Tag Archives: fleet telematics

96% OF CAR OWNERS VULNERABLE TO A RELAY ATTACK BY CRIMINALS TRACKER urges motorists to safeguard their keys to prevent theft

tracker

According to the latest figures from TRACKER (part of the Tantalum Corporation), 96% of motorists it surveyed are at risk of having their car stolen by criminals using the latest theft technique – a relay attack.   In 2016, 66% of TRACKER’s stolen vehicle recovery customer thefts’ were committed by way of a ‘relay attack’, confirming just how prevalent this crime has become.

Not only are so many people vulnerable to the risk of theft via this means, 25% of those surveyed by TRACKER said they leave their car keys somewhere in the hallway overnight.  This is the most common room in the house for thieves to target to intercept an electronic car key’s signal, and it’s where the signal is likely to be strongest because of its proximity to the vehicle itself.

A ‘relay attack’ is a new method used by car thieves, which involves two criminals working together using electronic signal relay devices.  Just recently, CCTV footage obtained by West Midlands Police of a theft of a Mercedes2, confirmed just how easily criminals can use a device to receive the car key signal from inside the victim’s home, transferring that signal to the second box, which is placed next to the car. The car’s system is tricked into thinking the key is there, allowing thieves to unlock the vehicle and drive away within minutes.

The TRACKER survey shows that 13% of people leave their keys on the hallway table, which is as good as leaving the door open for thieves. A quarter (25%) leave their keys in a dedicated key pot or on a key hook elsewhere downstairs, whilst 15% put them in a drawer in a downstairs room.  Although putting keys in a drawer means they are out of sight should an opportunistic burglar be on the prowl, it won’t protect them from a relay attack should a techno savvy car thief be lurking outside.

“We’re seeing more and more of these relay attacks taking place across the country,” explains Andy Barrs, Head of Police Liaison at TRACKER. “It’s clear from our survey that many people are unintentionally leaving themselves vulnerable to these kinds of attack, by putting their keys in easy reach of  relay devices.

“The good news is there are simple precautions people can take. Whilst the relay devices can receive signals through walls, doors and windows, metal is its enemy, so putting keys in a metal tin or the microwave is a cost effective way to thwart the criminals.  Alternatively, invest in a metallised signal blocking pouch, such as a Faraday wallet, which is designed to shield electronic keys from relay attacks.

“It’s also worth remembering that vehicle security should be multi-layered and shouldn’t just rely on the keyless security system. Physical barriers, such as crook locks and wheel clamps will deter thieves. And whilst investing in a tracking device won’t stop a car being stolen, it can significantly increase the chances of police locating it and returning it to the rightful owner. This, plus added vigilance, dramatically contributes to keeping thieves at bay.”

Unlike other devices, TRACKER’s unique technology can locate stolen vehicles anywhere, even when they are hidden in a garage or shipping container. TRACKER has been reuniting car lovers with their vehicles for nearly 25 years, and it’s this expertise which makes TRACKER the leader in stolen vehicle recovery. TRACKER stolen vehicle recovery systems work like an electronic homing device. A covert transmitter is hidden in one of several dozen places around the vehicle. There is no visible aerial, so the thief won’t even know it’s there.

Where do you typically leave your car keys at night?

1.     In the hallway – either on a table or in a bag or coat pocket                                25%

2.     A dedicated key pot or key hook elsewhere in the house                                   25%

3.     In a draw downstairs                                                                                           16%

4.     In my bedroom                                                                                                       12%

5.     A combination of 1-4 above                                                                                  10%

6.     Somewhere in the house – I usually have to hunt for them in the morning          8%

7.     A metal container to ensure it is protected from a relay attack                            4%

 

TRACKER’S TOP TIPS ON HOW TO AVOID VEHICLE THEFT

Check it’s locked. Always double check that your car is physically secure and alarmed, when using keyless locking systems. Wait to see the flashing hazard lights confirm it’s locked. Thieves frequently lie in wait and block locking signals as owners walk away from their cars.

