DAS (or Dependable Auto Shippers), a private car shipping company that uses car-carrier trucks to haul cars, works with a company called ThingLogix to track each individual car on the carrier truck so the car’s owner (and DAS) know exactly where a car is each day.
The tracking is done via sensors. In the case of the 2014 BMW (below), a sensor the size of an old flip phone went into the car when it left its home terminal in Livermore, Calif, and sent real-time data to DAS and ThingLogix all along the car’s its journey to Atlanta.
“The car is in Texas now, where was it before? Is that a problem or not?” Rob Rastovich is the CTO of ThingLogix and gives an example of when data can turn into “actionable intelligence”. “I see a weather system coming in so I know that car isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.”
One of the greatest things about rich, real-time data like this, says Rastovich, is that it can be integrated with other data. “From when the car is first picked up from the owner’s home, data goes into the cloud (in their case, Salesforce.com), including anything found during a “walk around” including any dents, etc. So instead of a brand new tracking system, we integrate all the data with the customer’s original account already in Salesforce.”
“Think of the cable trucks that go home to home. The data can tell you how healthy that truck is. When does it need its next oil change? It also lets you schedule services based on where the trucks are physically located. And … tells you if the truck driver is running personal errands during the day! Did they deviate from their regular route?”
And says Rastovich, think of your own practical uses, like putting a sensor in your teenagers’ car so you know the maximum number of miles they’re driving, and where they might be speeding! Tim Higgins, COO of DAS, paints a picture of where he wants to go with real-time data:
“We want to be able to plan loads and deliveries long before vehicles arrive using predictive modeling based on vehicle location, rate of transport and environmental conditions.” Higgins says the data is now all transmitted over new 4G wireless networks.