The term “smart trailer” is generically used to describe the latest advancements in trailer tracking systems for monitoring equipment and cargo.
Market penetration of trailer tracking systems is under 30 percent, but the technology is getting renewed interest. Yet without the right approach to investing in the latest technology, fleets could find themselves with “volumes of data and lack the resources to properly analyze and identify what will result in actionable insights,” said Clem Driscoll with C.J. Driscoll & Associates.
C.J. Driscoll & Associates is a fleet telematics research firm and recently published the Survey of Trucking Fleet Operator Interest in MRM Systems and Services 2019-2020, with a focus on smart trailer technology.
On Oct. 7, during the American Trucking Associations (ATA) Management Conference & Exhibition (MCE) in San Diego, Spireon executives discussed the company’s new Intelligent Trailer Management (ITM) portfolio of “smart trailer” technology.
ITM is the company’s next generation of what the company has been calling “rich data” since it first introduced its trailer telematics solution in 2011, said Roni Taylor, senior vice president of strategy and business development at Spireon.
The new portfolio consists of Spireon’s FleetLocate fleet and asset intelligence system, which consists of telematics technology and the web-based NSpire user portal. FleetLocate collects over one billion data events per month from Spireon’s fleet customers and translates the data into business intelligence.
To further organize and analyze the data that means the most to its customers, Spireon said that ITM is providing these four components:
- Smart Sensor Integration — Integration with proprietary and third-party smart sensors that can include Automatic Tire Inflation Systems (ATIS), Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS), door sensors, temperature probes and more.
- Advanced IntelliScan Platform — Spireon’s IntelliScan cargo sensing technology, which leverages time of flight lasers and optical imaging to deliver 99.9% cargo detection accuracy, has been enhanced with new features that allow for image capture inside the trailer to go beyond simple loaded/unloaded status into visualizing cargo and pinpointing when load status change or damages have occurred. It also includes volumetric analysis so less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers can maximize capacity.
- Enabling Data Sharing and Custom Analytics — Expanded ability to share data with customers via new APIs, extended TMS integration and data warehouse sharing via Spireon’s partnership with Snowflake. Spireon’s partnership with Snowflake allows fleets to access thousands of assets and years of historical data in seconds. It also opens the door for fleets to combine telematics data with third-party data sources to create net-new custom business intelligence modules and customizable KPIs.
- Actionable Intelligence — Spireon is using telematics and sensor data to generate new business intelligence, KPIs, visualizations, and targeted modules for trailer maintenance.
A Spireon customer, Larry Hall, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Premier Trailer Leasing, anticipates where ITM is headed.
“We look out into the future where the data derived from these systems eventually becomes predictive through heuristics — ways to help humans crunch this information. So instead of saying, ‘Hey, you’ve got 18,000 miles on this trailer, so at 25,000, you should do a maintenance inspection.’ It can say, ‘Hey, we have sensed how many times the brakes have been applied, and not only the application of the brakes, but the pressure on the pedal.’ And that information is analyzed to predict how it will affect the brake shoes, so we know that within the next 60 days, we’re going to need a brake job, or a wheel end, or more closely check the tire tread depth,” Hall said.
Spireon, based in Irvine, Calif., was founded in 2002 as a GPS tracking and business intelligence provider. The company has grown to 400 employees and its technology is installed on four million assets that include passenger cars, fleet vehicles and trailers. In November, 2018, Spireon was acquired by Breenbriar Equity Group, a private equity firm in New York that specializes in transportation.
For more information about the new ITM product, visit https://www.spireon.com/trailer-management/.