Phillips Connect Technologies develops a comprehensive IT System to help trucks and trailers communicate

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One of the largest trends in technology today is connecting machines directly — without humans in between. This is what IoT is all about, and it’s happening widely in the heavy duty trucking industry. As integrated circuit technology continues to advance in accordance to Moore’s Law (Gordon Moore, of Intel, was famed for forecasting in 1965 that computing would dramatically increase in power, and decrease in relative cost, at an exponential and predicted pace), the sensor chips that facilitate machine connectivity have become very cheap. This is driving huge value in the rapid development of “smart” truck and trailer connected systems.

The first wave of sensor information coming from the trailer that will be available to the driver in the cab, and back to the fleet operators through telematics, will be “passive” component status information. A great example of this is real-time tire pressure data coming from the trailer. Additional passive information will be light out status and brake stroke information. ABS fault codes and status will be readily transparent also. Following these features will come “active” capabilities such as automatic tire inflation system remote controls and monitoring. All of the active and passive information is being collected with the objective of improving the operating costs of very expensive transportation assets. This will lead the industry into the “predictive maintenance phase” and is right around the corner.

Additionally, a connected CMV platform will offer an immediate positive impact on transportation and supply chain management efficiencies. Value becomes instantly created when the connected trailer is able to broadcast the status of its “mobile warehouse” in real time. Many companies like Uber Freight and similar business models are quickly capitalizing on this enabled technology. In fact, the wide adoption of Uber freight models is imminent.  The days where LTL carriers are moving trailers that are at 60% load capacity across the country are numbered. Backhaul will become a much easier challenge to manage.  In the end, the consumer is going to be the real winner as freight will be delivered faster, cheaper, and more reliably than ever before. 

A truly connected semi-trailer enables the potential for blockchain technology to blossom. Transportation software companies and commercial vehicle telematics providers are developing products that will fully integrate with, and will eventually implement, blockchain technology for the purpose of providing substantial value to fleet operators in the spot-haul market. For example, readily available ultrasonic sensor technology can be coupled with real-time GVWR status in order to transmit available cargo haul capacity to an open transportation lane exchange. In the emerging market of “on-demand” hauling, practical issues like cargo manifests, chain of custody, driver payments and dynamic pricing all come into play. Today’s logistics requirements, especially in the last mile, will require a disruptive force like blockchain technology to create a whole new world in freight efficiency.

The Future Promises Disruption

Phillips Connect Technologies (PCT) has developed a comprehensive connected trailer IT system that is open platform and open sourced. TrailerNet by PCT is an agnostic platform for consolidating all smart-trailer sensors (from any supplier) into one central hub, and uses one data plan to deliver alerts to the driver, providing customizable fleet management dashboards to the fleets’ operations or dispatch teams.

Through its extensive contacts, relationships and shared vision within the heavy duty trucking industry; PCT seeks to drive standardization required to enable a truly connected vehicle as a platform. PCT recognizes the seismic shift taking place in the supply chain that will require increased efficiency and responsiveness for trucking fleets and operators dedicated to servicing the last mile. Ultimately, PCT believes that the next 5 to 10 years will be see plenty of transformation and wishes to embed itself among industry visionaries and technology innovators who are forging the pathway to a safer and more productive transportation ecosystem.

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