Keep keys out of sight.  Leaving keys in the hallway or on the kitchen worktop means thieves can break in and swipe them quickly, before driving off in your car. Put them in a drawer or out of sight in a bag, at least.

 

Block electronic key fob signals.  A faraday wallet is designed to shield electronic car keys from relay attacks – a new theft technique that involves extending a key fob’s signal by relaying it from one device to another.   But you could also put them in a metal tin or microwave overnight to protect them from a relay attack.

Add layers of security.  Physical barriers can be effective in deterring thieves. Consider adding a crook lock or wheel clamp to your car. Alternatively, a driveway parking post or just locked gates can stop thieves in their tracks.

Install a ‘ghost immobiliser’.  For another layer of protection, add a secondary barrier to your car’s factory fitted immobiliser by having a unique access code to start your car.

Invest in a tracking device. A tracking device won’t stop your vehicle being stolen, but it significantly increases chances of police recovering and returning it, if thieves do take it.

Source: Tracker

 

The installed base of fleet management systems in Europe will reach 10.6million by 2020

 

Internet-of-Things-1920xx

The installed base of fleet management systems in Europe will reach 10.6 million by 2020
The number of active fleet management systems deployed in commercial vehicle fleets in Europe was 5.3 million in Q4-2015, according to a new research report from the M2M/IoT analyst firm Berg Insight. Growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.9 percent, this number is expected to reach 10.6 million by 2020. All the top-10 vendors have today more than 100,000 active units in Europe.

TomTom’s subscriber base has grown both organically and by acquisitions during the past years and the company has now reached the position as the largest provider of fleet management solutions on the European market and reached an installed base of about 529,000 units at year-end 2015. Masternaut is still in second place and had achieved an installed base of an estimated 350,000 units at the year-end. Berg Insight ranks Microlise as the third largest player in terms of active installed base with around 175,000 units. Trakm8, ABAX, Teletrac Navman, Transics, Trimble and OCEAN (Orange) also have more than 100,000 active devices in the field.

The HGV manufacturers are now growing their subscriber bases considerably in Europe thanks to standard line fitment of fleet management solutions. Dynafleet by Volvo, FleetBoard by Daimler and Scania Fleet Management are the most successful with active subscriber bases of 81,000 units, 86,000 units and 133,000 units respectively as of Q4-2015. The consolidation trend on this market continued in 2016. “Nine major mergers and acquisitions have taken place in the past three quarters among the vendors of fleet management systems in Europe”, said Johan Fagerberg, Senior Analyst, Berg Insight. TomTom acquired Finder in Poland in December 2015, which added another 60,000 vehicles to its installed base.

ITmobile operating from the Netherlands was acquired by Canadian Fleet Complete in December 2015. Viasat entered the Polish market when CMA Monitoring was acquired in April 2016 adding 18,000 vehicle subscriptions and later in July the company also picked up EMIXIS that is headquartered in Belgium adding another 23,000 subscriptions.

The investment firm Sofindev acquired a majority stake in GeoDynamics in April. GSGroup has acquired three companies in the past years and the most recent one was PPCT in Finland in May. Later in June, it was announced that Verizon had signed an agreement to acquire Telogis. The latest transaction was done in August when Verizon acquired also Fleetmatics for a price tag of US$ 2.4 billion to become the largest fleet management solution vendor worldwide. The two recent deals mean that Verizon’s telematics unit will have more than 1.6 million vehicles under management. Mr. Fagerberg anticipates that the market consolidation of the still overcrowded industry will continue in 2016–2017.

Source: Berg Insight

 

TRACKER launches Tracker Connect new plug & play telematics device

tracker

TRACKER (part of the Tantalum Corporation), continues to meet the demands of its customers, with the launch of TRACKER Connect, its plug and play telematics device from just £9.95 a month. The easy to self-install device, connects to the vehicle’s on-board diagnostic (OBD) port, eliminating installation costs. It provides fleet managers real-time driver and vehicle information, to improve fleet efficiency, saving time, fuel and money, whilst boosting customer satisfaction.  It also has the added benefit of TRACKER’s crash detection technology for instant and accurate accident reporting as well as the ability to read vehicle diagnostic direct from source.

