The Age of Analytics: technology on display at ATA

The American Trucking Association’s annual convention is always packed with big announcements, especially for technology. Remote diagnostics and advanced “analytics” reigned supreme on the exhibit floor in Orlando, Oct. 20-22, at the Marriott World Center. More than being just a passing trend or fad, these technologies are a sign of the times. Trucking is in the Age of Analytics.

It wasn’t long ago when diagnosing an engine required plugging a code reader into a truck, downloading data from its electronic control module (ECM), and researching available information from the manufacturer.

Navistar has a new remote diagnostics portal, OnCommand Connection. While it is not the first portal, it is the only one using an open architecture that takes codes directly from fleets’ existing telematics systems.

Whether a truck is in motion or at rest, an active fault code shows up in full context with a red, yellow or green severity status and recommended action. PeopleNet’s fault-code integration is complete. And XRS is testing fault codes and Navistar’s touchscreen display options. The mobile XRS app runs on any Windows or Android platform with electronic logs, messaging and other features.

Omnitracs has new data available in its Critical Event Recorder or CER application. Alerts from active and passive safety vehicle systems, tire pressure monitoring and inflation systems, can be read to drivers while vehicles are in motion and instant messages sent to fleet managers. CER has a robust set of analytical tools.

The Virtual Load View feature in the Omnitracs MCP driver interface is a push-button option for owner operators to give load tracking to brokers and fleets. Omnitracs also has a new Android proof-of-delivery app.

Rand McNally has TrueTrack, a web application to control the in-cab routing for drivers and monitor their compliance. Its HD 100 device is also available. This small black box pairs with tablets, phones, and the company’s IntelliRoute GPS device to create a full mobile fleet management system.

DriveCam uses a window-mounted recording device to capture forward and cab-facing video when triggered by speeding, hard braking, swerving and other risky driving behaviors. A video clip and contextual data is uploaded to DriveCam’s cloud servers. The event is analyzed and results presented in a Web portal.

The portal has an intuitive workflow and visual analytical tools for safety managers. Each user has a role-based dashboard with customized key indicators like a stacked ranking of drivers according to their accident probability. Everything about the portal is designed to improve “coaching moments” with drivers.

A mobile version of the portal is available for the iPad so fleet managers can review video clips and coach drivers outside the office. Drivers can also visit a website for in-cab coaching.

SmartDrive now captures data from third-party active safety systems that include Meritor-Wabco, Bendix and Mobileye. High-risk and low-risk events are segmented and combined with onboard video, audio, and vehicle data into a unified view for driver coaching.

FleetRisk Advisors, perhaps the most advanced risk analysis tool in the transportation industry today, enables a highly proactive approach towards accident prevention. The model predicts which groups of drivers in a fleet will have an event in the next 28 days. The accuracy of the prediction is greater than 90 percent.

FleetRisk uses advanced IBM software to mine and analyze thousands of data elements from its customer databases. The models are not just predicting events that will occur. They identify changes in driver behavior due to stressors in the driver’s life. Suggestions are given for the remediation that will work best work to alleviate that stress.

SkyBitz showed off its new visual dashboard, InSight Trends, and a new cellular trailer tracking system, the Falcon GXT3000. Insight Trends serves up instant analysis of asset productivity via its visual dashboards. Users can drill down to more details on the outliers. The Falcon GXT3000 is manufactured by SkyBitz for operations that require frequent reporting on the status of mobile assets.

Orbcomm has the GT 1100, its first self-powered solar device with unlimited messaging. The initial release has a cellular communications platform but future releases will have dual-mode satellite communications.

Jump Technologies announced planned vs. actual reporting for its JumpTrack proof-of-delivery (POD) cloud-based application available on standard iOS and Android platforms.

Truly, the transportation industry has entered the Age of Analytics. Using these new technologies and features, fleets are able to identify problems early, eliminate the root causes and operate more efficiently.