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A journey through fleet connectivity

The exploration phase of connectivity and telematics is well and truly over for many fleets. Having understood and experienced the benefits of efficiency, sustainability and safety, many are now embracing these new technologies in order to take their fleets into the future and beyond.

 The Global Fleet Conference 2021 highlighted the importance of fleet connectivity for meeting future business goals.

Presentations from Philip Morris International (PMI) and MiX Telematics took us on two separate journeys. The first in which PMI spotlighted implementation of connectivity for its 23,000-strong global fleet. The second, a voyage through time and space, presented by MiX Telematics, detailing how fleet telematics has evolved into connectivity and where it’s headed in the future.

Nikola Vuckovic, Global Senior Manager Market & Fleet Safety, PMI, pointed out that connectivity isn’t just about technology, it’s about leadership, collaboration and strategy. He emphasised that there has to be a balance between sustainability and safety for both to be achieved.

“Our connected strategy is really supporting us in establishing an emission-free and safe fleet.” Vuckovic explained.

Supporting the business strategy

As PMI transitions from tobacco producer to purveyor of a range of smoke-free products, it has developed seven core strategies, sustainability being one of them. This is where fleet connectivity plays a role as it translates into a fleet and vehicle policy that includes health, safety and wellbeing at work, with the aim of zero preventable fleet accidents and climate protection, plus carbon neutrality by 2030.

Reaching these ambitious goals requires cross-functional collaboration at all levels plus an aligned strategy, shared agenda, strong governance, policies and common processes.

“But connectivity is much more than technology.” States Vuckovic. “Telematics technology, of course, helps deliver a safer and more efficient fleet, but it needs to be supplemented with behaviour, specifically the right behaviours, aligned with sustainability and safety goals.”

Jonathan Bates, Executive VP, MiX Telematics, took conference delegates on an intergalactic journey through the time and space of telematics development starting with the way in which both fleets and data have evolved and new questions arisen off the expansion of the data universe.

Marrying artificial with authentic intelligence

Examples of these questions include:  how can we respect driver privacy while enhancing safety? How can we enhance customer satisfaction? How can we keep our best drivers? How can we operate with the lowest environmental impact? How can we get data-driven input into our fleet procurement?

Bates observed: “This is about delivering real insights with the minimum of human intervention. This will change the composition of the skillset of the fleet manager.”

Journeying further into the future, connected fleet trends will include: data source independence, further growth in video insights, the transition to EVs, evolution of the driver (even though vehicles are becoming increasingly more autonomous, the driver will remain prominent for the foreseeable future). AI and machine learning will play a greater role towards delivering the ultimate information experience and what Bates referred to as “Augmented intelligence”- a coming together of artificial intelligence on the one hand and authentic human intelligence on the other.

“This will lead to breakthroughs in fleet benchmarking, on-demand insights, adaptive metrics, predictive analytics, intelligent action and sustainable fleet operation.” He concluded.

 Our 2022 Global Fleet Conference will take place live again, in Rome, Italy from 16 to 18 MayYou can pre-register on the event website

Authored by: Alison Pittaway