More than 2,300 people were on hand for a joint user conference hosted by TMW Systems and PeopleNet Sept. 25-28. Held in Nashville, the 2016 In.Sight Conference represented the first time the two companies, both of which are owned by Trimble, had joined forces on a user conference.
The event featured three days of educational sessions for users of TMW Systems’ family of transportation management software and PeopleNet’s mobile communications system, new product announcements and technology exhibits from 80 of the two companies’ technology partners.
In opening remarks Sept. 26, David Wangler, TMW president, said that by working together, “we can transform the way the transportation industry works,” and that by leveraging the two companies’ combined experience they could deliver solutions that “no one else can.”
Brian McLaughlin, president of PeopleNet, explained the critical element of the companies’ working together was the ability to deliver, view and analyze critical information from multiple platforms,” in real time.
Among the things the companies have been working on over recent years are the expansion of TMW capabilities into freight management for shippers, third-party logistics providers and non-asset based transportation companies; capturing more information from trucks while on the road; connected maintenance; route planning and trip management; driver connectivity; safety and compliance, and business and market intelligence.
Working with partner ALK, another Trimble company, the companies developed a route and trip management product expected to be brought to market next year called TripInsight, which will automate trip planning. The system will encompass ALK’s CoPilot Truck, PeopleNet’s mobile devices and TMW’s transportation management systems. The system is designed to build optimized trips plans that accounts for fuel stops, hours of service rest breaks, traffic, vehicle and load specifics. It will also feature real-time exception management for every stop, with a continuous ETA calculation that allows dispatchers or customer service reps to be more proactive in managing delays.
Building on the internet of things concept and making use of the various sensors and other information available from the truck, the two systems are working on predicting things such as vehicle breakdowns, safety or route issues.
Keeping the driver connected is another element: “Fleets are now empowering drivers,” McLaughlin said, noting that recent surveys show that 97% of drivers use a smartphone and 92% percent of those use apps. PeopleNet now has 11,000 drivers using its connected driver app, and the companies will also provide mobile apps for dispatchers.
The ConnectedDriver mobility app is a “driver-facing" application that provides bi-directional messaging, dispatch and stop data, hours of service information, driver pay, time-off and other information.
The cloud-based app has been available as a companion to PeopleNet’s system and is now integrated with the TMW Suite platform.
Also related to driver’s hours of service, the companies are offering single sign-on capabilities that allow dispatchers to view PeopleNet driver log information along with other data related to driver management.
TMW FleetConneX is a cloud-based system that allows fleets to integrate their mobile communications data into TMW Suite software without needing on-premise servers.
The connectivity will also include the vehicle, with the data collected by PeopleNet’s mobile devices used by the dispatch system to route trucks in for maintenance when needed and to conduct remote vehicle diagnostics, which can be captured by a company’s maintenance management system to help prevent breakdowns.
Making better use of big data is another area the companies are working on. “The vision we shared on big data has continued to become reality,” Wangler said. By combining the data captured by the vehicle's mobile communications system with TMW’s business applications, fleets can make better decisions.
“We see a future where the supply chain is completely connected,” McLaughlin said. And while that task won’t be easy, he said, “change is coming and it is coming fast.”
In a press briefing following the opening session, Wangler said the “focus has been to build integrated products,” but that doesn’t mean either company won’t support the technologies their customers now use.
McLaughlin added that a key for new product development for both PeopleNet and TMW is that they have to support integration for their customers that use other brands. PeopleNet will still partner with other TMS providers and TMW will continue to partner with other mobile communications companies.