Fortunately, over the last few years, these drawbacks have been overcome and, through the use of state-of-the-art cellular technology, mobile broadband is now available.
Nowadays, mobile data coverage is well extended providing increasing bandwidth to vehicle fleets. As a consequence, more and more applications and solutions based on real time communications are arising into this market providing multiple advantages directly related with the financial statements of fleet operators by reducing operational costs, improving revenue streams and cross selling opportunities.
Reducing Operational Costs
The first applications that benefit from the maturity of communications have been those related to optimize operations in the fleets. Among all the solutions in the market, the following are the most relevant in terms of cost reduction and market penetration.
Fleet Tracking Systems
The latest systems for fleet tracking allow a real-time location of every vehicle in the fleet. Fleet tracking can increase vehicle fuel efficiency by identifying where in your fleet there is room for improvement. Costs are reduced in the following ways:
- Reducing vehicle speed: Diverse studies all over the world outline that driving with an adequate speed could save from 7% to 14% on fuel consumption. Most GPS vehicle tracking solutions provide accurate speed information about each vehicle tracked. But the best GPS solutions also include alerting features that will notify you immediately when a vehicle exceeds a set speed threshold. Connected with a reliable communication system alerts to driver can be given from the fleet management center to have a continuous improve on driving performance.According to Ford Motor Company, every hour of idle time is equal to approximately 25 miles of driving. GPS tracking systems with real-time communication help you to reduce fuel costs by notifying you when a vehicle idles for excessive periods of time, which can waste fuel and decrease productivity.
- Improved routing and dispatching: Having a real-time precise location of every vehicle, help dispatchers to manage effectively routing and dispatching. Ensuring that vehicles take the most direct route to any job site and can get lost drivers back on track. Synchronization with current traffic conditions allow diverting drivers around delays resulting in improved truck fuel efficiency. Depending on the routes and previous dispatching tasks fuel savings could be up to 25%.
- Proper vehicle maintenance: Vehicles that receive regular maintenance run more efficiently and use less fuel than neglected vehicles. Real-time communication allow remote alert management based on calendar time, engine on-time, or mileage depending on the type of service needed.
Video Surveillance (CCTV)
Installing real-time camera recording onboard increases security of passengers and drivers as well as accident management and reporting. Reliable communications ensure that whenever an incident come across a real-time video streaming can be sent to a monitoring center to decide how to manage it the best way preparing emergency services before they arrive minimizing management time of the incident and determining liabilities.
As well CCTV allows better solving of accident disputes and insurance companies safe on trials and determination of liabilities. Therefore, more and more insurances are offering discounts to those vehicles which have real-time CCTV which can go up to 15%.
Driving Management Systems
Having a connected bus console which informs fleet management center and the driver about how efficiently is he driving allows a best practice from the driver and a best practices analysis in the headquarters for recommendations and training. Systems installed in fleets all over the world have resulted in fuel reduction from 10% to 15%.
This technology alerts the driver on how his acceleration and braking influences the energy consumption of the vehicle. Moreover, if this system is connected to a centralized system it allows to detect best practices, make training programs and schedule incentives for promoting those best practices among the rest of the drivers.
Corporate Networking and Wi-Fi for Service Fleets
Having a real-time connected vehicle with cybersecurity (VPNs) mechanisms allow extending the office to the vehicle. Lots of service fleets are used to move technicians for onsite inspections. Having an extended office allow real-time reporting of the situation ensuring best results on the services and lowering the ticket costs up to 30% in some cases for the following reasons.
- Reduced labor costs: There are cost savings in two areas, technician time to travel to the office for writing and delivering a whole report of the ticket and average of qualified technician needed (which are more expensive) thanks to a remote guidance system.
- Reduced fuel consumption: Saves unnecessary trips to the office by skilled technicians.
Teldat Automotive line provides highly-reliable communication platforms with multiple back-up features, extreme ruggedization and the most advanced networking protocols to ensure connectivity of all the above mentioned solutions as well as isolation and security among them.
We were present, as a sponsor, at the European Utility Telecom Conference (EUTC) in Dublin. There we had the opportunity to further experience the most commonly used Smart Grid technologies and how these optimized both deployment and maintenance costs, by adapting to certain topologies.
Over the last few years, we have experienced a very significant advance in the efficiency of transmission over wireless technologies. Broadband capabilities have increased to the point where they have overtaken cable, ADSL for example, and come close to the experiences of home fiber internet (100Mbps)
The evolution of wireless connectivity has given us the means to provide connectivity to mobile environments such as cars, buses, trains, etc., providing a perfect and fertile ground for the emergence of numerous services based on connectivity. The appearance of data over cellular networks and smartphones less than 10 years ago (and the subsequent worldwide boom in applications) may serve as an example. Likewise, broadband in on-board environments will revolutionize the number of applications and services present in transport fleets and other vehicles.
