WayKonect Uses InfluxDB to Improve Fleet Management

8 minutes

The fleet management industry has been quick to embrace technology. They want to understand the current state of vehicles and drivers to improve operations and safety. Data privacy laws are especially important as fleet managers expand their reach into new territories. WayKonnect is using InfluxDB Enterprise to improve the fleet management industry.

Defining fleet management

Organizations who operate commercial vehicles use fleet management tools to better understand the current state and location of their vehicles and drivers. The primary goal of fleet management is to oversee performance and maintenance, to ideally improve productivity and maximize the life of the vehicle. They are also concerned about the safety and wellbeing of their fleet’s drivers. Fleet management includes commercial vehicles, aircrafts, railway and watercrafts. As more companies use drones for deliveries, like Amazon, companies’ fleets will soon include drones.

Telematics is a combination of telecommunications (i.e. phone lines and cables) and informatics (i.e. computer systems). The term is often used when discussing commercial vehicle fleets. According to Gartner, telematics uses wireless devices and other technologies to push data directly back to an organization, and it’s usually from vehicles.

Fleet managers are tasked with reviewing: vehicle maintenance, fuel usage and costs, driver management and utilization of all resources. They hope to lower their carbon footprint and their insurance premiums. According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), the US will be short 175,000 truck drivers by 2026. The shortage has increased the need for ensuring drivers’ safety and experience which will in turn improve driver retention. All of this can be tricky for fleet managers as they can be hundreds of miles away from their drivers on the move.

Technology in fleet management

The fleet management industry has embraced technology to improve their bottom line. Beyond swapping maps for GPS devices, software and other technologies have led to smart fleet management. Fleet management systems (FMS) improve fleet productivity by 20% per vehicle. FMS also enhances the tracking, monitoring and routing of vehicles. These systems improve efficiencies that help counter-balance increasing fuel and vehicle prices. The global fleet management industry was worth $7.76 billion in 2015 and is expected to rise to $34.63 billion by 2022.

Electronic logging devices (ELD) are hardware components added to commercial vehicles to track driving hours and are also called e-logs. There are regulations which manage driving hours allowances — hours of services (HOS). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces HOS as it directly impacts the safety of the fleet and drivers. Particularly in the US, increased adoption of ELD’s has correlated to increased adoption of FMS.

Fleet management software accounted for $15.81 billion USD in 2018. It is expected to grow to $54.05 billion USD by 2027. To improve efficiencies, fleet operators are looking for better tools including: data storage, data exchange and information tracking. They hope to use technology to reduce manual processes, free up resources and improve ROI. Fleet managers are considering big data analytics, predictive maintenance and cloud computing tools.

Partially due in part to the popularity of IoT devices, there’s an increase in technology available for fleet drivers. IoT devices like smart glasses and smartwatches are used to track drivers’ health. For example, if a company sees a driver’s heart rate increase due to heavy traffic, adaptive cruise control can kick in and increase the stopping distances between vehicles. Other wearable technology can alert drivers of construction or accidents ahead. Add-on displays can provide drivers with wider views of the road and help with parking. There are other sensors and technologies embedded into vehicles. To track drivers’ safety and to record in the event of an accident, video recording devices are used.

WayKonect’s mission

WayKonect provides their B2B customers with innovative tools to help manage their fleet of vehicles. They were acquired by Total, the leader in the fuel car market in France who desired to enhance the current fleet management offering. Total’s products and services are marketed in 150 countries. They are one of the world’s top oil and gas companies and they are making concerted efforts to contribute to low carbon energies. Total is committed to providing the world with safer, cleaner, more efficient, more innovative and accessible energy for as many as possible. Together with WayKonect, Total hopes to have a positive impact on society, the environment and the economy.

WayKonect’s platform provides fleet operators with data that can help improve their fleet’s efficiencies. WayKonect is unique as their platform is driver-centric. By adding WayKonnect, Total has been able to improve connectivity with the vehicles, and they’ve been able to provide an application that enables dialogue with the drivers.

By using an ethical approach, they provide customers with a 360 ̊ view of their cars, factoring in the environment, costs and the fleet. WayKonect enables fleet drivers and managers to access data specific to their needs. Some of the data includes: maintenance logs, technical inspection reminders, fuel consumption and mileage and tracking the location of any vehicle.

WayKonect’s usage of InfluxDB

WayKonect knew they needed a time series database to address their high ingestion and variable retention requirements. They chose InfluxDB Enterprise as it would fulfill their needs which also included being able to automate raw telemetry storage in a highly scalable way. InfluxDB Enterprise met all of WayKonnect’s requirements.

A lot of fleet operators rely on data manually entered by drivers — including mileage, odometer and trip information. As it’s manual data entry, it can be filled with errors and it is time-consuming. Fleet data is often hard to trust and this makes fleet managers’ job even more difficult. WayKonect hopes to streamline drivers’ log processes by using a time series database which will meet their technical and business requirements.

They needed high availability as their SaaS platform monitors vehicles which are running anytime and anywhere. WayKonnect started stress testing InfluxDB by pushing data from 200,00 vehicles to the time series database. They are hardware agnostic, so they needed a tool that could handle a myriad of data types; they valued InfluxDB’s schemaless design.

A selling feature of InfluxDB is that WayKonect knew they wouldn’t lose data (by rewriting data) due to configurable retention policies. With industrial data, data can often go missing or can be duplicated. Data collected by telematic systems can range from being quite stable to very unstable. InfluxDB is used for infrastructure monitoring and alerting. They are collecting metrics about trackers and their infrastructure. All of these metrics and events are pushed to InfluxDB, and then they use Grafana for visualization for their internal teams. They also query InfluxDB to populate the time series data collected in their SaaS UI which has both a web front end and a smartphone app.

fleet management dashboard WayKonect

WayKonect dashboard

WayKonect’s impact on fleet management

Drivers’ behavior accounts for half of a vehicle’s costs. WayKonect’s solution enables managers to connect with their drivers. Drivers enjoy safer and more relaxed driving. This all results in reducing company costs, and the drivers are rewarded personally.

Some of WayKonect’s business requirements are directly related to GDPR and other data privacy laws. Their solution is GDPR compliant and also adheres to the French National Commission on Informatics and Library (CNIL). France’s Loi Informatique et Libertés are data privacy law recommendations that WayKonect pays attention to. Due to CNIL’s rules, WayKonect is easily able to only keeps personal identifiable dataGPS data for two months before it’s anonymized by easily setting specific retention policies in InfluxDB. WayKonect also has a privacy mode for their drivers to disable geolocation from their smartphones for when they’re outside of working hours. With InfluxDB, WayKonect is easily able to marry time series data with geo location data.

WayKonect’s platform provides their customers with a unit which is connected to every vehicle. It provides data to help improve efficiency across the fleet. It only takes 15 minutes for fleet operators to attach the WayKonect’s tool to a vehicle’s diagnostic plug – the ODB socket. This comes in handy when the plugs need to be replaced. Their solution allows fleet managers and fleet drivers to access specific information about the vehicles (including maintenance logs, technical inspection reminders, fuel consumption, mileage) and to find a vehicle in a parking lot at any time.

To learn more about how WayKonect is utilizing InfluxData, check out the full story.

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