Users can access driver and vehicle data quickly, at any time, in real time, via the secure TRACKER Connect website.  Drawing upon TRACKER’s award winning fleet telematics solutions, the website provides a reporting dashboard that can be customised to the specific needs of customers.   Customers can monitor driver behaviour, view maps and schedule detailed reports.  Driving style data helps firms reduce the risk of driver accidents and vehicle repair costs, as well as enhancing Duty of Care by encouraging safer driving.

The TRACKER Connect crash detection technology helps fleet managers save time and insurance costs with instant accident notification.   The technology’s intelligence can distinguish between bumps and kerbs and actual impacts, with reports provided on impacts via email and screen alerts.  These alerts enable fleet managers to quickly ascertain the safety of the driver and condition of the vehicle.

Should a vehicle develop a fault, data will be read via the TRACKER Connect device connected to the vehicle’s OBD and diagnostic information decoded and reported back to the website.   By acting quickly to critical or impending problems, users can reduce maintenance costs and help boost profits. In addition, automatic alerts mean fleet managers never miss a service or other key maintenance checks, helping their fleet run more efficiently for longer.

Sierra Wireless device-to-cloud technology enables new telematics solution for Arval

sierra-wireless1

Sierra Wireless device-to-cloud technology enables new telematics solution for Arval

European vehicle leasing leader Arval offers expanded connected vehicle management service to enterprise fleet managers, based on Sierra Wireless AirVantage® cloud and AirPrime® embedded modules

Sierra Wireless have announced that Arval, a leader in full service vehicle leasing, fleet management, and usage-based insurance owned by BNP Paribas, has selected Sierra Wireless device-to-cloud technology to build its new global telematics solution.

Arval selected Sierra Wireless because the AirVantage cloud provides an accelerated development path – the cloud platform was already built and integrated with AirPrime embedded modules, and was able to easily connect to third-party application servers and their own web applications. With the wireless integration and management already covered, Arval was able to focus on the portion of the solution that offers value and differentiates it from competitors. In addition, AirVantage leverages standard device protocols, making it compatible with a wide variety of connected devices and future-proof in terms of compatibility with additional devices and services as Arval expands its service offering to its customers.

“Arval is an industry leader with a clear vision of how a connected service model can enable the company to better serve its customers and enhance its core business,” said Emmanuel Walckenaer, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Solutions for Sierra Wireless. “This collaboration demonstrates the value of a device-to-cloud solution in accelerating innovation in transportation and fleet management, but the model works across many industries and applications. We enable an organization to focus on developing the portion of the solution that is unique and tailored to its customers, knowing that the wireless connectivity and communication functions are already integrated and tested.”

Source: Sierra Wireless

Co-Star distribute Sierra Wireless Routers. Please click here for more info>

 

Orange Business Services Acquires Ocean to Strengthen its Vehicle Fleet Management Activities

orange logo

By integrating Ocean’s operations in its own activities, Orange Business Services is creating a new leader on the French and European markets – with over 100,000 managed vehicles. This acquisition supports a strong growth ambition on the European market and will leverage advanced expertise and technologies to accelerate the development of new solutions for connected objects.

“The project with Orange, which is based on the technical platform recently developed by Ocean, will give us the opportunity to pursue our growth by building on our core success factor: a unique organization and development model”

Founded in 2003, Ocean became one of the leaders on the French market of fleet management and vehicle tracking solutions thanks to its vertical approach and innovative technology choices. The company, which currently manages 45,000 vehicles for 2,000 corporate clients, will become an operational unit of Orange Applications for Business – the digital services division of Orange Business Services specializing in connected objects, the digitalization of customer experience, Big Data and data analytics.

