Jade Brasher | FleetOwner
Samsara cofounder and CEO Sanjit Biswas addresses a group of more than 2,000 Samsara Beyond user conference attendees

Samsara introduces new innovations in the most Oprah-like style the industry has seen

June 28, 2024
In an Oprah-like fashion, the transportation technology company introduced its new Connected Workflows, Connected Training, and Asset Tag at its Beyond User Conference.

CHICAGO—It’s fitting that the Samsara Beyond user conference is taking place this week in Chicago—the home of the Oprah Winfrey Show—considering the company had its own Oprah-style giveaway during the keynote event. 

“You get an Asset Tag! You get an Asset Tag! Everyone gets an Asset Tag!” David Gal, Samsara VP of product and engineering, exclaimed to a group of about 2,000 attendees from the main stage of the Sheraton Grand Hotel by the Chicago riverwalk.  

The Oprah moment wasn’t the company’s only interesting announcement to come from the transportation technology conference. Along with the giveaway of Samsara’s new Asset Tag (which we’ll get into), Samsara shared footage of the earth from one of its dashcams in outer space and the image of a Samsara device after being “slammed with 6,000-lb. of force” by a golf club at the driving range.

But it wasn’t all fun and games at the keynote speech of the conference. Sanjit Biswas, the transportation software company’s cofounder and CEO, shared impressive statistics with the audience. Within just the last year, Samsara:

  • Recorded roughly 60 billion miles traveled by its customers’ vehicles and assets;
  • Collected more than 9 trillion data points;
  • Helped prevent 200,000 potential crashes;
  • Digitized more than 230 million workflows on the platform; and
  • Helped save roughly 3 billion pounds of CO2 emissions.

With the help of new technology announced at this year’s conference, perhaps next year’s numbers will be significantly higher. Included among those new innovations and new products announced during the keynote speech are the Asset Tag, Connected Training, and Connected Workflows.

The Samsara Asset Tag

Designed to help Samsara customers manage and track smaller, high-valued equipment or items, Gal described the new Samsara Asset Tag as an immensely more powerful version of a traditional Bluetooth tag.

Customers can place this tag on their assets—from pallets in warehouses to toolboxes—and track them using the Samsara Network. If they need to locate an item, they can simply track it on the Samsara app right down to an arm’s length, as Gal proved in a live demo.

The Samsara Asset Tag works through Samsara’s Network, communicating with devices with an IoT Samsara Gateway installed. Samsara-connected devices and vehicles travel hundreds of thousands of miles each day.

“These are the gateways that are in your vehicles, your trailers, your power equipment,” Gal explained. “Collectively, they're recording GPS locations millions of times every single minute. And these are everywhere that you operate.”

The use of the Samsara Gateway helped Samsara deliver such an innovative device in a small package. The Asset Tag can "talk” to any nearby device in the Samsara network, similar to the way a Bluetooth device “talks” to a smartphone. This communication allowed Samsara to build an asset tracker without GPS software. As a result, the Asset Tag is about the size of a fun-size candy bar.

See also: How asset tracking can rightsize fleets

The Asset Tag was designed to be rugged enough for harsh environments. “There are no moving parts, there's no battery door, there's no button, there is nothing to see, and that is very intentional,” Gal said. “This thing's a tank.”

It was an Asset Tag that underwent the “Fairway” test—Samsara's durability test using a golf club at the driving range. According to Samsara, the test was a success. The Asset Tag was located dented and scratched but fully functional.

Samsara believes the Asset Tag will help customers prevent loss and recover stolen items, better manage their inventory, and reduce downtime by sharing locations with technicians in the field.

With each audience member receiving an Asset Tag in full Oprah fashion, fleet owners will soon discover for themselves how durable and helpful this tiny device really is.

Connected Training

Another innovation announced at Samsara’s Beyond conference was Connected Training. If a driver-facing dash camera detects drowsiness or distracted driving, such as looking at a phone more than once within a month, it can automatically trigger a training session within the Samsara Driver App. Fleet leaders can then go in and see if the driver viewed the video, enable a comprehension test, and approve training.

“Our beta customers have reported that they see a 35% reduction in safety events,” Samsara VP of Product Max Rencoret said during the keynote. “That is huge. That is thousands of accidents that can be avoided. And our platform comes with many out-of-the-box professional safety training videos that all of you can use for your drivers.”

Samsara also enables fleet leaders to create custom courses for niche operations. They can add descriptions, choose from multiple training videos to drag and drop into the course or create their own videos for use however they see fit. They can even add their own quiz questions.

Through Connected Training, fleet managers can be sure the proper training is sent to the right driver at the right time.

Connected Training could even increase driver retention, Mike Innocenzi, Samsara senior product manager, told FleetOwner.

“You might have drivers who go weeks without getting training when they actually need it, and so this allows us to plug that gap and do that really catered behavior-based training,” Innocenzi said. “The drivers are actually responding really well. They actually appreciate that the employer is trying to invest in their growth and make them better employees.”

See also: How dash cams, driver coaching tools could help fleets reduce costs

Connected Workflows

Last year, Samsara introduced Connected Forms to help digitize work paper processes, but Rencoret told FleetOwner digitizing paper processes was only Phase 1. This year, Samsara developed Connected Workflows that automates workflow processes step by step.

Additionally, because of Samsara’s extensive data capture, the platform can detect “triggers,” such as geofenced areas or, if a crash is detected, that can send workflows to a driver or other employee.

“You start seeing that power of the Connected Operations platform where all the systems are talking to each other,” Rencoret said. “So, you can use all this data to trigger these multi-step workflows.”

This is another area where Samsara allowed complete customization. Managers can create their own workflows based on their application, federal requirements and regulations, or simply to optimize the way they operate their fleet. What’s more, this advanced workflow process uses data that’s already in the fleet’s Samsara platform. For instance, if a driver would like to submit a maintenance ticket for their vehicle, they can skip the time-consuming process of entering the odometer reading or engine hours because that information is already available on the Samsara platform.

Once the workflows are completed, managers can approve them, assign tickets, and review analytics.

The future of transportation is connected

As the transportation sector embraces technology, changes are taking place daily to improve and optimize operations and safety. Connectivity and the collection of data have allowed companies like Samsara to enable fleets to more easily detect patterns in their operations, such as which vehicles are performing well or which vehicles are performing poorly.

Once fleets can see these patterns, they can take steps to improve operations or replicate positive behaviors and performances across their fleet. And, like every tech company says these days, Biswas said for Samsara: this is just the beginning.

“We’re just getting started,” Biswas said in the keynote speech. “We're talking to all of you and getting ideas about where we should go next together.”

About the Author

Jade Brasher

Senior Editor Jade Brasher has covered vocational trucking and fleets since 2018. A graduate of The University of Alabama with a degree in journalism, Jade enjoys telling stories about the people behind the wheel and the intricate processes of the ever-evolving trucking industry.    

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