Newth Morris, co-founder of Telogis, taking the stage at the company's annual user forum.

From connecting to orchestration

Oct. 30, 2014
Dana Point, CA.  “We are at a point where you can have one hundred percent real-time inventory of everything on your vehicles,” Newth Morris, Telogis co-founder and president Telogis Route and Navigation told the packed meeting room this morning at Telogis Latitude 2014. “The challenge is no longer connecting things, the challenge is orchestration.”

Dana Point, CA.  “We are at a point where you can have one hundred percent real-time inventory of everything on your vehicles,” Newth Morris, Telogis co-founder and president Telogis Route and Navigation told the packed meeting room this morning at Telogis Latitude 2014. “The challenge is no longer connecting things, the challenge is orchestration.”

If the challenge is indeed orchestration, then the people at Telogis are committed to doing some serious arranging and even guest “conducting” for their customers in a variety of industries.  The company introduced three new products Wednesday, each intended to make it easier for customers to use technology to transform their businesses by bringing diverse data elements together in relevant, useful, potentially illuminating ways.

Telogis also announced the launch of a new “big data” platform, Telogis Analytics, designed to support all the company’s various business software solutions.

Morris introduced Telogis Sites first. The new offering was designed to integrate seamlessly with Telogis Navigation (140,000 commercial drivers currently use the company’s navigation system) and the broader SaaS-based Telogis platform, allowing customers to store and share detailed, rich Point of Interest (POI) data in order to improve directions both on the road and on the premises. Telogis Sites makes specific detail such as the loading dock vs. front door, the boundaries of the yard, the appropriate access point and most appropriate last-mile approaches for ingress and egress available to drivers, planners and dispatchers.

Extensible custom data fields allow companies to gather previously disparate information in one place, ease integration with third-party systems and make custom reporting more powerful and more specific to individual organizations. Telogis Sites also features a new system for tagging locations, including defining multiple addresses and points of contact, to make it easier to search and organize key locations and destinations.

“Telogis Sites will transform the way service and supply chain customers plan their routes, approaches and movements on premise, and it will be a differentiator for them to use with their own customers,” Morris said. “Telogis Sites crowd sources enterprise-specific or community-specific information about places, richer automation of workflows and decision making that will transform the way our customers do business.”

For companies working off highways at least some of the time, Telogis also unveiled a newly updated solution tailored to the unique needs of businesses working in locations such as oil fields. “What if your business is not on the road, but largely off-road?” Morris asked. We have upgraded our quick routes tool to incorporate other data sources, such as data from oil fields and private roads, he said.

This new, industry-specific offering is called Telogis for Field Service. “Telogis’ proven applications for Field Service drive effective and responsive mobile operations across a number of different industries such as utilities, construction, oil and gas, cable and telecom and more,” said Morris. “We brought these solutions together in order to help our customers more easily meet the demands of their end customers for more predictive and dynamic service response.”

Morris also previewed the next generation of Telogis Progression with the introduction of Dynamic Response Suite, developed for service and supply chain customers across multiple industries. The new suite includes four modules: Telogis Control Room, Plan vs. Actual (PvA), ETA and Dispatch.

"The first casualty of war is always the battle plan,” Morris observed as he introduced the new, comprehensive suite of tools. “The Telogis Dynamic Response Suite works in concert with other applications on the Telogis platform to deliver… 360-degree job visibility, better customer service, continuous workflow improvement and the total orchestration of work in the field,” he said.

The Control Room module is designed to provide real-time visibility into a company’s commercial vehicles, assets and mobile resources, including key information that affects how a day’s jobs are executed. It might incorporate real-time traffic, weather, and alerts such as when a technician or delivery has arrived late.

PvA (Plan vs. Actual) is intended to give back office teams visibility into how the day’s plan has unfolded-- no matter what changes have taken place. PvA reports can also be used to validate if the plan and route were followed, if unnecessary miles were driven, or if time window service-level agreements were met.

The new ETA module provides the ability to predict the estimated time of arrival while taking into consideration last-minute changes, traffic, weather, Hours of Service (HOS) compliance constraints, last-mile customizations and any other real-time events.

Telogis Dispatch is designed to provide dynamic and optimized dispatch capability for service and delivery fleets (using the same rules used to create original route plans) to augment and automate current dispatch operations.

Following the presentation by Morris, Jason Koch (at right), Telogis co-founder and president Telogis Fleet, unveiled the company’s new “big data platform,” Telogis Analytics, designed to work across all Telogis products. He also shared his perspectives on using technology to transform businesses and on how he views the role of Telogis in the process.

“It is not true that only technology companies can use technology to improve,” Koch observed, citing examples from around the globe to illustrate how even so-called non-technology companies are transforming their businesses and their industries by leveraging technological capabilities in new ways.

Cloud-based airbnb, for instance, is shaking up the hospitality industry by connecting people looking for hotel rooms with people who are letting their own properties, sometimes their own homes, Koch said. In just four years, the fledgling company has as many rooms in their rental portfolio as it took Hilton 93 years to amass, he noted, adding that one out of every five rooms rented during the World Cup in Brazil was booked through airbnb.

They also provide a great user experience, he added.  Again, thanks to technology, Koch said airbnb was able to put him directly in touch with the owner of the apartment he was renting in Brazil so that he could ask questions about amenities, area transportation, etc.

Tesco, a grocery chain in the UK, provided another example of a very traditional business using technology to reinvent itself. In Tesco’s South Korea operation, the company turned a subway station into a “virtual” grocery store with images of all the store’s products on the subway walls. Busy South Koreans scan product codes to create grocery lists that they send to Tesco for delivery later that day.

Gritit, another UK company, is also dramatically improving and enhancing their “winter risk management” business (think snowplows) with the help of Telogis technology. “We are a technology company that happens to plow snow,” the company owner says.

When I think about your business, Koch told the audience, I think about three basic elements: your vehicles and assets; the people in your organization, especially people in the field; and your systems and processes.

OEM-installed, onboard intelligence is the foundation, Koch noted. On top of that we layer various applications—fast mapping, supervision on the move, and so on. The next level is interaction with the mobile worker. That includes applications such as last-mile navigation, hours of service compliance and paperless forms.

The people in your organization, especially the people in the field, need to be aligned to your business – [your goals, priorities, culture, etc.]. One way we help companies to do that is with Telogis Coach, he noted. It provides people with actionable metrics and simple scoring plus contests, rewards and reminders to reinforce desired behaviors, such as driver safety, productivity and compliance.  “We call this ‘gamification,’” Koch added..

The final element in Koch’s three-part view of an enterprise is systems and processes, and the key question for companies concerned with these elements is ‘are you improving your business?’ he said. The new Telogis Analytics platform, is designed to help organizations do just that.  According to Koch, besides providing the ability to process huge amounts of disparate data at high speeds, Telogis Analytics also includes the biggest toolkit of pre-built metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) available.

Koch encouraged the audience to think of their businesses as technology companies that also happen to do something else, be it plow snow or sell groceries. “We are here to help you innovate,” Koch concluded. That is the call to action.

About the Author

Wendy Leavitt

Wendy Leavitt joined Fleet Owner in 1998 after serving as editor-in-chief of Trucking Technology magazine for four years.

She began her career in the trucking industry at Kenworth Truck Company in Kirkland, WA where she spent 16 years—the first five years as safety and compliance manager in the engineering department and more than a decade as the company’s manager of advertising and public relations. She has also worked as a book editor, guided authors through the self-publishing process and operated her own marketing and public relations business.

Wendy has a Masters Degree in English and Art History from Western Washington University, where, as a graduate student, she also taught writing.  

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