Inaugural Joint PeopleNet-TMW Conference Provides Users Tools to Deal with Digital Disruption

For shippers and carriers, managing inbound and outbound freight data and data management applications can be like pivoting on a swivel chair.

First, they look at a set of data in one application to analyze a part of their operations or to complete a task. Then they pivot to look at what should be the same data set in another application to analyze some other part of the operation or to complete a different task. This integration between two applications can be commonly referred to as swivel chair integration. However, problems can arise when entries in the two databases for the same record – such as a distribution center, can have two different addresses because of entry errors or the use of different mapping programs. Now, instead of the distribution center being shown in one location, the driver may see two or more different locations for the same facility. This is just one of many threats to fleet efficiency posed by digital disruption.

Executives with PeopleNet and TMW Systems PeopleNet TMW UC 2016 - Opening Sessionat their companies’ inaugural joint in.sight user conference held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville say the key to help transportation companies deal with digital disruption is to get beyond “swivel chair integration.” Providers must make fundamental changes in how connected technologies connect, interact and relate to each other. To answer that challenge, PeopleNet and TMW have been linking up and integrating their solutions and functionalities along with those of their new parent company, Trimble.

Instead of users logging in and out of different applications, what if they could log in once and use different applications within the same management system? Now, instead of a distribution center being at two or more different addresses, the driver sees the same information as the fleet’s shipping customer. Or when the driver types in the address, the system provides a suggested address that’s accurate and fills it in for the driver. With its acquisition two year ago of 3GTMS, a provider of software for shippers and third-party logistics providers to manage inbound and outbound freight, Trimble now offers a transportation management system that can act as a single source for freight management.

Planners can click on any order in TMWSuite or TruckMate and easily find carriers who can service the order based on geography, transit time and cost.

Now imagine carriers taking swivel chair integration one step further by providing their customers options for moving freight they don’t currently handle? Or say they have a truck due for preventive maintenance at 125,000 miles? The TMW fleet maintenance system uses mileage from PeopleNet’s Connected Fleet platform and alerts the planner working in TMW to route the truck through a terminal at the right time and location to complete the service.

Those were just a few of the things PeopleNet and TMW users can expect now and in the near future as outlined by TMW and PeopleNet executives at the start of the four-day conference held Sept. 25-28. The in.sight conference, which attracted about 2,400 attendees from the trucking industry, featured dozens of educational sessions where fleet managers and executives could learn more about deploying the latest in connected technologies as well as what’s coming in the next year or two. Attendees also had opportunities to establish contacts, exchange ideas and build relationships with other system users during peer-to-peer roundtables.

A contingency of 8 people from Drivewyze, who attended the conference, coordinated one such round table on deploying the Drivewyze Heads-Up Notifications and weigh station bypass service.

The user conference provided attendees ideas for making greater use of the technologies and to demonstrate how these PeopleNet and TMW Services tools can and will make it eaPeopleNet TMW UC 2016sier for fleets to gather business intelligence and make the best use of it. Just on the horizon are apps to provide carriers and shippers continuously updated estimated times of arrival or ETAs and projected times of availability or PTAs.

With an estimated 87 percent of all truck drivers using smart phones, and of those, 92 percent using applications, according to the American Transportation Research Institute, PeopleNet executives say drivers no longer feel victimized by mobile technology. If anything, drivers will be looking for more mobility apps providing scanning capabilities, instructional videos, image capture and video news feeds.

Data, data and more data is coming from everywhere and every Internet of Things (IoT) connected device, company executives told attendees. Going forward, IoT systems will connect trucks to other trucks, transportation or even smart cities. While this could pave the way for increasingly autonomous trucks, the challenge will be cyber security and data storage capacity. Since autonomous vehicles consume about 1 gigabyte of data storage per second – in less than an hour a pair of trucks would create enough data to fill four of your desktop computers each equipped with a 1 terabyte hard drive.

The good news, PeopleNet and TMW executives say, is their company’s infrastructure is up for the task.

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