The merger of Orange’s Fleet Management activities – launched in 2005 with dedicated Machine-to-Machine (M2M) offers and managing today over 60,000 vehicles – and Ocean gives rise to a new industry leader in the European market. The new entity will bring together 110 employees, including a technical and development team of over 40 experts, and will be led by Jacques Riviere, the current President of Ocean.

Internet of Things and M2M are key drivers of companies’ digital transformation strategies. Orange Business Services aims to provide support for this transformation and the acquisition of Ocean provides opportunities in a number of areas:

  • To enhance its vertical expertise. Ocean has developed a unique know-how through specialized innovative solutions in different industry sectors. Ocean is the French leader in tracking solutions in the fields of Public Works and Construction and has developed advanced skills in other areas such as maintenance and troubleshooting, equipment rental and green spaces.
  • To develop new fleet management services and more generally new solutions for connected objects, based on Ocean’s new service platform, designed to integrate services related to the Internet of Things. In addition to fleet management, it will be possible to develop new solutions for monitoring non-powered objects (skips, tanks, agricultural equipment, machinery and building site materials, etc.).

For Ocean, this acquisition is an opportunity to join an international group, to support its growth beyond the French market and to benefit from its innovation capabilities and expertise in areas such as Machine-to-Machine and the Internet of Things.

“With the acquisition of such an innovative and powerful leader as Ocean, we are creating a new European leader in Fleet Management that will support the growth strategy of Orange Applications for Business on the connected objects and M2M markets. Through these advanced technologies, companies managing fleets of vehicles or equipment can leverage huge benefits that will facilitate their digital transformation and develop new processes and business models,” said Thierry Bonhomme, Executive Director of Orange Business Services.

“The project with Orange, which is based on the technical platform recently developed by Ocean, will give us the opportunity to pursue our growth by building on our core success factor: a unique organization and development model,” added Jacques Riviere, President of Ocean.

Fleet management and vehicle tracking is now one of the most advanced sectors in the field of M2M and connected objects, and one of the pillars of the Orange Group’s growth strategy. By 2018, Europe will represent a potential market of 35 million company vehicles, among which more than 20% will be equipped with a fleet management solution1.

Orange Business Services is a leader of applied M2M solutions in France with over 1.3 million connected objects in the areas of smart cities, healthcare, transport, etc. Present on the entire M2M value chain (connectivity, development, integration and management of applications and platforms for connected objects), Orange Business Services has been positioned in 2014 in the Leader Quadrant in the first edition of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Managed M2M Services.

About Orange Business Services

Orange Business Services, the Orange branch dedicated to B2B services, is not only a telecom operator, but also an IT solutions integrator and applications developer in France and around the world. Its 20,000 employees support companies in all areas of their digital transformation: mobile and collaborative workspaces; IT/cloud infrastructure; fixed and mobile connectivity; private and hybrid networks; applications for Internet of Things, 360° customer experience and Big Data analytics; and cybersecurity thanks to dedicated experts and infrastructure to protect information systems. More than 3,000 multinational organizations and 2 million SOHOs, enterprises and local authorities in France rely on Orange Business Services as their trusted partner.

Learn more at www.orange-business.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and our blogs.

Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with annual sales of 39 billion euros in 2014 and has 156,000 employees worldwide at 31 December, 2014. Orange is listed on the NYSE Euronext Paris (symbol ORA) and on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol ORAN).

Orange and any other Orange product or service names included in this material are trademarks of Orange or Orange Brand Services Limited.

1 Source – Berg Study – Fleet Management in Europe – October 2013

Orange Business Services 16/04/15

Co-Star supply tamper evident blade fuse holders for telematics application

IMG_1061Co-Star, the UK based mobile communications company have helped a vehicle telematics installation company who install tracking & monitoring devices for fleet management applications come up with a solution for when drivers remove fuses from blade fuse holders to disenable tracking devices.

Vehicle Telematics companies who install fleet management systems face a major problem when the drivers identify the fuse holders & remove the fuses to stop the equipment working to avoid their vehicles being tracked.

