, useful data can be collected from a car via simple connectivity: the vehicle’s technical condition, live mileage, need for service or maintenance and much more. As corporates are gradually reducing their fleet sizes and increasing the “utilization per asset” ratio, additional efficiencies could easily be achieved by simple technical connected solutions.

It seems to have become a general misconception that, because of GDPR, it is not possible to collect any kind of data directly from the asset; pronouncing the word “telematics” in Europe generates endless discussions about works councils and DP lawyers rejecting any possibility of implementation. By denying the mere option of a conversation however, companies are missing out on opportunities to generate savings and increasing efficiency, both so very necessary in these times.

The connectivity conversation is one to have right now, and works councils as well as data privacy experts should be included from the start. By spending some time on educating your stakeholders on the topic – convincing them that it’s not about controlling people – there are ways out of the GDPR labyrinth.   

Picture Credit: Shutterstock

Authored by: Yves Helven