Telematics Wire recently got into a conversation with Managing Director of 3Dtracking, Noam Cimand. He is responsible for the company’s global business strategy and operations. The excerpts of the conversation are as follows:
Q. Tell us about 3Dtracking and how its product/services are different from existing product and service providers?
A: 3Dtracking is a global telematics platform provider. The company was founded in 2005 and is currently based in Guernsey. We offer service management software solutions to fleet management and telematics service providers that allow them to integrate a vast array of devices and applications into their service offerings. In this way, we help our service provider customers, who really are our partners, to expand their business horizons and better serve their customers. We also work with device manufacturers and accessory vendors who deal with different types of location tracking and IoT-enabled devices. With 3Dtracking, service providers can develop high-end, cost-effective offerings for not only vehicle and fleet tracking, but also fuel management, driver behavior monitoring, vehicle diagnostics through CANBUS and on-board integration and much more.
As we see it, we offer three key differentiators: First, we are a software-only vendor. Our software is designed to suit all types of telematics or IoT-enabled devices. Our platform is available as a white label offering, which means our service provider partners have the freedom to market and sell their services with our software as if the software is an extension of its service, while enjoying all the technical and service support from us.
Next, our software platform is device agnostic. The software can be integrated with and support nearly any device and accessory available on the market. If a new device is added to one of our service provider partners’ecosystems, our software experts can easily integrate it into the network.
Finally, our third differentiator is that we deliver high-end support. We provide both technical and service support to our partners located in any part of the world. We have dedicated account managers and multilingual support teams located across the world, making hassle-free, one-on-one support available anywhere, anytime.
Q. Why is 3Dtracking looking at the Indian market?
A. The Indian telematics industry is currently transforming from the basic location tracking to high-end services that include CANBUS integration, on-board diagnostics, IoT, live video feeds and mobile apps. Telematics service providers in India are keen to roll out these advanced services, but are confronted with several challenges. The rigid platforms they currently used not support the new devices required to run these services. This is where we see the opportunity, as our software platform is device agnostic. IoT-driven services present a huge opportunity for India, especially with the Government of India mandating telematics in all public vehicles to ensure passenger safety and prevent thefts. In addition, with the growing popularity of connected cars, we see a new set of opportunities for telematics in the private sector too.
The fact that multiple languages are spoken across the country adds another challenge to service providers, especially in terms of delivering support in the partners’ local language. Here, we find a unique advantage because our software can run a number of languages.
Q. What, according to you, is the scope of vehicle telematics in India?
A. Currently, most companies in India are using telematics services for the basic tracking purposes. The platforms used for these entry level telematics services are not open systems and cannot support more advanced fleet management and telematics services. With the Government of India making it mandatory for all public vehicles to implement telematics, the scenario is set to change drastically. The motive behind this mandate is to ensure passenger safety. India is witnessing a large increase in the number of accidents and instances of vehicle theft. Telematics has risen as a means to safeguard the lives of people and vehicles. The object, from the Government’s perspective, is that in near future, telematics will make
Indian roads are safer and less congested. The connected vehicle concept is gaining popularity in the private sector too. With 4G offering high-speed communications infrastructure, automotive manufacturers and telematics service providers find lucrative opportunities with regard toin-vehicle infotainment as well as advanced security features like live video recording and monitoring, remote locking, instant alerts and so on. Fuel management is another attractive value proposition driving telematics adoption among private fleet owners. By monitoring driving patterns and optimizing traffic routes, fleet owners can realize great cost savings.
Another major driver for growth in telematics in India is the prospect around vehicle data. As we see in European countries, telematics companies are increasingly leveraging the data to generate new insights that can drive business efficiency. For example, telematics data can be used to detect anomalies in the performance of the vehicle or identify driving patterns. This information helps fleet managers optimize the performance of the vehicle through preventive maintenance and improves driver efficiency by implementing effective rules. As the market evolves and gains understanding, we will see great advancements in this segment in the near future.
Q. Which market segment are you eyeing?
A. We are primarily targeting the telematics service providers to assist them in delivering innovative services for customers with medium to large fleets. Examples of the types of additional services our platform can help deliver on include driver behavior monitoring, vehicle diagnostics, fuel monitoring, automated dispatch and fleet management logistics.
Furthermore, with the advent of the Government’s mandated use of telematics in all public vehicles – public transportation vehicles or passenger carriers, we can look forward to the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) or AIS 140 as a set of requirements to be adopted by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and aftermarket players, which are designed to help optimise the existing transport infrastructure to improve safety of vehicles and security of passengers. Once these changes start taking place, we believe there will be an even greater need from the market for the pliable functionality our platform can offer.
Q. How do you think white labeled solutions can play a role in the expansion of the telematics industry in India?
A. One of the main roadblocks preventing telematics adoption in India is the cost involved in implementing the technology. Telematics involves three components –hardware, software and services. Service providers often have to spend huge manpower and resources in procuring, implementing and running these services. Our white-labeled solution eliminates a major part of this hurdle because we provide the service provider the software and the services, which they can brand as their own and go to market.
In short, the white label offering helps our partners focus on growing their business and customer base, instead of having to design their own bespoke platform. In addition, we are able to integrate a number of devices and applications, thereby allowing the service provider to broaden their offering to that many more possible clients than they would be able to, if they were using a bespoke or application sensitive platform. Furthermore, we are continuously upgrading our platform and services, without any cost to the service provider or their client.
Q. What are your views on existing telematics standards and policy in India?
A. The new AIS 140 is set to transform the telematics industry in India and will be welcomed by the industry at large. The market will likely expand exponentially as public vehicles will need to be fitted with advanced security and tracking features. We presume that this will have the knock-on effect of increased awareness around connected vehicles and the advantages for both business and private use.
One of the visible hindrances in the wider adoption of this standard is the difference in policies adopted by different states across India. We expect that this will change in the near future as policy stakeholders will seek ways to synchronize these policies and create a uniform code for all. The AIS 140 will be hailed as a significant milestone in the country’s drive towards building an effective telematics adoption strategy.
Q. What are the basic differences in the policy scenario between other countries where you are working and India? What should the government here do further?
A. In some developed countries, governments have made telematics mandatory in certain vehicle classes. In addition, strict standards have been set by governments for the collection and use of personal and vehicle data for analytics. For example, GDPR, the data protection policy implemented across the European Union, has released clear guidelines, enabling providers to create a standard platform in participating countries. An ideal situation would be to have a common global standard with regard to telematics which would allow businesses across the world to participate and contribute towards the growth of vehicle telematics. It would also improve telematics adoption in developing countries like India, as device manufacturers, software providers and integrators across the world could participate in combined projects without worrying about the individual policies of each and every country.
India is unique in its diversity in culture, language and norms. However, this has led to every state having its own regulations, which make telematics integration a challenge for OEMs and providers. Such discrepancies can result in compliance issues leading to several legal and financial implications. The Government should seriously consider these issues and providea common standard across all states.
In the future, insurance companies will increasingly leverage telematics data for settling insurance claims. Regulators, therefore, must consider the intricacies involved in utilising the data for commercial use and set appropriate guidelines to ensure effective and safe use of this data.