Trailers are the Next Battleground for Telematics and Connected Solutions

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3Q 2021 | IN-6276

Trailer telematics are in prime position to offer better delivery with increased security, condition, and reduced maintenance.

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The Next Growth Opportunity


Telematics solutions have been deployed in fleets for years, long before there were mandates in the US, Canada, and Europe for long-haul trucks to be fitted with Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). These telematics solutions have primarily been in-cab solutions, but over the last two years, it is shifting towards greater adoption of trailer telematics. The functionality for trailers has progressed from merely location tracking or tampering to enabling health status tracking, including tire pressure and lights, cargo monitoring, interior temperature/vibration monitoring, and identification of packages to pick and deliver. ABI Research projects that global trailer telematics subscriptions to nearly double from 4.3 million in 2020 to 8.5 million in 2026.

Industry Competition Heats Up for Share of Wallet, New Solutions


Advancements in telematics technology is now giving fleets vital insights into their trailers, improving uptime, reducing maintenance costs, and maximizing efficiency. Tracking trailer mileage can help assist fleet managers with preventative maintenance scheduling. Growth in trailer telematics has increased average trailer lifespan from six years to 8-12 years. Trailer sensor technology has evolved to enable monitoring of key systems such as lights, brakes, and tires. This technology can also help avoid dispatching drivers to trailers with faulty systems. Great Dane’s FleetPulse platform is the first OEM developed smart trailer telematics system, offering GPS tracking, geofencing, mileage data, trailer health status, speed, and more, to create greater productivity and return on investment (ROI). Spireon reports that customers using their new ‘Managed Services’ solution for trailer management saw a 200% increase in ROI.

Trailer telematics can also monitor cargo hold status and condition, including temperature which is critical for trailers hauling produce or other temperature-sensitive products. Thermo King’s ConnectedSuite solution enables fleets to track the real-time temperature of individual loads in transit and ensure FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) temperature compliance at every point in the journey. Solutions like Thermo King’s TracKing platform also utilize door sensors and electronic lock systems to record all door openings and improve load security. Improved computer vision and machine learning enables intelligent cargo space monitoring and tracking. COROS’s video platform uses these technologies to scan and record packages entering the vehicle and offer suggestions for package placement for efficient use of trailer space. Cameras can provide a livestream of the cargo area during transit to offer another dimension to cargo monitoring and security.

While demand for trailer telematics technology is high, there remains a limited supply due to the ongoing semiconductor shortage which has had a damaging impact on telematics industries. The limited supply has forced OEMs to stop taking new orders from September as they wait for supply to recover. There is a growing battle for ongoing subscription revenues between trailer OEM’s, equipment makes from cold chain to standard telematics to other software and hardware niche solutions.

No Singular Model


Fleets can now monitor and address a broad range of trailer and cargo data. Once they identify key data points to monitor, fleets can easily implement trailer solutions to reach specific KPI targets. Connectivity is vital for smart trailer solutions to be effective, and they must have the capability to relay diagnostics to the driver in the cab and back-office operations.

Business models vary including the Marketplace model from Geotab and co-opetition models such as Omnitracs with Skybitz. Companies like Verizon Connect and MiX Telematics offer tracking solutions. The challenge coming is a fleet’s subscription fatigue with multiple vendors/solutions, billings, and dashboards. Data generated and evaluated is also valuable across the industry. A customer-centric approach with integrated software and valuable insights will be needed to win, along with security and privacy considerations.



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