Three weeks into his new job as the chief executive of Omnitracs, Ray Greer sat for lunch with trucking media and analysts at the company’s Outlook user conference in Nashville, Feb. 27.
Before leading Omnitracs, a mobile fleet management technology provider, Greer was the president of BNSF Logistics, a large third-party logistics (3PL) firm.
BNSF Logistics recently went through a process of certifying 40,000 carriers in its network for electronic logging device (ELD) compliance, he explained. The lion’s share of its carriers were using ELD products from Omnitracs.
At BNSF, Greer saw the opportunity to leverage data from ELD applications to gain visibility of shipment status and to more quickly and efficiently locate capacity for loads.
During the lunch meeting in Nashville, Greer expressed interest in Omnitracs offering new freight matching technologies for 3PLs, freight brokers and carriers. To do this, the company is looking to accumulate more data and acquire companies as needed.
“The Holy Grail of trucking is matching carriers with shippers,” he said. “It is going to be fun, and I’m excited about how we are going to tap that market.”
Thirty years ago, Qualcomm pioneered satellite tracking and mobile communications in the trucking industry. In 2013, Omnitracs — a name given to the Qualcomm fleet management technology subsidiary — was purchased from Qualcomm by private equity firm Vista.
Carriers that use mobile hardware and software systems from Omnitracs, which include the XRS and MCP platforms, can satisfy the load tracking requirements of their shipper, 3PL and freight broker customers by sharing information through an application called Virtual Load View.
Omnitrac’s Virtual Load View secures carrier location information and shares the details that carriers agree to share with trusted customers. The company plans to bring new capabilities to market by leveraging its route planning and optimization applications with Virtual Load View and other technologies.
For example, if a driver in Texas is empty with six hours remaining on his hours-of-service duty status, “we need to present loads (to the driver) that he can do in six hours,” he said. The loads would be coming from the carrier’s transportation management system, or from a shipper, 3PL or freight broker that will be using Omnitracs technology “in the middle” of the freight matching process.
“We will change the way carriers think about getting their next load,” he said.
The same routing optimization technologies are being applied to identify platooning opportunities for carriers. Omnitracs has a partnership with Peloton Technologies that will soon make platooning a reality. Its technology enables two trucks to maintain highway speeds in close proximity by automating their throttle and braking. The lead tractor in a platoon will save 4.5 percent in fuel and the rear vehicle 10 percent.
During the Outlook user conference, Kevin Haugh, chief product and strategy officer of Omnitracs, explained the depth and breadth of the company’s fleet management technology that it acquired and has been developing under the ownership of Vista.
Recent development has focused on converging technologies in the “first, middle and final mile” of transportation and distribution. The company has developed applications for carriers with all types of operations, and at the conference announced a new unified stack of technology solutions called Omnitracs One.
The new, integrated stack of software-as-a-service applications bring together features and functionalities from the Omnitracs portfolio of routing, dispatch, compliance, navigation, safety and more products in a single-source user experience.
The single-source user experience covers everything from fleet operations management to mobile driver interfaces, data analytics, data discovery and reporting, he explained.
For the data analytics and discovery component, Omnitracs created new user experiences that give a comprehensive view of fleet operations with key indicators for vehicle and driver status. Drill-down features give the ability to find and take action on real-time information, he said, and to predict problems ahead of time.
Omnitracs One is designed to be device agnostic to give fleets a broader array of options based on their needs with an “open and secure” architecture for instant access to a network of technology partners and system integrations.
As part of the Omnitracs One platform, the company will be rolling out an Android version of its in-cab IVG platform later in the year.
“We want to make it easy for drivers to do what they do,” he said. “We are able to bring everything together seamlessly for the driver so they can manage their workday better.”