August 1, 2019
Elton John, Telematics, and Business Fleet!
Choosing a TSP: Beware the Network Sunset
For fleet owners and managers who face the prospect of replacing obsolete telematics hardware, particularly before their service contracts are fulfilled, Elton John’s 1974 hit “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” could be their song dedication to their TSPs.
Over the last two decades, the technology of telematics has undergone three major changes, says Dev Bhatia, chief marketing officer for Momentum IoT. With telematics on the verge of a fourth major transition from third generation or Gen 3 technology to LTE Cat-M or Category M technology, Bhatia warns fleet operators to be aware of a network sunset.
“When a sunset occurs, devices that are out in the field literally turn into bricks (unless they’re replaced),” Bhatia explains. “That’s a huge cost.”
LTE Cat-M is designed specifically for the next generation of telematics devices. It utilizes LTE cellular technology to deliver more bandwidth — allowing for more robust services such as load monitoring and driver coaching — while using less power.
Some TSPs actually make fleets pay for that new hardware even as they are locked into a contract with their old hardware, he adds. Bhatia advises fleet managers and owners to ask TSPs what network technology they offer. If they haven’t deployed LTE Cat-M, they should find out if the TSPs will replace old technology with new upon deployment.
Bhatia says that telematics network technology typically lasts about five years before it’s replaced, and 3G has been around at least three years. Most TSPs are on 3G right now, with only a few TSPs having deployed LTE Cat-M network technology, Bhatia says.
For fleets choosing a telematics system, Bhatia also suggests asking TSPs if they:
- Offer managers a way to view all fleet assets on a single screen.
- Can provide hardware to install on one or two units and access to their software to monitor those units, thus allowing the fleet a real-world test before deploying fleetwide. Many demos are structured to only allow a small window of functionality, Bhatia says.
- Require fleets to sign service contracts and pay upfront costs before service can start.
- Will take a credit card as payment for services and hardware.
- Provide a fully functional mobile app, as many managers of small fleets use their mobile devices over desktop computers to access their fleet management tools, Bhatia says.
- Can monitor non-powered equipment such as trailers or other machinery.
- Employ unique digital signatures for secure data transfer from the onboard telematics devices across the TSPs network to the servers and offer encrypted end-to-end communication. This level of network security is the gold standard and should be a primary concern for all fleets regardless of size, Bhatia says.
To read the full article, click here.