The fuses are then replaced when an engineer is called out to investigate the problem which can result in a costly and wasted service for engineers and installation companies. Understandably this is only the minority of drivers who abuse these types of systems, but to overcome this Co-Star have designed a 20 amp in-line mini blade fuse holder which has a fluorescent yellow cable tie inserted through the cap, which can be tied securely around the fuse once fitted making it tamper proof.

Tim Cosgrove of Co-Star said,” Drivers tampering with the fuse holders used on Telematics equipment is a common problem for installation companies so we modified our standard fuse holder by drilling a small hole through the cap and inserting a bright yellow cable tie through the middle which means the only way the fuse can be removed is if the cable tie is cut”. “The yellow cable tie is not a standard product and difficult to get hold of making it extremely unlikely for anyone to attempt to remove it & if they did it would be evident immediately that someone had tampered with it”.

The fuse holders Co-Star used on the project were 20 amp mini blade type which are available with black, red or blue wires.

If you would like any help or advise on similar projects than please call or e-mail Co-Star for more information: t: +44 (0) 1423 340066 e: sales@co-star.co.uk

M2M connectivity advances fleet management solutions

M2M Fleet Management Solutions Enter Period of Growth

Computers were first brought into commercial vehicle fleets in the 1980s and soon after, they started to connect them via satellite and terrestrial wireless networks. So, it was natural progression for the industry to adopt machine-to-machine connectivity to advance M2M fleet management solutions.fleet management

With them, fleet companies are gaining significant business advantages. Namely, data related to fleets, drivers and the assets they are shipping. The data will then help them make effective business decisions to curb the effects of rising fuel costs, increased regulation and more demanding customers who want their good delivered faster than ever before.

With the fleet industry turning to connected solutions, the global fleet management market will experience a 24% compound annual growth rate over the next five years. By 2019, it will have a value estimate of $35.35 billion. During this timeframe growth will shift to emerging markets. These markets will continue to experience significant growth across a number of industries, which will increase the need for transporting assets.

For example, China is expected to exhibit sales of more than 17 million commercial vehicles per year in the near future. Many of which will have pre-installed telematics technologies and devices that will provide the infrastructure for other fleet management services.

Today, however, a lot of this growth is happening in Europe. A continent where commercial vehicle fleets are an essential part of the economy, the European fleet management market has seen significant growth in recent years and will continue to do so in years to come. At the end of last year, the number of fleet management systems in active use numbered at 3.65 million. By 2018, this will rise to 7.10 million.

As a result of this growth, the number of fleet management connections will grow significantly, creating tremendous opportunity for operators and solution providers. As they take advantage of this growth, they will need to leverage a scalable device management platform that can efficiently manage a growing number of devices, reach endpoints in remote or restricted locations and support a variety of networks.

Cited Sources:

http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/2308172

http://www.berginsight.com/ReportPDF/ProductSheet/bi-fm9-ps.pdf

Libelium enables Smart Logistics offering Realtime Tracking and Sensing of the Goods

Libelium has released new Smart Logistics modules for Waspmote sensor nodes that provide position, sensing and transmission capabilities to enable real time tracking, via 3G, GPS and GPRS. These new modules for Waspmote and Plug & Sense! devices can read geolocation coordinates, collect extra sensor data such as humidity, luminosity, CO, CO2, temperature, or vibration, then send all the information to a web or Cloud server.

Smart Logistics applications include continuous vehicle fleet tracking, container goods control, and asset management, or other location-based services.

sim_908_diagram_big_logo

To guide developers, Libelium has created libraries detailing GPS and sensor data transmission, and an example of how to integrate information gathered with geographic information systems such as Google GIS, Axeda or ESRI. A step-by-step tutorial on geopositioning with the Google Maps API is also available in the technical guides published by Libelium.

