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Originally published in Fleet World.
Paul Tarsey, IoT business development manager at Aeris, speaks to Fleet World about the importance of secure, uninterrupted global cellular IoT connectivity for fleet telematics and management technology, and the considerations for both fleets and telematics service providers.
Q: More businesses are switching to the benefits of a connected fleet, but how important is it to ensure your telematics and connectivity provider is offering uninterrupted coverage? And how does Aeris stand out here?
A: We provide wider coverage than all of our rivals thanks to the Aeris Intelligent IoT Network. This purpose-built, intelligent network delivers an industry-leading connectivity management platform designed to capture more data about IoT devices and their connections and provides unique capabilities you can’t find anywhere else.
It offers advanced security and eSIM with a unique suite of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI)-based capabilities. These enable superior global IoT connectivity and network performance, increased security performance, and best in-class IoT network support.
Our multi-carrier intelligent IoT network maximizes coverage in each country around the world. Having unrestricted access to radio towers of more than 550 networks across 190 countries, it provides the highest quality, most reliable coverage.
It also provides non-steered network services. This means we allow the device to connect to any available network without applying financial restrictions on which network it should be connected to and which it can’t connect to.
Q: Why is having that assurance of full and reliable coverage across different networks and different countries so essential for fleet operators and telematics service providers?
A: Because it protects you. Our key value is in being able to give EU-28 coverage with multiple networks in each of those countries. If a network, say EE in the UK, has an outage and you have a EE SIM, it won’t work. But an Aeris SIM will move over to, for example, O2 and maintain access to real-time information.
For consumers, their cost is exactly the same regardless of whether they’re using EE in the UK, O2 in the UK, or networks in France, Germany, Spain, or wherever.
Our multi-network service reduces risk for the telematics service providers, allowing them to push more competitive models to their customers, who in turn benefit from maximum coverage.
Q: As more fleets adopt dashcams and video telematics to protect themselves and their drivers, how is Aeris helping customers when it comes to high data?
A: We’ve invested a huge amount of time and energy in developing a high-data product tailored to the needs of video telematics service providers. Aeris High Data provides high-quality data at an affordable cost – and is unique when it comes to high-data dashcam-suitable SIMs.
This is especially significant as high-data SIMs become increasingly important to support the rapid take-up of dashcam solutions by fleets looking to optimize cost savings and fleet management, and prevent fraudulent insurance claims. They’re also important to improve safety, satisfy regulations, deter theft, and lower vehicle premiums.
To give you an example, most of our dashcam customers are taking a factor of 100 to 200 times the amount of data as traditional telematics data. So, our high-data solution gives telematics service providers the ability to target organizations that are working across multiple countries and need maximum insights.
Q: The pandemic and revised ways of working have caught some fleets out when it comes to things like data costs. How can Aeris help customers when it comes to flexible data provision?
A: The Aeris data pooling model allows us to take an average of your entire fleet of vehicles, so you don’t need to worry about the worst-case scenario if you go over your data on one device. Since we think of your usage as a big pool of data, it doesn’t matter whether that’s all being used by 1% of your SIMs or not. It’s all about the average.
For example, if your average usage is 300MB or 500MB, we can give you that amount of data. If you have a couple of vehicles that use significantly more data than that, it’s all covered in your usage.
Our pooled data offering is highly competitive in that we offer aggregated data across a contract, ensuring that fleets have enough data to support their telematics and dashcam needs without paying excessive prices for going over data limits. This is incredibly unique when it comes to high data, multi-network data, and multi-country services as well.
Q: How does the Aeris free data manufacturing allowance support both end-user fleets and Telematics Service Providers (TSPs)?
A: The traditional business model, especially for high-data dashcams, is for TSPs to start being charged their monthly fee on data as soon as they switch on a SIM and it starts sending data – whether that’s because they’re manufacturing devices a couple of months in advance or because they want to hold a stock of that device.
Unique to the marketplace, Aeris gives customers the flexibility to have a certain agreed-upon threshold where devices can use data, but the device monthly fee does not kick in. This allows customers to install SIM cards when they manufacture their device, which is far easier than engineers having to do it later in the process. It removes the cost barriers that they would have potentially run into, and those costs might have been the reason why they didn’t do it at the point of manufacture.
So, an end-user fleet can basically install a SIM, test that the device is working as expected, and then the TSP can secure that contract win. It also means that TSPs can hold larger amounts of stock – making them more flexible and reactive on device supply timelines, especially if a fleet suddenly needs a large consignment of devices.
The process is far quicker if the SIM is already installed and the devices have been tested to work. This in turn reduces the need for multiple engineer visits, delayed engineer visits, or even having to send the devices back to the manufacturer to be redone.
It’s a win-win for both the TSP and the fleet in terms of downtime.
Q: As fleets increasingly adopt dashcams and telematics solutions, operators require near real-time access to rapidly changing data. How can Aeris help with its low latency, and what are the benefits?
A: It’s because we have the multi-network capability, because we have the engineering capability, because we have all of the core networking systems under our control that we are able to optimize device behavior as much possible.
We also have end-to-end visibility on how a solution is operating, which allows us to drive optimization. For example, we could help a TSP customer get to market faster, because we have some expertise we can pass on that might help them make their device more efficient and faster.
We have device reliability. Our deep knowledge of how the network operates means that we improve the uptime of devices – and that’s going to have a direct benefit on the end-customer experience.
And we have a customer experience-focused solution at the lowest possible cost. This allows our customers to offer better services to fleet customers, compared to rivals.
Q: How else can fleets ensure that their telematics devices are operating as they should and without service outages?
A: First, it’s important that your telematics service provider is working with an IoT specialist that provides superior customer support.
Aeris has engineers with device-level expertise who can support our TSP customers. We know how to ensure their devices operate with the designated network and are running in line with cellular best practices to make that connection as robust and reliable as possible, and also deal with any ‘edge’ cases automatically.
This in turn improves the end fleet customer’s experience, reducing the engineering operational expense of the telematics service provider and making everything run much, much smoother.
The reason why Aeris is incredibly well positioned to do that is because we actually have engineers who are IoT specialists with an intricate knowledge of how telecom networks operate as well as device module operations. It’s also because of the core network where we operate: We can see exactly how a device is behaving on the network, how it’s communicating with different parts of the network, and pin down where it’s mainly being used.
The DNA of Aeris’ services is based on quality rather than cost. We believe very strongly that by focusing on service quality, we are delivering a higher value for our customers, because this focus on quality reduces the total cost of service for our customers.