Refrigeratedtransporter 4626 Smart Transportation Council Logo

New association aims to accelerate digital transition

Nov. 8, 2019
The Smart Transportation Council launched at NACV to accelerate digital transformation in commercial vehicles.

Leaders from commercial fleets, OEMs and aftermarket hardware manufacturers, and cloud technology providers recently united to launch the Smart Transportation Council (STC).

The new industry association says its mission is to orchestrate remote operations management product development activities across OEMs, advocate for open standards and help OEMs deliver streamlined and more powerful solutions to fleet owners and operators at a lower total cost of ownership.

Optio3, which specializes in workflow automation, founded STC and orchestrated its launch.

In-cab telematics is mandatory for fleet compliance. Engine OEMs have begun providing proprietary “virtual mechanic” telematics services to customers. Trailer tracking telematics has proliferated and reefer manufacturers, tire pressure monitoring OEMs, liftgate manufacturers, solar providers, cargo tracking providers, and other ecosystem players are bringing new proprietary telematics offerings to fleets.

However, fleets are united in their dislike of duplicative telematics offerings and their desire for streamlined solutions, STC said. They balk at the complexity of redundant hardware devices, data plans, and siloed data, resulting in stalled digital transformation and delayed innovation.

“C&S is an innovation leader in the wholesale grocery business,” said Chris Trajkovski, vice president of transportation, fleet maintenance, and safety and compliance at C&S Wholesale Grocers. “We are proud to be a founding member of the STC and have high hopes that by working together we can finally solve this puzzle.

“Fleets need to step up and articulate a clear set of requirements so our key vendors can make smart investments. And we need world-class technology companies to help spur innovation.”

Joe Barrett, executive director of STC and vice president of sales at Optio3, called digital transformation inevitable, and STC can help make a tangible difference now.

“It takes fleets to lead, independent technology companies to add workflow automation and hyperscale cloud expertise, open-minded OEMs willing to collaborate, a commitment to open standards, and a laser-like focus on tangible, near-term wins for fleets with compelling economics for all,” he said.

“We are hyper-focused on solving the smart trailer/smart truck problem out of the gate.”

Founding Members include C&S Wholesale, PLM, Microsoft, Optio3, Palfinger Lift Gates and Merlin Solar.

“In our past roles at Microsoft and ServiceNow, my co-founders and I built hyperscale cloud solutions for IT operations management and enterprise workflow automation,” said Sri Chandrashekar, CEO of Optio3. “We are doing the same for massive but immature IoT markets, including commercial transportation, commercial real estate and remote electrification. By launching the STC, Optio3 will help unlock the value in data for fleets and speed their journey to breakthroughs in workflow automation and asset utilization.”

Microsoft says it joined to help accelerate the commercial transportation industry’s transition toward smart mobility.

“At Microsoft, we combine advanced cloud and edge computing services with a strong partner network to empower transportation companies to build better connected driving experiences,” said Tara Prakriya, Microsoft’s general manager for Azure IoT mobility and connected vehicles. “The STC’s mission is therefore well-aligned with our desire to support customers and partners in their efforts to capture data, gain key vehicle insights and improve business outcomes.

“We look forward to the opportunity to leverage Microsoft Azure and our connected vehicle platform and Azure Maps as we work with the other STC members to develop a common smart transportation framework and simplify operations for fleets.”

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