Anil Kumar, Managing Director, AKS Software, shares his views on the implementation of vehicle tracking devices in India and their challenges along with the regulatory issues.
Q. Could you please share with the readers of Telematics Wire, what was the vision with which AKS Software was started?
The vision was to establish a software consultancy company, which should be known for its quality product & services, reasonable prices, and a high reputation like “A.F. Ferguson & Company” – a well reputed name in Accountancy those days.
Q. AKS Software is primarily a software solution provider. How does vehicle tracking and fleet management fit into the scheme of things for AKS Software?
Over a period of time, we realized that market does not need custom made software any more. Only ready-to-use software are sold now-a-days at all levels and in all fields. Therefore, we took a turn and converted AKS it to a solutions company which develops & implements innovative solutions driven by our quality software. Usually such solutions are a combination of software and specialized hardware.
Q. Could you share some the areas where you are providing your solutions in vehicle tracking in India and abroad?
AKS has been the pioneer in providing these services. We are currently tracking more than 1500+ vehicles in India and East Africa. We are providing vehicle tracking and fuel monitoring solutions in following domains:
– Solid Waste management for Municipal bodies
– Fleet of large organizations, where large number of vehicles are deployed for carrying their raw material or finished goods. e.g. Sugar factories, Tea Factories.
– Private individual vehicle owners.
We are working in India as well as East Africa in this field. We have enhanced the scope of this application, by including additional functions like:
* monitoring the Level of Fuel in the tank,
* monitoring & controlling the dispensing of Fuel at organization’s own fuel stations,
* monitoring the Payload on the vehicles,
Q. How do you think your comprehensive solution like the one being provided in Kenya can help companies in India?
If you analyze carefully, you will find that this application is primarily meant to achieve higher efficiency of the vehicular fleet and to minimize irregularities & theft of Fuel and Material loaded on vehicle. Therefore the major market of this solution is developing countries all over the world, – and not Western Europe, Japan, or America.
Incidentally for obvious economic reasons, such irregularities & thefts are more prevalent in African region than in India. Therefore when we design and implement a solution for that market, it is more robust, fool proof, and has more stringent checks & controls. We therefore, gain experience in East Africa and then develop solutions for that market. Later, these solutions are implemented in Indian market as well, so as to deliver a product/solution which is superior to what our competition do.
Q. What are the challenges which you have faced while implementing vehicle tracking solution in India?
While implementing vehicle tracking solutions in India, we had to face few challenges. Some of the major issues which should be mentioned are:
• Since the solution is aimed to eliminate thefts and irregularities at Driver’s level, we usually face non cooperation from field staff – people like Drivers etc.
• Sabotage of the equipment so as to ensure that vehicle cannot be monitored.
• In case of municipal bodies, the biggest issue is that nobody wants to take responsibility for anything – a typical government scenario.
• In many pockets of india, for example in mining areas, GSM/GPRS network is not available. In such area, we need to install Wireless Towers and achieve communication through such towers – a very expensive, time taking, and complex process.
• The quality of GPRS signal varies from area to area. In certain area, one service provider’s signal is stronger, while in another area his signal is very weak and another service provider’s signal is stronger. To take care of this problem, we have developed tracking devices with two active SIM cards (of two service providers). Whichever gets better signal, that SIM card takes over communication in that pocket. This also takes care of the problem of vehicles transporting material across different countries. For example if a vehicle carries material from Kenya to Uganda, the moment it enters Ugandan borders, Kenyan service provider network fails. As soon as that happens, the second SIM card which belongs to Ugandan service provider, takes over and therefore the tracking continues across the border.
Q. Do you think there are any regulatory issues which need to be looked into for the growth of vehicle tracking system in India?
OSP licenses is required for Vehicle tracking operators like us. However, more clarity is required on this issue. Further, proper regulation is required from transport authorizes in this regard so that unauthorized tracking can be stopped. Another hindrance is that import of tracking devices is not permitted, without proper import license of the same. This keeps the costs up.
About Anil Kumar: He is Managing Director, AKS Software. He holds a B.tech degree in Civil Engineering and a Masters degree in Computer Science, both from IIT Delhi.