Insights

Mobile Asset Management - Logistics & Transportation

February 04, 2019

Reading time 8 minutes

Logistics and transportation sector challenges

Managing a fleet of vehicles or field teams across the UK logistics sector can be a time consuming and expensive task. Without mobile tracking and management solutions, many operators are reliant on archaic processes such as phoning drivers which wastes valuable time and puts driver safety at risk. Ensuring that a company knows the whereabouts of all vehicles and the likelihood of meeting an agreed delivery time-slot is paramount to customer retention and workforce efficiency and safety.

The transport and logistics sector is facing a range of cost, legislative and operational challenges that are impacting the ability of operators to maintain their competitiveness and profitability. An effective supply chain underpins all aspects of a successful economy, so it is essential that the marketplace can take advantage of the latest technology solutions and industry best practices to operate efficiently and productively whilst meeting the precise needs of customers.

One example of this is real-time location intelligence which is critical for business operations to remain competitive. From obtaining real-time road conditions data to calculating the most efficient routes from multiple start points and waypoints this information is invaluable in reducing logistical complexity and increasing customer loyalty by delivering on time.

Here at Rokk, we understand the day-to-day and longer-term concerns affecting the transport and logistics sector and assist our clients in the development of digital logistics and other business solutions that solve challenges. This includes streamlining business processes and empowering field service teams such as driving teams to be able to complete their responsibilities using intuitive bespoke software and mobile applications whilst out of office and warehouse locations.

Tracking solutions

At Rokk, we can develop GPS tracking mobile apps specifically designed to be easy to use and functional for field workers or commercial drivers. Our team is experienced in discussing client challenges and working together to design a bespoke software or mobile app solution that delivers value to the business and its customers.

A lot of transport managers are unaware of what’s happening on every route each day and this can mean missed opportunities, poor productivity and unnecessary costs. We can help remove these unknowns and business challenges by working with you to design solutions that can include amongst other functionality and data insights the following:

  • A full 360-degree view of your fleet’s daily operations including route planning
  • Near real-time location and status update on business assets, such as who is the driver, their skill and which equipment they might hold in the vehicle, to react to a service call.
  • Tracking solutions that offer precise, end-to-end tracking and accurate, real-time, and historical locations for devices, workforce, and assets.
  • Defining geofences, get directions to devices or geofences
  • Track devices as they move through their journey, and receive an estimated time of arrival

The unique data structure of some mapping suppliers means your maps can update fast – route and traffic flow details automatically update based on what’s happening in real-time.

Our tracking solutions are hardware-agnostic, global, reliable and secure. This enables trackers and devices to report their location via IoT (Internet of Things) technology with minimal data and power consumption, increasing the reliability and practicality of mobile asset tracking.

Connectivity

A connected world comes at a cost: complexity. For businesses, the key to operating efficiently and working smarter in this connected world is having greater visibility and traceability of devices, workforce and assets. With a combination of Wi-Fi and cell signals, Tracking can also work without satellite positioning to further increase dependability. The tracking easily integrates into existing cloud services via various APIs.

Sector APIs

Below are details on some mapping and routing APIs that are being utilised more and more in the logistics and transportation sector that we can work with to build business solutions:

Routing API’s

Design your solutions to solve your logistical routing challenges by providing the ability to navigate the shortest or fastest routes available. Some routes can be complex, for example, multiple destinations at a time – or specialised routes that require information for walkers, cyclists and commercial vehicles. Utilise sophisticated capabilities such as isochrones (please review within documentation below), matrix routing and batch routing for optimal route calculations.

Truck Routing API

When routing commercial vehicles, there are special feature requirements that need to be taken into consideration, such as larger vehicles that exceed the “ standard size” that most routing and GPS software fails to deal with; speed limits, legal requirements for the transportation of certain goods (such as transporting hazardous materials), road restrictions, amongst others. Designed for professional transportation routing logistics, the Truck Routing API calculates routes that take into consideration the attributes for trucks and commercial vehicles that may not be able to leverage the same routing services as standard vehicles.

You can also set the following truck-specific route options before performing the route calculation:

  • The number of truck trailers
  • The truck height
  • The truck length
  • The truck width
  • The maximum allowed truck weight
  • Hazardous goods that are transported by the truck
  • The category of tunnels that the truck can travel through
  • The truck's weight per axle
  • Difficult turns such as 90 degrees + angles, which affects the turning space for LWB vehicles or trucks.

