Everything connects — with the right technology in place.
You needn't turn to the trucking and transportation industry to spot the term convergence making its way into mainstream conversation. Loosely defined as the unification of things, it's a term that reflects the state of our society and expectations today. Our smartphones are the convergence of audio phone capabilities, the Internet, messaging, camera technology, and television and film. As a society, our consumption is converged. Vehicles have moved from only being able to transport us from point A to point B to incorporating GPS, music, and other intelligent functionalities.
In our evolving world of revolving wheels, convergence is transfiguring the expectations of B2B and B2C supply chain beneficiaries and pushing industry leaders to pursue innovation in technological convergence.
Defining technological convergence
Smartphones and modern vehicles are both examples of technological convergence — the coming together of independent technologies.
A substantial component of technological convergence is the convergence of data. Data on devices and applications is critical; however, it has been siloed and thereby not as reliable. Disparate data is like an unformed jigsaw puzzle. Each piece tells a story, but you cannot see the whole picture without putting the pieces together.
Connected technology brings all critical data together through a single source of truth, painting a fully formed, clear, and accurate picture so that you're not left assuming what the puzzle piece reflects.
Relating convergence to the transportation industry
Connecting ecosystems within trucking is all about the role fleet telematics plays in the lives of professionals drivers, fleet management leaders, and back-office teams. The industry is comprised of a plethora of niche environments, roles, sectors, regulations, and responsibilities. Additionally, customer expectations and needs vary enormously. Industry pioneers, including Omnitracs, have prioritized innovation to cater to different groups within the trucking and transportation industry, so fleet leaders can successfully meet unique and changing demands.
This period in our industry’s modern journey has been critical because we can't have convergence without technology pieces to bring together. As specified, trucking is not a one-size-fits-all industry, and there are ample applications and hardware available for varying necessities. There are so many options and needs that routing and fleet management professionals often have difficulty deciding on which solutions are worth the investment and will offer a clear beneficial return on investment (ROI) and cost savings.
The next stage in industry innovation
Many carriers and fleet operators have set the market expectation to pick and choose the technologies they need, and industry pioneers must meet this market demand headfirst.
Fleet leaders have used separate technologies for decades. These technologies have provided many compliance, workflow, route optimization, tracking, and safety benefits. We've grown accustomed to converged solutions as a society, and fleet professionals are natural observers and consumers.
As we become more connected and gain intelligent data insights from these technologies, natural evolutionary thought asks, "How can we consolidate these insights in one place?" And that's how the topic of convergence has gained traction in our industry.
Where Omnitracs is heading
Safety concerns and a competitive market are the two leading factors driving trucking industry convergence. With booming e-commerce demands and heightened customer expectations, transportation companies want to provide customers with order lifecycle visibility that's reliable. Driver safety, rising nuclear verdicts, and business reputations are top of mind for fleet leaders and safety managers today.
It's not enough to have a camera in the cab. An influential safety culture incorporates that camera with built-in vehicle sensors, connecting driver performance metrics to the back office for real-time visibility and proactive safety training. These critical metrics are also pushed to other applications through a single source of truth, so fleet leaders have a thorough and reliable understanding of driver safety and performance indicators.
An ever-increasing focus on the customer experience has created customers with high expectations and fleet management leaders with only the manual means to deliver. Unfortunately, the manual approach has been to spend ample time on the phone with customers answering, “Where’s my order?” calls. With connected solutions, fleet leaders can keep their teams off the phones and provide accurate visibility to customers who want to keep track of their orders.
To drive these goals home, technologies must converge. Since welcoming SmartDrive to the Omnitracs family in fall 2020, we've been working determinedly to bring technologies together through a single source of truth, so customers can connect the applications of their choosing and have unmatched and accurate near real-time data insights. Now that we’re a part of Solera, a company that shares our vision for connection, we’re pushing full speed ahead to bring technological convergence to the forefront of our industry. We can’t wait to share exciting developments as we continue!
Here's how Omnitracs is merging technologies to bring technological convergence to commercial transportation. Keep up with more thought leadership and routing and transportation industry insights on the Omnitracs Road Ahead Blog!