Content Sponsored by Comcast Business

The Internet of Things (IoT) makes possible a number of solutions to track and manage business vehicles. The IoT has introduced a new level of fleet management with granular data about each driver, vehicle, and cargo across a range of metrics.

The integrated solutions the IoT provides across all industries is slated to have a global economic impact of $4 to $11 trillion a year in 2025, says global business consulting firm McKinsey & Company. The vehicle segment is estimated at $200 to $700 billion. So how can you optimize your fleet with IoT?

1. Real-time visibility.

With real-time visibility you can see where the driver, vehicle, and cargo are at all times. This type of visibility ensures you know where your valuable fleet assets are, and that your cargo delivery is on time. It means more insights and more control than ever.

2. Better driver behavior.

Bad driving habits could be costing you more than you know. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), aggressive driving (e.g., speeding, rapid acceleration, and braking) wastes gas. This type of driving can lower your gas mileage by up to 30 percent at highway speeds and up to 40 percent in stop-and- go traffic.

The right IoT solution has analytics to monitor log time, driving patterns, weather and road conditions, cornering, speeding, braking, consecutive hours driven, and adherence to approved routes. Identifying bad driving habits lets you take proactive steps to improve performance before it costs you money with higher insurance, property damage, and lawsuits due to accidents.

It also helps ensure compliance with legal requirements such as limitations on number of consecutive driving hours that drivers can take.

3. Predictive maintenance.

Knowing when your vehicles need maintenance before they break on the road will save more than money. Late deliveries because of unforeseen breakdowns could damage the reputation of your company.

With predictive maintenance you can see tremendous detail about your vehicles. You can view the maintenance record and make arrangements for repair even when they are on the road, with support solutions to help identify the nearest service center. This translates to fewer unexpected breakdowns and more vehicles on the road.

4. Prevention of unauthorized use and theft.

The monitoring provided by IoT solutions also extends to security. You will be better positioned to stop unauthorized use of your vehicles for unauthorized activities. For instance, fleet security and control features offer options such as remote vehicle disabling and panic and emergency notification.

Knowing where your vehicle is located at all times lets you notify authorities quickly to protect your drivers, vehicle, and cargo. In turn, this can translate into driver safety and the safety of your investment.

5. Improved customer service.

You will be able to improve customer service by integrating real-time tracking. With IoT, cloud computing, and mobile apps that track information, you will know what is going on and pass along more precise information to your customers. When they have more information and more predictably, customers will be more satisfied.

They can get on their smartphones, and check where the truck and delivery is and when it will get to its destination. This gives your customers quick answers, and your office workers can focus on tasks with more value.

These are just some of the benefits the IoT brings when it comes to managing your fleet. Although various types of fleet monitoring have been available on the market for years, the IoT is making solutions more granular with much more detail, predictive capability, and control than ever before. And the cost and complexity of solutions is coming down, making more options available to those with smaller budgets.

Some of the additional applications allow you to customize maps and create boundaries for your drivers; plug into your supply chain management for better control of your inventory; improve dispatching; and automate delivery, scheduling, and placement.

A study commissioned by Zebra Technologies and undertaken by Forrester Consulting, found that 96 percent of surveyed transportation and logistics companies agree the IoT is the most strategic technological initiative their organizations will undertake this decade. As companies embrace the technology and unlock the possibilities it offers, IoT can both solve myriad issues fleet owners face while opening the door to new opportunities.