Transportation Technology Journal
Analyzing the implications of evolving technology in the transportation marketplace.

Telematics focus: Spireon and beyond

Published 3.9.2017
Telematics offerings tend to be very similar to one another. Most use the same technology to collect the same or similar range of the readings. Differentiating between services can be difficult and in such a market, pricing power is minimal. TTJ periodically analyses market developments in telematics.

General Motors (GM) and Spireon are partnering to offer telematics to GM fleet customers.

Using the OnStar 4G LTE hardware embedded in GM vehicles, Spireon will offer a customized version of its FleetLocate fleet management system on Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac vehicles. The new system will be available in May 2017.

So this is for fleets that buy GM vehicles, and want the OnStar system to be used in a more rigorous telematics way.

Spireon’s FleetLocate system joins other GM Fleet business solutions that include a version of Telogis Fleet for GM and GM’s proprietary Commercial Link tool.

Spireon is an aftermarket telematics provider that claims 3.75 million subscribers. 350 “data events” a month. Spireon offers three types of service, and its main focus is data collection and presentation.

Spireon offers a fleet tracking service FleetLocate which can be applied to trucks or vehicles as in the GM partnership. The company also offers service to used car dealers and car dealers that allow the dealer to track the car while it’s being paid for. The company does offer the option of remotely disabling the car if payment is late.

The company was founded as ProCon in 2002 and renamed itself Spireon in 2012. At least in 2010, it was using T-Mobile’s network. In February 2017, Spireon announced a solar powered telematics solution for trailers.

…solar-harvesting technology with a powerful processor that maintains its pulse on trailer activity with minimal current. The FL Solar provides quick and easy installation under 15 minutes…

Spireon is a private company and as such faces no requirement to publicize its financials, however, its growth in recent years has been strong.

Spireon grew revenue 20 percent year over year for the first half of 2016, and more than doubled its profitability.

A recent report from analyst firm C.J. Driscoll & Associates estimates that the U.S. mobile resource management (MRM) market will expand to over 14 million units, and MRM hardware and service revenues will grow to over $4.7 billion.

Truck-Lite, which produces lighting and mirrors, entered the telematics market.

Known as Road Ready, the system creates “smart” trailers using a solar-powered Master Control Unit and a series of peel-and-stick sensors. The solar power itself comes with a roof-mounted solar panel and a 10-year battery that will maintain a charge for 60 days without any sunlight. The underlying firmware is designed to minimize power draws, and just one hour of daylight will offer enough power for five days.

Solar powered trailer tracking is an industry trend. No connection to the tractor is required, however, one can be established.

Monitored systems and issues include tire pressure, Anti-lock Braking Systems, open doors, moving or missing cargo, reefer temperature and fuel levels, arrival and departure, and Global Positioning System data to support what is marketed as Hypertracking. An in-cab warning light will warn about failing bulbs anywhere on the trailer and from any manufacturer. A new nose box mounted at the front of the trailer continually runs circuit checks.

Cummings is also heavily invested in telematics with its system called Connected Advisor.

The system is designed to isolate and interpret key engine and aftertreatment data every day, and provide Cummins Engine customers with prioritized, time-based recommendations to distinguish between immediate repair needs and those that can be scheduled a few days out. Fault reports, including probable causes and recommended actions, are sent to fleet managers daily to help initiate the repair process. For faults requiring prompt attention, immediate notification reports are provided to alert a fleet manager.

Cummings claims one difference for their system is that it estimates “time to failure” giving fleets notice for needed maintenance. Over the air updating is still a rarity, but that won’t last, as it is (provided security is assured) to convenient a method for any provider to ignore.

PeopleNet and Noregon are extending their collaboration to introduce a telematics product that will be suitable for all-makes, all-models.

Partners since 2009, PeopleNet and Noregon say the initial focus of this expanding collaboration will be to deliver a PeopleNet fault integration solution, with integrated predictive analytics, as part of PeopleNet’s ConnectedFleet platform.

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