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When transportation meets the Internet of Things

I was in Phuket for the past few days. Being a complete stranger to the island with a language barrier, what helped me get around Phuket was this application called Grab. Grab uses an IoT revolutionised fleet to operate their on-demand services. This has made it possible for people to simply tap their smart phone and have a cab arrive at their location in the minimum possible time.

So, how does this work? Simply in 3 steps. Firstly, you choose where you want to be picked up, dropped off and the type of pick up you want. Then, Grab will source a driver for you in the vicinity and you get to see where the drivers are located in real-time. Lastly, after a driver has accepted the booking, both parties will get each other’s’ contact details: Car plate number and mobile phone number and, you also get to track the route as well as the time taken which the driver takes to reach your pick up point.

The above sums up an example of how Internet of Things (IoT) is implemented into transportation. Such connected vehicles can be tracked and monitored using integrated broadband communication like cellular networks to deliver real-time information. The location sensors associated with both the passenger’s and the driver’s mobile devices (the actual “things” being monitored) are regularly broadcasting their location to a “back end” system on the “Internet Cloud”. When it receives such a request, the cloud service then uses near-real time analytics to determine which car is the best fit to service the request.

In essence, transportation IoT is about how the data is collected from the fleet, incorporated into the cloud system and finally producing mileage reports, route profitability analysis and trigger workflows based on rules such as geofences or time spent in a specific location. Also, the purpose of such a technological implementation is to keep vehicles on the road using the best routes, track and manage maintenance in a timely and cost-effective manner, and keep drivers safe by tracking behaviour and addressing issues with increased training.

There are also many other ways which IoT can be integrated into fleet management: Smart vehicle application – deploying IoT to enhance existing vehicle onboard technology, improve collision prevention, auto-parking and enabling driverless vehicle services; Vehicle security and recovery solutions – use of RFID, sensors and transmitting technologies to prevent vehicle theft or recover stolen vehicles.

According to a Frost and Sullivan report, the spending of IoT in Indonesia will increase to USD$1350.0 M and spending in Malaysia will increase to USD$916.1 M in 2020. Both Indonesia and Malaysia will have a forecasted spending in transportation IoT of USD$38.78 M and USD$73.9 M respectively.

In the ASEAN region, governments have launched initiatives that help to raise the awareness and adoption of IoT technologies. The impact of adopting these technologies will help to improve productivity and efficiency across industries. For example, Malaysia’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Information (MOSTI) and its National R&D ICT centre have released its National IoT Strategic Roadmap (in what year) aimed at moving Malaysia into becoming a premier regional IoT hub (by what year).

Despite the large spending pooled into this, it may not necessarily translate to fruitful results. There are many factors hindering the expansion of the IoT ecosystem such as the ICT infrastructure as well as lack of expertise in that area. Therefore, all telcos, government agencies and enterprises in the region are coming together to discuss the IoT ecosystem as well as the solutions available for the execution of digital transformation projects.

Explore Thailand and Indonesia’s IoT enterprise market, connect with local IoT solution providers, and IoT buyers with Asia IoT Business Platform. Join us at the 13th edition of Asia IoT Business Platform in Bangkok, Thailand at Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong on 24-25 July, and 16th edition in Jakarta, Indonesia at JW Marriot Jakarta on 7-8 August.