Apple recently reached another deal to extend its enterprise reach, this time with Telogis, a provider of software solutions for fleet management. This is clearly a very big step for telematics, iOS and the digital transformation of the enterprise, so I caught up with Telogis vice president of product marketing, Kelly Frey, to find out a little more.
A little background: Telogis works with big manufacturers such as Ford, General Motors, Hino, Volvo, Mack, and others to build its solutions into vehicles. It builds app such as Coach, Navigation or Compliance specifically to handle the needs of large fleets. These solutions include those to bring gamification to improve driving habits, delivery guidance systems or vehicle monitoring tools for use across large fleets (from taxi cabs to trucks).
This may not sound as interesting as the new Apple TV, but the partnership opens up a potentially a massive market for Apple -- ABI Research estimates there will be telematics inside 73 million commercial vehicles by 2020. Apple’s partnership with Telogis means fleets can effectively use an iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch for work, and Apple’s solutions are frequently cheaper than the dedicated hardware traditionally used across these industries before.
Plus when you stop to think about it someone driving one of these vehicle is the ultimate BYOD employee -- surely it's better to offer business tools on platforms the employees already want to be using?
Apple’s security is essential:“Apple has one of the best security enablement capabilities of any mobile device provider,” Frey explains. “Securing the data on the device, along with access to the device, is paramount to enterprise security.”
So how might commercial fleets benefit from using Apple products and Telogis’ software? Frey describes one scenario in which a lone oil worker may be alerted by their iOS device that there’s a problem that needs to be addressed. When they reach the location in which a problem has been identified a geofence may be triggered and the back office will be informed – which all makes sense so far, but there’s more to this potential scenario, explains Frey:
“While the lone worker sets up their vehicle to repair the equipment in question, the vehicle health is monitored and relays back a minor diagnostic fault code that will require a maintenance check within the next 14 days. The event is logged in the fleet maintenance system and alerts the service department to automatically schedule an appointment at a time convenient to the known work schedule of that vehicle.”
That’s all good and sensible, of course, but the potential of connected solutions can go further.
“The lone worker runs into some trouble and his heart rate, which is being monitored by his Apple Watch, drops below a set threshold and the back-office dispatcher and medical lead is alerted to the potential emergency, and an ambulance is sent out to save the worker's life.”
Ease of use hits the enterprise
Such connected solutions are the more positive side of the emerging Internet of Things. “The mission-critical nature of connecting everything in a business to the Internet of Things – vehicles, people and customers is a given, and we continue to innovate by delivering the same high-quality iOS user experience to enterprise customers that they expect on the consumer side,” said David Cozzens, Telogis CEO.
Gamification is another way in which these solutions may help get things done. Systems can assess driving behavior, such as harsh acceleration, hard braking, speed limits or speed thresholds. They can also monitor customer service metrics such as on-time delivery or satisfaction scores. “We have…seen insurance companies reduce rates when accident and damage claims go down as a result of fleets embracing gamification,” says Frey.
This kind of deal opens up a huge potential market for Apple in a part of the enterprise you’d never before have associated with its products. However, set beside IBM’s claim that every Mac that company deploys saves it $270, it now seems clear that Apple’s push for the enterprise is no one season wonder, but a hugely integrated play in which the company hopes to define and develop the solutions that become the Internet of things for enterprise users, an industry in which privacy and security aren’t just desirable, but mandatory given strict rules surrounding data compliance.
Apple isn’t just going to be in your den, it’s going to be inside everything else as well.
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