Working together and collaboration was a major focus of the Trimble in.sight 2019 user conference, which kicked offon Sept. 16 with the slogan ‘the power of together.’ That followed on a key component of last year’s conference, when Trimble announced it was rebranding its various businesses (TMW, PeopleNet and 10-4) with the name Trimble Transportation.
Over the last year, that progress on that effort has been positive, according to Trimble CEO Steven Berglund, speaking during the conference’s opening session. Acknowledging there may be some “identify problems” about the meaning of Trimble, Berglund said he expected the next year to be an example of setting and exceeding new boundaries.
The increasing importance of data analytics
Among the announcements made at the event was that Thomas Fansler, who had headed Trimble’s transportation mobility unit (previously known as PeopleNet) had been chosen to head Trimble’s data and analytics efforts as the company’s chief technology and data officer. The move was in response to the increasing importance of data analytics in the industry, Berglund said. He also announced that James Langley, who joined the company in April, had been named senior vice president of Trimble’s transportation unit. He was most recently president of Dart Systems, and during his 25-year transportation career has held positions with UPS, J.B. Hunt, U.S. Express, as well as five years with TMW.
Following on the data theme, Langley said that for trucking companies, the more data you have about various problems, the easier it is solve those problems. “We have more access to data than anybody else,” he said.
Fansler added that three keys to handling that data were advanced analytics, data democratization, and privacy. “We are looking at how to best use data analytics and machine learning,” he said, to help planners make better decisions. Also, that data needs to be available to the people within the fleet that need it – which he says is the “heart of data democratization.” He talked about Trimble’s new platform that allows carriers to connect and manage data, which he termed “the ultimate self-service data.” At the same, he said, the company views data privacy as a very important part of the mix. While fleets want their data available, there must be controls on who has access and when they have access to that data.
The platform that ties these three keys together is a connected, collaborative transportation ecosystem, said Mark Botticelli, Trimble Transportation’s chief technology officer. This ecosystem includes new capabilities available to customers, including a Trust Center, Market Insights, and a Developer Network.
- The Trust Center is a centralized location for controlling data access fleets give to third-party visibility providers. It allows carriers to know what data is being shared with what third-party provider and to manage the access third parties have to their data. In essence, Trimble acts as a “gatekeeper” for their customer’s data, he said.
- Market Insights is an analytics tools that enables Trimble customers to view aggregated industry data on such things as pricing and transit time. “It’s our initial offering to provide our customers something of value,” in exchange for allowing Trimble to aggregate their data with other customers, Botticelli said in a follow-up interview. A basic solution will be free to customers and supplying that data will be easy as the customers will not have to deploy additional software.
- The Developer Network is a unified location that will hold documentation and code samples for customers to use standard APIs to make their apps work within Trimble’s TMS and mobility systems. Botticelli said the goal of the network was to have a single place for a customer that uses more than one of their products to integrate those products with one API. “All the data that comes in goes through that platform,” so customers don’t have to check in two or three different places to get the data.
New tools from Trimble
The opening session also included presentations from a number of Trimble’s transportation unit executives.
Keith Mader, vice president analytics, talked about Trimble’s Dispatch Advisor, a tool that helps dispatchers deal with the multiple “puzzle pieces” involved in dispatching trucks and drivers, allowing them to see the whole puzzle, rather than just a few pieces. It works with all of Trimble’s transportation management system products.
Scott Vanselous, executive vice president supply chain solutions, presented a tool, TMT Serviced Connect, developed in partnership with Decisiv, that streamlines how fleets manage third-party maintenance for their vehicles, something that can often lead to poor communication between the fleet and service providers resulting in wasted time. The tool allows fleet managers to log into TMT and order, track and trace maintenance work, without picking a phone or sending an email. The tool can help reduce downtime from a service event by two days, he said.
Chief product and marketing officer Jon Passman noted the company was bringing 20 new products to market this week – all designed to give users better efficiencies. These products include:
- A TMS subscription service which offers customers bundles of tools organized by function.
- The Trimble Duo, an all-in-one device that combines a vehicle gateway and display device.
- Trimble Instinct, a next generation mobile platform to replace the current PeopleNet platform, in beta at the end of this quarter.
- A connected fleet and enterprise data warehouse that replaces PeopleNet’s Fleet Manager with new was of providing access to particular data as need. It allows users to build their own reports from their mobility data. (To be introduced next quarter.)
- A risk and safety management tool that uses existing fleet data.
The in.sight user conference continues until Sept. 18 and offers a wide variety of educational sessions for the 2000-plus attendees.