The boom in on-board services is occurring as we speak. During the last 3 years, and in conjunction with broadband, solutions have been developed that range from security applications (CCTV, alarms, controlled start, synchronization with the police, to name but a few), to managing fleets (GPS tracking, communication over data networks, synchronization with road conditions, traffic density, etc.), and driving performance (SAE, speedometer control, fuel consumption, routes, breakdowns, level of occupation, etc.), as well as passenger on-board entertainment, WIFI, messaging, timetables and digital signage.
All these services have one point in common, they need communications. Up until now, there were two types of architectures:
- Firstly, those operating fleets who had decided to independently manage their communications, adding emerging services over their multiservice communications platform.
- Secondly, those operating fleets who had progressively contracted independent services including communications. We will now look at the advantages and drawbacks of both of them.
Multiple Services with Communications
- A service provider controls the whole service. Consequently, the responsibility of how the system operates lies with a single party.
- Each service needs a dedicated device. (Applications SW + Communications.)
- If you want to integrate a new service, you are under the obligation to go to your service provider.
- The devices are not specifically designed for communications. Performance is poorer in areas with low coverage, radio behavior, operating functions, etc., and frequently not approved by the connectivity provider. Who is responsible when there is a drop in communications? The carrier or the service provider?
- Difficulty in integrating multiple services. E.g., on-board entertainment service via WiFi and Internet access over the same radio wave means using the same provider. (Thus preventing you from choosing the market solutions that best meet your needs.)
- Complex maintenance and operation. Management of independent communications with numerous SIMs and devices that behave differently.
- Installations aren’t shared. For instance, having multiple antennas and cabling in vehicles restrict changes (perforations, etc.)
Multiple Services Communications
- A specialized communication device allows both the monitoring and debugging of communication faults. (Coverage, packet loss, network synchronization, etc.)
- Just like a router in an office, an on-board router is designed to interconnect different PCs, with QoS mechanisms, FW and monitoring per port, thus debugging service behavior and the interaction between network components.
- A single and reliable communication device allows the same interface to be shared among various services. (For example, WiFi services for marketing, entertainment and Internet access.)
- Simplifies communications maintenance to a single device and one or various pinpointed SIM cards.
- Sharing of installations: the same antennas are used for different services.
- Offers scalability, so adding new, emerging and future services is simple.
- Allows numerous services to be incorporated with independent services (making it possible to choose those that better adapt to each type of solution).
- Uses devices certified by the carrier, guaranteeing the communication provider is responsible for communication.
- A service provider does not control the communications. However, a multiservice platform has certain mechanisms, such as independent management plans, allowing some flexibility in customization through services.
- Another device is needed in addition to those installed by the service providers. However, each device with communication, provided by a service provider, has an additional cost to include said communications, which is discountable in this scenario.
In short, if the end client is interested in a single service per vehicle and not future expansion, the option of service with communications would be the best. However, if, on the other hand, the client wishes to gradually use the newer and improved technologies available, he is better off with an architecture based on a single communications installation (where new services can be added as they are required).
Teldat, as a corporate communications router manufacturer and a major supplier to large telecommunication carriers that offer multiple services using the company’s devices, supports (by means of its on-board Automotive and Rail platforms) the latest technologies providing multiservice communication environments.
Smart Power Grids consist of the integration of power grid elements in advanced information systems to benefit power suppliers, distributors and consumers. These grids combine generation and distribution resources with demand through wide use of state-of-the art information and communication technologies.
Communications play a crucial role in the deployment of smart grids, requiring them to be resistant, secure, reliable, manageable and based on standards that guarantee connectivity with other grid elements. Their key function is to gather the wide range of data available on the grid using systems for processing said data and decision-making centres to enhance the efficiency of electricity companies through optimising power generation, supply and demand.
Smart grid advantages for power suppliers
One of the challenges facing Smart Grids is the simultaneous connection of all devices generating information to processing, analysis and decision-making centres. This requires a secure and reliable communications infrastructure capable of compiling a wide variety of data and different transmission methods to ensure a firm basis for the successful deployment of smart power grids capable of transforming business processes as expected by electricity companies.
The use of state-of-the-art information technologies in power transmission and distribution results in greater efficiency, connectivity and cost reduction and introduces electricity companies to the “Big Data” concept that revolutionises their traditional business models. This means that real time data can now be obtained on energy use patters and consumer interaction. It also enables companies to make dynamic changes to power generation, transmission and distribution to optimise generation and distribution costs and reduce energy losses.
The importance of institutional support for smart grid
Governments and regulatory bodies from all over the world are also actively promoting the use of smart grids by implementing subsidies, regulations and specific guidelines in order to reduce emissions, increase competition in energy markets and improve services offered.
The challenges of tomorrow
Adaptation of power generation and distribution grids to a Smart Grid is a challenge for “utilities”. However, Teldat has been developing REGESTA technology for Smart Grids since their initial deployment in Europe.