David Gascón, CTO at Libelium said: “We design our hardware and systems for low-power consumption, a prerequisite for any logistics control network that collects and transmits data to the Cloud in real time,”

“Our sensor devices are battery powered with a life time of several years so they allow really easy maintenance when installed in vehicles and containers.”

sim908_wasp_antennas_big

Technical points – Smart Logistics modules for Waspmote / Plug & Sense!

Key Features Why it Matters
Real-time tracking is performed by reading longitude/latitude, collecting sensor data, and transmitting via an HTTP request to a Web/Cloud server. Waspmote easily adds sensor data from any of over 70 different sensors (e.g. acceleration, CO, CO2, humidity, IR, luminosity, temperature, vibration, liquid presence, etc.) to location data and sends the information to any Cloud system.
Available wireless technologies include 3G, GPRS, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, 802.15.4, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Smart Low Energy (BLE), GPRS, RF-868MHz, RF-900MHz, Wi-Fi, ZigBee radio interfaces. Waspmote sensor nodes simplify connectivity.
Two modules:
– SIM5218 / 3G+GPS, for high speed packet access (HSPA) at 7.2Mbps bandwidth
– SIM908 / GPRS+GPS, for basic GPRS transmission
Two options available for Waspmote / Plug & Sense! nodes, according to specific use requirements.
Both modules use Quad-Band GSM/EDGE 850MHz/900MHz/1800MHz/1900MHz (US, EU, IC); SIM5218 includes Tri-Band UMTS-
900/1900/2100MHz (EU)
850/1900/2100MHz (US)
800/1900/2100MHz (JP)
Modules are compatible with all the world’s major cell networks.
GPS: the SIM5218 can use complex GPS modes that can complete information with mapping info from A-GPS / S-GPS geolocation servers Position information is useful for real time monitoring of shipping containers, vehicle fleet tracking, for insurance, transport, and security purposes.
Certifications obtained for both modules for CE, FCC, IC; SIM5218 module is also certified Telec, and Jate. Modules are ready to deploy in Europe, Japan and the U.S.

Source: Libelium

Fleet telematics and satellite communications

The race to space is back on as demand for satellite broadband connectivity continues to outpace supply, with planes being a primary consideration at the moment, but fleets likely to benefit as well. Jenny Neill reports.

The race to space is back on as demand for satellite broadband connectivity continues to outpace supply, with planes being a primary consideration at the moment, but fleets likely to benefit as well.

Satellite network operators are betting that efficiency improvements and new inventions will drive down the costs of delivering high-throughput, two-way satellite data, thus making it available to more people, in more places.

The medium and low-Earth orbiting satellite systems designed in the mid- to late-90s have been integrating a number of technological improvements, and they are now poised to come fully to fruition. And some analysts expect that inventions like Kymeta Corporation’s metamaterial beam-tracking antenna will disrupt the markets.

Still in product development, a prototype of the antenna, which combines a standard PCB-like circuit board composed of several thousand sub-wavelength resonators with proprietary software that tunes them, closed a satellite downlink in an internal test earlier this year.

Both airline passengers and fleet owners are likely to benefit, as, with more people buying satellite services, hardware and transmission costs are expected to drop.

Providing connectivity in areas with gaps in cellular coverage, or in parts of the world where building a mobile phone network is too costly, is an obvious place to start.

But there are other opportunities.

Vern Fotheringham, CEO of Kymeta Corporation, envisions using satellite to deliver in-vehicle infotainment to long-haul truckers. There is the possibility of making software updates to vehicles. And Tom Freeman, Kymeta’s senior director of the advanced products and servers group, anticipates the data capabilities and ancillary advancements to include the ability to “inventory items out in the middle of nowhere.”

First Movers

Two satellite service providers, O3b Network and Inmarsat, have already penned agreements with Kymeta to develop flat panel antennas.

Founded in 2007 with backing from Google, Liberty Global and HSBC to build a medium-Earth orbit constellation, O3b Network is a relative newcomer. Inmarsat, on the other hand, was among the first to offer mobile satellite services to marine fleets in 1982.

