Q&A: Volvo on doing more with fleet telematics data

Q&A: Volvo on doing more with fleet telematics data

Ödesjö has spent more than a decade with Volvo in a variety IT and automotive functions. In his current capacity, he heads up a telematics software development organization of 120, which develops and maintains telematics solutions for customers both inside Volvo Group and at other automotive OEMs. 

Before joining Volvo in October 2003, he worked for technology solutions company PTC. Before PTC, he worked as a systems engineering consultant for Combitech Systems.

He spoke to TU’s Andrew Thompson and Jan Stojaspal about what more Volvo can be doing with the rich vehicle data it collects and how to better integrate Dynafleet, Volvo’s fleet management solution, with the business processes of its customers.

How do you see the fleet management space is evolving?

There are essentially two perspectives: Vehicle-centric and customer-centric.

From an OEM perspective, we are trying to expand our business, which has traditionally been based around vehicle data. Part of our work is trying to find better and new ways of using the data we have. Another part is about how we can better integrate our fleet management tools with the business processes of our clients.

From a third-party perspective, they are trying to get closer into the vehicle and get better vehicle data. We have an advantage in the data respect, of course, because we build the vehicles and know them inside and out. [But] I think third-party solutions have a more mature view on integrating into the business processes of customers than the OEMs.

We need to meet in the middle a little. The fleet customers want one supplier, they want one integrated solution. And that is where I think where we’ll end up.

Tell me about trying to find better ways of using the vehicle data that you have.

We have a lot of data from the vehicle that can be used in a lot of different ways. It’s really just the imagination that sets the limits on what you can use the data for.

If you look at one of our newest additions, we have something we call the I-See. When you drive the truck on cruise control and have this I-See service, then you get data on topography that is ahead of you. So the truck actually knows how to gear and when to accelerate and which gear to use in advance. And, by using this service, you can save up to five percent of fuel. What’s more, a truck with I-See reports road conditions back to the Cloud, so when the next truck comes, it can download this data and use it.

But fuel economy is only one thing. Consider that you take the vehicle data, connect it to the broader connected ecosystem around it and use it to make smart decisions about which truck should go on which mission – because you can take into consideration driver times, mileage, fuel consumption, traffic situation, different routes.

What about the part about better integrating your fleet management tools with the business processes of your clients?

There are huge differences in IT maturity on the customer side – from someone who is still working with pen and paper, and managing everything through the phone to the more advanced customers who actually have the fleet management system integrated into their business processes.

But, overall, the space is maturing, and I think we are going towards a more mature customer who will require more integrated solutions. I think that’s the next step here.

Your fleet management solution is Dynafleet. Where do you see improvements there?

It could be expanded with more offerings, and we are doing that all the time.

Right now, there is a lot of focus on fuel economy and driver management. You have driver times with the digital tachograph, a lot of things with fuel economy, positioning and, of course, messaging between the driver and the dispatcher.

But it might be that we need to add more features so that we can be more of a one-stop shop, one solution that the fleet owner can purchase and avoid having to use several different systems.

For example, today we have more or less only one interface on Dynafleet, but there are a lot of different users of the system. And I think we need to be much more adaptable to who is actually using the system, in what role, and what kind of data he needs. In other words, if you are the fleet owner, you would like to have one view of the system. If you are a dispatcher, you need to have access to different views. Usability will be an important factor in the future, and Dynafleet should be easy to use.

Another example is providing integration options. A big fleet will definitely want to have their fleet management system integrated with their other systems.

Or you add a service planning system. Then you can see, okay, this truck needs service, and instead of booking it for a trip, you book it for a service. And if it’s all integrated, you can get feedback from the dealer or the service center when the parts are ready, and the truck can come in for a service. You can maximize the uptime and thus the profits for the fleet owners if you get this into the business processes and you can be more proactive in the planning.

Do you think it’s going to be a fleet manager or OEM that develops that, or will it be a meta developer that comes and aggregates these services themselves?

Good question. I think either one. I think there will be multiple players as well in this field. It will not be one—I think we will continue to see several different solutions in this.

Andrew Thompson is a regular contributor to TU. Jan Stojaspal is the executive editor of TU.

For all the latest telematics trends, check out Telematics for Fleet Management Europe 2014 on March 12-13 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Content and Apps for Automotive Europe 2014 on April 8-9 in Munich, Germany, Insurance Telematics Europe 2014 on May 6-7 in London, Telematics India and South Asia 2014 on May 28-29 in Bangalore, India, Insurance Telematics Canada 2014 on May 28-29 in Toronto, Telematics Detroit 2014 on June 4-5 in Novi, Michigan, Advanced Automotive Safety USA 2014 on July 8-9 in Novi, Michigan, and Telematics Munich 2014 on Nov. 10-11 in Munich, Germany.

For exclusive telematics business analysis and insight, check out TU’s reports: Telematics Connectivity Strategies Report 2013The Automotive HMI Report 2013Insurance Telematics Report 2013 and Fleet & Asset Management Report 2012.


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