January 21, 2016

Fleet Manager Leverages Video Analytics

George Leopold

The management of transportation fleets is increasingly viewed as an ideal fit for big data tools like predictive analytics that can be used to cut costs and increase safety. A key hurdle to wider implementation is that a growing array of vehicle sensors generates mountains of behavioral and other data that soon becomes too large to manage.

Leveraging all that data has become a market niche for vendors promoting data analytics tools designed to provide insights for more efficient fleet management and resulting cost savings. The latest is San Diego-based SmartDrive Systems, which this week launched a “SmartIQ” transportation intelligence suite designed to make sense of transportation fleet data.

SmartDrive’s twist on transportation intelligence is the addition of a video analytics platform designed to meld high-volume, high-velocity fleet data to provide a clearer picture of driver performance and vehicles systems data.

The company claims its approach moves beyond simple reporting to promote “information sharing and real-time insights fueled by new algorithms, predictive analytics and prescriptive action.”

The company’s timing appears to be propitious. Market analysts noted that fleet owners are beginning to embrace big data to improve operating efficiencies and schedule maintenance. At the same time, they note potential customers and a growing number of vendors like SmartDrive must develop mobile platforms that can be linked to widely dispersed truck fleets.

Among the differentiating factors are “a clear connectivity strategy with the ability to handle large volumes of data and, most importantly, partners to help harness the true power of this data,” Sundar Shankarnarayanan, a Frost & Sullivan automotive and transportation analyst, noted in a report released in July 2015.

Indeed, SmartDrive cited Frost & Sullivan’s estimates in rolling out its transportation intelligence suite, noting that the market researcher estimates that for every dollar spent on advanced analytics, fleets can expect an eight to 11 times return on the investment.

Measuring driver performance has generally relied on operator and vehicle data. SmartDrive claims its analytics suite overcomes the subjective nature of interpreting those datasets. The SmartIO Suite’s analytics engine includes new algorithms, predictive models and advanced analytics developed using its proprietary database of more than 140 million analyzed and scored driving events.

The fleet analytics platform also includes a report and data visualization package, feeds of driver, vehicle and driving performance data collected by the video analytics tool, and a services package that included custom analytics and visualization capabilities.

“By applying video analytics to driver behavior and combining that with an approach to data science that is tuned to transportation, SmartDrive is generating a step-function change that will materially impact fleets across their operations,” Don Osterberg, a company advisor and former safety executive for trucking and logistics giant Schneider, asserted in a testimonial.

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