Distance Matrix API

The Distance Matrix API assists in calculating travel time and distances in many-to-many scenarios with an optional travel-time histogram (detailed historic travel time and data collected within a certain time period). Used to optimise routing, the Distance Matrix API service determines the best route possible, by reordering stops based on the trip’s parameters, including time or distance, mode of transportation, start and end time, predicted traffic, and more.

Isochrone API

Calculate the area that can be travelled to within a specified distance or time and render a travel time or distance polygon to visualise the shape of that area on a map. You can use the Isochrone API to plan the area that can be reached from a designated starting point within a set time period.

Results can be based on time or distance from a starting point, including predictive traffic, and the ability to set parameters for routes that you want to avoid such as motorways, B road and tolls, for example. Additionally, combine it with additional polygons to view the overlapping areas (for route/staff location & fleet efficiencies) within a specified time or travel distance, to further optimise your travel area of interest.

Snap-to-Road API

When navigating via GPS, sometimes the trace or coordinates don’t always match up to the road or path travelled. With a Snap-to-Road API, use the service to specify GPS points (latitude and longitude coordinates) collected along a route to return a corresponding set of data with the points that snap to the most likely roads and corresponding road name that the vehicle or asset has travelled along. The service supports interpolating the GPS points, resulting in a route that smoothly follows the geometry of the road for map display purposes.

Track more than just geographical coordinates

Create apps, solutions and IoT devices that gather and respond to data that’s specific to your customers’ needs. For example, fleet managers in taxi or delivery companies can bring IoT and search capabilities together to direct GPS-enabled, connected vehicles to specific POIs (points of interest) using the business search feature. Customers have a better experience, and plus reduced travelling time for people and packages to their destination.

Key Features that you may want to consider when looking at a bespoke solution for your business and needs.

Mapping:

  • Preload maps for offline usage to avoid people or deliveries being stranded/delayed due to poor network coverage
  • Map styles: a normal street map, satellite map, transit map, and more
  • auto night view based on your location and time settings
  • Textured 3D landmarks
  • Touch gestures (including rotate, tilt, pan, flick, and pinch zoom)
  • Overlay objects on the map such as polylines, polygons, icons, and routes
  • Map marker clusters for a better user experience
  • Overlay 3D map objects
  • Overlay custom images (raster tiles) on the map (for example, to display heat maps)
  • Ability to render raster tiles and map objects interleaved within different map layers
  • Show real-time traffic flow and incidents
  • 3D Extruded Buildings
  • Transit object interaction - visualization of your mobile assets in real time.

Search:

  • Search through a broad set of geographical content across the globe, (including streets, address points, and categorized places)
  • Search for a specific place or explore by categories or “near me” features (similar to Isochrone API)
  • Perform geocoding and reverse geocoding lookups
  • Offline Places search, Geocoding, Reverse Geocoding

Directions:

  • Online Car, Public Transit, Bicycle, Truck, Scooter and Pedestrian Route Directions
  • Specify preferred route type (fastest or shortest) and route options (such as avoiding toll roads, motorways, and parks)
  • Alternate routes
  • Saving a route as a file
  • Offline route calculation
  • Driving directions with traffic taken into account
  • Public Transit directions using online timetables information
  • Indoor routing

Turn-by-turn Navigation:

  • Turn-by-turn navigation for pedestrian, car, scooter and truck routes
  • Natural-sounding guidance instructions, such as "turn left at the petrol station" and "at the next traffic lights, turn right"
  • Recorded audio and speech synthesis voices in a variety of languages. especially for those with visual impairments, the most critical navigational information is your current location or utilising pedestrian mode, and public transportation mode.
  • Approximate user coordinates to the nearest road or navigation route
  • Approximate mobile asset “tunnel position”, even when there is no GPS signal
  • Dynamic information including signposts, the driver's current street lane information, and speed
  • Realistic previews of certain junctions and lanes

Positioning:

  • Wi-Fi, Cellular, and BT network-based positioning, including:
    • Online Outdoor positioning
    • Online-Offline Hybrid Outdoor positioning
    • Indoor positioning e.g. shopping malls and airports
    • Private Indoor positioning e.g. warehouses

Other potential Features:

  • Custom location and custom location geometry search
  • Support for fleet dispatching and connectivity
  • Map information for fleet vehicles and trucks
  • Congestion charge zones and the typical traffic patterns for a given time of the week

You are experts in your field. So are we

If you have a business challenge you need help in solving for your field-based workforce, then we will be glad to hear from you to discuss any of the mapping and asset management features above, and how they may provide you with a solution to your business challenge.

Please contact us via hello@rokk.co.uk or call our London team on 0207 183 4742 or Exeter office 01392 424 300.