Time spent at the Transportation Intermediaries Associations (TIA) annual meeting means looking at computer screens. A lot of them.
There were a record 1,250 attendees, including a growing number of sophisticated software companies offering the latest in freight matching and visibility, leveraging the increased use of electric logging devices (ELDs).
For Paris Cole, CEO of Truckstop.com, the “influx on ideas” coming from so many new companies will push the industry forward, but he is concerned about technology becoming "diluted."
“I worry about ability of the industry to consume the information that is coming and to really adopt the best,” Cole said in an interview.
As a result, expect "a consolidation of technologies and a consolidation of ideas. Whether that is through integrations or partnerships or acquisitions – that’s where we are headed," he said.
The fast-paced discussions at TIA were evident during my time with Cole. To find a quiet place to talk, it required a lengthy walk away from the exhibit hall. When we returned for a brief demo, there were several dozen people at the booth.
Product demos were a frequent occurrence for DAT Solutions. The company debuted “DAT OnTime,” a load tracking application for brokers and 3PLs that it called a natural extension to its load board services. It is tailored to intermediaries, who do not have technology on board the trucks themselves.
Freight is managed through an app installed on the driver’s smartphone. It is a subscription service starting as low as $1 per load, which was one of the many questions Tom McLeod, founder of McLeod Software, asked as I watched his demo from Kevin Scullin, product manager for DAT OnTime.
“For years, when a freight broker wanted to get a delivery status, the only option was to call the driver,” said Neerav Shah, VP Products at DAT. “Our load tracking service provides real-time shipment visibility, so potential service failures can be easily identified and managed proactively.”
TIA has taken notice of the technology explosion, and has started breaking down the offerings into specific buckets, said TIA Chairman Jason Beardall, who is president of England Logistics. They are customer-facing, carrier-facing, and internal software, in addition to a special focus on Blockchain.