The Australian utility sector is large, complex, and heavily regulated. In addition, fleet managers in this space have substantial responsibilities because their fleets operate at the sharp end of service delivery on an almost daily basis, in a market with a very demanding customer base. Ensuring reliable supply as well as fixing issues quickly requires an efficient fleet that is able to deliver the right people and equipment at the right time.
But, what’s next for utility fleet telematics? This article explores three key technology trends that fleet managers should keep an eye on to increase safety in a market which is at higher risk for serious injuries and fatalities than any other industry.
The insight that telematics data provides is becoming more powerful and crucial in making important fleet-related decisions than ever. Today, it’s possible to monitor driver idling time, engine hours, driver behaviour and much more to get a bird’s-eye view what each vehicle in your fleet is doing.
Telematics is quickly evolving towards predictive analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) where data is used to predict what will happen next. In-cab video technology is also moving in this direction and when coupled with telematics, it is having a significant effect on fleet safety by identifying risks sooner than is currently possible and preventing accidents.
The case for mobility grows stronger
Heightened scrutiny around regulatory compliance and increased competition places even more pressure on utility companies to embrace mobile solutions to enhance operational efficiency and improve service delivery. Increased adoption of cloud-based field service solutions will allow field technicians and back-office employees to work more productively than ever before. When you consider that total spend on mobile workforce management technology has surpassed $420 million2, it’s easy to see why apps are being deployed more and more to improve field work effectiveness.
Apps can be used for, among other things, task management, to monitor and measure driver behaviour as well as provide GPS tracking information to address requirements across the entire utility value chain. Ongoing and future developments in mobile technology, coupled with advances in cloud services and analytics will help to extend its value to more applications and users in the utility sector and beyond.
Internet of energy
The Internet of things is by no means a new trend. It’s happening now and digital transformation promises tremendous opportunities specifically for the utilities industry. Top performers in this sector will not only need to optimise and transform their current processes and business models but also find new ways to conduct business. Opportunities that this will create include more precise asset management, predictive maintenance, fuel efficiency improvements and task automation.
Looking ahead, utility operators will also need to consider how their vehicles, mobile workers, customers, mobile phones, telematics devices and software platforms can all integrate to deliver better safety, efficiency, asset utilisation and customer service outcomes.
Today’s energy and utility companies are facing unprecedented levels of disruption as a result of the digital era. However, those companies that are embracing new technologies and keeping an eye on trends will become the highest performers in the sector.
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