Samsara releases new sensor technologies for fleets

Samsara announced it expanded its product offerings for commercial vehicle fleets, leveraging the company’s wireless technology to increase fleet productivity and lower costs.

Samsara was founded in early 2015 by Sanjit Biswas and John Bicket, who both previously founded and led wireless networking pioneer Meraki, which was formed out of their research at MIT. Meraki was acquired by Cisco Systems in 2012 for $1.2 billion, the company said.

“Samsara brings Meraki’s history of wireless innovation to transportation and industrial markets, offering wireless sensor systems for vehicles, supply chains, and industrial assets that give operators real-time visibility and analytics into their physical operations,” the company noted.

“Roughly seven in ten commercial vehicles in the United States does not have any form of telematics today,” said Biswas. “But businesses are managing more and more of their operations over the Internet and from their smartphones. As operations are becoming more data-driven, fleet managers are taking a second look at GPS and telematics, and are discovering a solution that is more modern and business-relevant than what they’d seen before.” 

At the heart of Samsara’s solution is the VG33 vehicle gateway, a cellular GPS tracker that includes Samsara’s wireless technology. According to the company, the VG33 gives operators up-to-the-second, real-time visibility into their fleet, and provides visibility over their field operations.

Wireless sensors monitor the temperature and humidity of refrigerated cargo, and can monitor specialized equipment like snow plows and lift arms. With a plug-and-play wireless design, these sensors install in seconds without running cables, recharging batteries, or complex engineering, the company added.

A wireless driver ID system detects and identifies drivers from a small wireless token in their pocket or workbag. A built-in WiFi hotspot connects drivers’ tablets, smartphones, and laptops to the Internet, enabling drivers to access productivity applications and hours of service logs. Samsara’s WiFi hotspot includes 500MB of WiFi data per month at no cost, according to the company

Samsara said its VG33 Gateway includes GPS, engine diagnostics, wireless sensors, and WiFi hotspot. Samsara added that it has introduced a suite of software features and apps that leverage the gateway’s wireless capabilities, enabling operators to identify issues, spot trends, and streamline the routing, dispatching, and maintenance of their fleet.

Included in this suite is a driver app for iOS and Android devices. The app provides ELD-ready hours of service logging, for fleets subject to the upcoming Department of Transportation ELD mandate; vehicle inspection reporting (DVIR); and a dispatch system enabling dispatchers to send new stops and routes to drivers, and for drivers to manage their routes with turn-by-turn directions.

“The Samsara solution is saving us thousands and thousands of dollars,” said Adam Bellas, co-owner of Bellas Landscaping, who is deploying Samsara across his 30-vehicle fleet. With Samsara, Bellas is improving the efficiency of his crews’ routes, increasing billable hours, and streamlining maintenance. “If we can save 5-10 minutes each day with a two man crew, you’re talking about very large saving over the course of the year.”

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