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CONNVEX laying the foundation for the connected vehicle solution

In an ever-increasingly connected world, the ability of systems to speak to each other is critical. Fleet Complete’s CONNVEX solution is an example of an underlying system that helps that communication, including critically, between commercial vehicles and providers. (Photo: Shutterstock)

In the 1960s, J.C.R. Licklider of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology pushed the idea of an “intergalactic network” of computers. It was later in that decade when the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, created what was considered by many to be the first internet.

By no means analogous to what we use today, it did provide a vision of the future. From the late 1960s until 1995, when the internet as we know it was born, hundreds of websites were created. Yes, websites existed before the internet. Eventually, the popularity and usefulness of websites took off once the internet provided the foundational gateway to access and search these sites. And website owners have been developing ways to make money ever since.

Think AWS. Amazon Web Services is built by Amazon, it is their platform, but it is used by competitors like Nordstrom [and others]. That’s what CONNVEX is.”

Sandeep Kar, chief strategy officer, Fleet Complete

In many ways, the past 15 years in the freight ecosystem mirrors that timeframe. Hundreds of technology companies have launched, each with their own way to optimize, or monetize, freight services, from simple tracking to routing to temperature monitoring. The list is nearly endless and grows each day.

Like websites before the internet, these solutions could provide more value to stakeholders if they were connected, allowing systems to complement each other.

Fortunately, we have reached a time where that is happening. Underlying base systems like Fleet Complete’s CONNVEX connected vehicle ecosystem platform are allowing customers to tap into the Big Data capabilities of modern technology solutions for the benefit of all. This has been particularly helpful to smaller businesses that now have access to data and analysis that only large fleets with data experts had access to before. It’s leveling the playing field.

“What CONNVEX does is offer a big data analytics and cloud platform built for the commercial vehicle [industry],” Sandeep Kar, chief strategy officer for Fleet Complete, said. “How can telematics reduce your fuel cost, your maintenance cost, your

[operational cost]

? You don’t start a business to save money, you start a business to make money … so how can you generate revenue?”

The idea behind CONNVEX and similar platforms is it puts the power of tens of thousands of data points into the hands of decision makers. But the platform itself doesn’t do the work; rather, like the internet, it provides the foundation upon which solutions run.

“How can a platform be used by each and every corner of the ecosystem?” Kar asked. “CONNVEX is that platform. Think AWS. Amazon Web Services is built by Amazon, it is their platform, but it is used by competitors like Nordstrom [and others]. That’s what CONNVEX is.”

Shippers, original equipment manufacturers, insurance companies and fleets are among the businesses benefiting from the platform. Fleet Complete is a telematics company, but CONNVEX doesn’t care about that. It doesn’t care where the data is coming from, it just wants to provide a foundation for that data to be beneficial.

Connections made possible

Everything that surrounds a commercial vehicle today could potentially be included in this type of platform, from smart city infrastructure, remote diagnostics and prognostics, safety and advanced driving assistance systems, ride-sharing, electric vehicle mobility, digital freight brokerage and video telematics, and mobile resource management to name a few. In essence, if there is data available that involves or impacts the vehicle, then CONNVEX is able to handle it.

The end user may not even know its systems are running on the CONNVEX platform, Kar said, because it runs behind the scenes, just as Amazon Web Services does.

“It’s a cloud-computing platform that helps the entire automotive system build solutions, and on the customer side, it helps build solutions,” Kar said. “[Consider] when you watch Netflix, you don’t know you are watching data. When you shop at Nordstrom online, you only know it is Nordstrom. …  The end user will not buy CONNVEX. The end user will buy a solution that runs on the CONNVEX platform. The interface the end user uses from the [provider] will remain intact.”

The basis for a connected world

Toyota is using the CONNVEX platform for its Toyota Connected solution to help customers with fleets improve driver and vehicle safety, as well as reduce total cost of ownership and fleet downtime through real-time visibility of GPS, fuel level, odometer readings and tire pressure. General Motors is also using CONNVEX for its OnStar system, and Phillips Connect Technologies built its TrailerNet system, which collects and transmits data from smart components on trailers, on the CONNVEX platform.

The platform is part of the Internet of Things evolution, which only benefits the end customer if the data can be accurately conveyed in a usable manner. When disparate systems operate in proprietary ways, that can’t happen. Until the internet in 1995, websites received little traffic, were hard to find and even harder to navigate once you found one. The internet changed that.

“It is the internet,” Kar said. “Now what you do with the internet, whether it is creating Facebook pages or videos, that is up to you.”

Kar said that having a platform like CONNVEX will make future technologies, including autonomous driving, infinitely easier to accomplish.

“It’s a cloud computing platform that helps the entire automotive system build solutions,” he said.

Because multiple systems are on a single platform, it makes communication between them easier. Think of an autonomous truck that must navigate city streets. The vehicle’s computer will need traffic information, pedestrian information, route information, perhaps even weather. With all systems working off a single base platform, that communication is smoother and quicker, improving safety.

Sold primarily to original equipment manufacturers, system suppliers, aftermarket participants, governments, municipalities, financial institutions and other stakeholding groups, CONNVEX simply opens doors for these businesses and organizations to build solutions that work, in a collaborative environment that utilizes the collective resources of participants.

Fleet Complete said that CONNVEX will combine “aggregate data and AI-based analytics … [to] provide all contributing participants with in-depth learning and unparalleled insight that is critical for the design and development of unique solution offerings.”

It’s now up to the providers to take advantage.

Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected]