A value-added service to all road users has been devised by Tracker which has given us an early heads-up on its Tracker Road Quality Service designed to give accurate road quality information – in real time – to truckers, consumers, businesses and the public sector.
The company has a global patent application pending on this product and has engaged with the relevant partners on the commercialisation of the Tracker Road Condition Service. The first version of the new service is planned for release in the first quarter of 2017.
This follows three years of collaboration with specialists from the Civil Engineering Department in the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology at the University of Pretoria. The key focus of this project was to examine the quality of roads with the aim of understanding if the rich feed of sensor data from the installed Tracker telematics devices could be effectively used to determine the quality of roads across South Africa – and even abroad.
It was all about identifying new ways to deliver added value to its customers – and the country at large – by using the vast data collected by the company on a daily basis. And vast it certainly is. Check this out….
Having recently reached the impressive milestone of one million active subscriptions, Tracker now has over 2.9 billion trips recorded in its database. In addition to this, it has tracked vehicles for over 42 billion kilometres and currently processes around 37 million messages into its database via sensor transactions on a daily basis. That’s a rich data base and it’s easy to see why numbers play a critical role in the business. By the way, you did read that right. It is 37 million messages processed per day.
Most people regard Tracker as a Stolen Vehicle Recovery (SVR) company and while that remains the core of the business, the company has evolved significantly since it started back in 1996. Today, Tracker is data which gives it a huge advantage in today’s connected world. The data is there but how it is collected, processed and turned into knowledge is what allows the company to provide proactive value to its partners and customers. And that’s what started the project which has led to this latest offering.
“The findings from the research programme have been positive and Tracker is currently in the process of creating a unique offering for customers via the Tracker Road Quality Service,” says Carel Wessels, Chief Technology Officer at Tracker, who has been intimately involved with the project since inception.
Professor Wynand Steyn, Head of the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Pretoria, describes the research as ground-breaking and believes it has the potential to disrupt traditional approaches in the industry.
“This research definitely has the potential to make a huge contribution to industries that offer certain services in the road transport arena.”
Michael du Preez, executive for Product Innovation and Marketing at Tracker, says they are confident that the Tracker Road Condition Service will improve road safety and comfort for all road users.
“This service will not only inform customers about the condition of a specific road but also warn customers timeously about potential road hazards like potholes and other road anomalies. Tracker plans to use this information to enhance its route planning feature to recommend alternative routes for customers that intend travelling unfamiliar or potentially hazardous routes.”
Du Preez is confident that the Tracker Road Condition Service will offer significant benefits to transport companies, specifically those that focus on transporting sensitive goods and products, where Tracker can again recommend alternative routes to prevent damage to fragile cargo while at the same time making a positive impact on the cost of maintaining the vehicles.
Du Preez also believes that the Tracker Road Condition Service will also benefit road agencies and other road authorities responsible for maintaining our road infrastructure
“They will now have access to more frequent updates on road conditions across the South Africa road network and can use this input for more effective planning and scheduling of road maintenance. This will indirectly benefit all road users from both a safety and convenience point of view.
In today’s high-teach, data rich environment, one often hears the complaint of companies suffering from data overload. “Tracker has boxed clever in using it vast array of data to add value not only to their own customers – but also to the country at large and we can only congratulate them on doing so. Hats off!