More fleets are demanding technology providers move to an open architecture world, and the same is true of truck manufacturers. The days of installing hardware to make telematics and other advanced technology systems operate are quickly becoming a thing of the past. The world of open architecture has arrived in trucking.
“The open platform concept seems to be getting quite a bit of traction,” Clem Driscoll, founder and principal of C.J. Driscoll & Associates, a technology consulting firm, told FreightWaves this summer. “[Providers] talk about making integration easier than before.”
The latest is Navistar International (NYSE: NAV), which is building its own open architecture approach through its OnCommand Connection platform. The Lisle, Illinois-based truck maker first announced partnerships with Samsara and Geotab through its Gateway Integrations program and has now expanded that program with five additional partners, providing truck fleets plenty of options when purchasing certain International truck models.
“At the core of good, connected vehicle systems is a single factory-installed device driving actionable data to multiple fleet management systems,” said Chintan Sopariwala, vice president of after-sales operations and connected vehicles for Navistar. “Our Gateway Integrations allow customers to consolidate their vehicle hardware and use a singular database to feed all their fleet management and compliance solution portals, thus saving operational costs and improving data accuracy.”
The integrations utilize Navistar’s factory-installed telematics device as a “gateway” to quickly install software solutions without the need to add additional hardware to the vehicle. This reduces switching costs and associated vehicle downtime to install the additional hardware. Both vehicle data and telematics data flow into a single system for ease of use.
The new integrations will be available beginning in 2021 for International LT Series, RH Series and LoneStar models as well as for Navistar IC Bus vehicles.
“We’ve identified these telematics and fleet management providers as strategic partners,” said Friedrich Baumann, president of sales, marketing and after-sales for Navistar. “With their software expertise, we look forward to working together to introduce added feature functionality in the coming years to further enhance the overall customer experience through vehicle connectivity.”
MiX Telematics, in a press release, explained what the integration means for its customers. The company said MiX will be able to harness vehicle data streams that will be ingested into MiX’s extensive platform and application services.
“Our partnership with Navistar entrenches our vision to provide our customers with the best telematics information and service in the industry. We are excited to be working with Navistar to provide our mutual customers with access to a richer information set that in turn will help them to improve the management of their fleet operations at any given time,” said Charles Tasker, MiX Telematics COO.
Truck makers are quickly embracing the concept of open platforms to make it easier for their customers to install the technologies of their choice. Earlier this year, Daimler Trucks North America announced it would install Platform Science’s platform on its vehicles at the factory level.
Much of this change is rooted in the democratization of technology. Years ago, a truck buyer had the choice of accepting the hardware preinstalled on the truck to run telematics and other technologies or, if the buyer required more functionality, acquiring the necessary hardware in the aftermarket.
“Whether it’s for trucking or other types of service fleets, the idea of an open platform and easy integration of multiple apps is gaining steam,” said Driscoll.
When Navistar announced the integration with Samsara, it took data collection to a new level for customers of both companies. Key vehicle data such as GPS location, odometer, speed, engine hours and fuel level flows directly from the vehicle into the Samsara platform, allowing users to get all the information they need in a single platform. Previously, this was not possible as vehicle data would flow through Navistar’s proprietary system. The same would occur for the Samsara data running through its proprietary gateway device.
“We built Samsara so our customers can have the most efficient fleet management experience out there,” Rushil Goel, vice president and general manager of fleet management for Samsara, said at the time of the announcement. “Our partnership with Navistar takes the friction out of data analysis. Now fleets can seamlessly collect insights in one integrated solution, ultimately saving time and money.”
Fleets that subscribe to Gateway Integrations will continue to benefit from their telematics system of choice and continue to receive OnCommand Connection’s advanced remote diagnostics solutions and over-the-air programming capabilities beyond the two-year standard service as long as the third-party subscription is active, a Navistar spokesperson said.