Both development deals entail incorporating Kymeta’s mTenna into products for underserved markets.

In the case of O3b Networks, the low-cost and lightweight antenna is expected to enable reliable and fast data connectivity for tropical and subtropical nations. The Inmarsat arrangement aims to address another market where demand outstrips service supply: business travelers connected in flight.

SiriusXM is also vying for an early mover advantage in satellite telematics. Its recent move to buy Agero’s connected vehicle services unit may be motivated by a desire to acquire both subscribers and engineering talent.

Another partnership, Aireon, a joint venture between Iridium Communications and NAV Canada, has said it intends to put a global air surveillance system in orbit with the laudable goal of increasing aviation safety and optimizing airliner fuel efficiency.

Finally, NEXT, the re-creation of Iridium’s low-Earth orbiting constellation incorporates into its second generation satellites new GPS receivers designed to track air traffic. And the updated network will also benefit the company’s fleet management customers in the emergency service, mining and construction verticals.

“Fundamentally, we can get more bits per hertz of spectrum with the modern technologies,” says David Wigglesworth, vice president for M2M data services at Iridium. “We just get a lot more efficiency, and we can play that back to our customers in terms of increased speeds.”

According to Fotheringham, a relatively modest-sized flat panel antenna aperture can today deliver about 20 to 30 megabits per second down and two to 10 megabits up, compared to a few hundred or a few thousand bits per second in throughput once available to Omnitracs, one of the first fleet management services to rely on satellite.

The small size of the mTenna prototype shows just how much technology has advanced since the early days of fleet management, and Fotheringham is in a unique position to make that argument. “I was the guy that ran around the country with the very, very first Omnitracs prototype and showed all the trucking companies this first nationwide mobile messaging solution via satellite,” he says.

Creating New Markets

The reason senior managers, like Wigglesworth and Fotheringham, can so readily recite spectral efficiency rates or tout benefits for customers are obvious. They are vying to keep the attention of potential business customers while systems get deployed, integrated and tested; and new business models are designed and pitched.

Although the main focus is currently on airline passengers, fleets are expected to become the main customers in another three or so years.

Peter Vanderminden, industry manager at Microsoft responsible for tracking manufacturing, transportation and supply chain trends, remarks: “Satellite telemetry has long held out promise, but it left a lot of corpses, if you will, littering the landscape – companies that were maybe ahead of their time, hadn’t really thought through the business model. Many proposed a solution that, although it enabled you to be connected all the time, was just cost prohibitive.”

So, when will the price be right?

Analysts and innovators alike predict that all but the largest multinational logistics companies will wait until demand is high enough that a strong case for return on investment can be made.

Still, plenty of market opportunity exists.

According to projections presented by Dominique Bonte, practice director covering global telematics for ABI Research, there was a less than 15% market penetration rate for embedded fleet management telematics systems in the United States overall.

And to be able to provide reliable global coverage remains an elusive goal for many in fleet management telematics. This is especially true of those relying only on cellular networks, according to Microsoft’s Vanderminden.

“With a company like a UPS or a Fed Ex, it’s great that their devices tracking their deliveries can work almost ubiquitously in urban and suburban areas,” he says. “But even here, within the U.S., there are places where you just don’t have the cellular connection – out in the middle of North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Montana; or up into the Adirondacks of New York state trying to make a delivery up to Blue Mountain Lake.”

If marketing hyperbole is to be believed, as early as 2015, nowhere on Earth will be out of reach of the new and updated constellations. Central to such claims are technologies designed to deliver higher throughput through spot beams in the Ka and Ku frequency bands, which is where innovations like Kymeta’s come in.

“Our satellites can now be overhead instead of at the horizon,” says Kymeta’s Freeman. “We can track satellites as they move. So all of a sudden, trees, trucks, buildings and adjacent containers aren’t blocking us. Satellites moving around up there with vehicles moving down here is no longer an issue.”

Source: Jenny Neill /Telematics Update