Project type: Vehicle fleet telematics
Location: North America
Challenge:Overcoming network switching lag times, inflexible and restrictive contracts
Solution:Pay-as-you-use roaming SIM package for North America
Results: Roaming connectivity with no data dropouts, visibility and control of data use, improved customer service
AppLocation improves signal security with M2M Intelligence connectivity
Roaming SIM card solution frees company to introduce new revenue stream
AppLocation Systems’ location tracking and wireless solutions enable customers to gather vehicle fleet data in real time. This information is used to guide a variety of business-critical functions from simple location mapping to fuel, route and maintenance optimization.
An approved CalAmp reseller, AppLocation serves the North American and international markets from its Victoria, British Columbia base. The company’s bespoke tracking systems use SIM cards within every device.
Since it was established in 2002, AppLocation had historically relied on connectivity and SIM supply agreements provided by individual carriers or mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). Although they proved adequate initially, as time passed certain frustrations became increasingly difficult to ignore.
Gary Hartwig, AppLocation CEO explains: “Our customers depend on a constant connection, between each fleet vehicle and the cloud. They might be gathering data to track delivery status in real-time, improve fuel economy and maintenance schedules, or for compliance purposes. Unfortunately, we noticed gaps in connectivity as vehicles crossed from network to network mid-journey. These dropouts could last for minutes at a time, which was a big problem for our customers.”
In addition, service and cost is an important factor for AppLocation. Although Gary negotiated the best possible deal available for each contract, the agreements were invariably complicated, inflexible and expensive. “The data plans often only included a couple of well-priced networks in a mishmash of MVNOs and carriers. We also had little visibility when it came to our data use, or even the ability to manage it after the agreement was signed.
“In addition, it was common for the contracts to include monthly access fees, even if we didn’t use any data. Everything seemed to put the carrier first, not the customer,” notes Gary.
Needing a better alternative, Gary began exploring other options. On a peer recommendation he contacted M2M Intelligence hoping to find out more about its offering. He was pleasantly surprised to receive a swift reply: “I didn’t expect to hear back so quickly from M2M. They also laid out their offering very clearly.”
M2M proposed a solution based on a roaming SIM with a fixed tariff for North America. Although the early signs were good, and the proposed contract structure promised cost savings for the business, Gary wanted to proceed carefully – mindful of his previous experiences with other connectivity partners. An initial pilot order of 10 SIM cards was agreed.
The process actually proved as straightforward as Gary had hoped: “The pilot went well - we were able to get up and running quickly and smoothly, and we soon placed a more substantial order.”
The connectivity solution from M2M Intelligence delivered on a number of fronts. The roaming SIMs ensure AppLocation customers benefit from the best available network signal, immediately switching to maintain connectivity, with no lag times. This extra signal security is crucial when maintaining important fleet data links.
AppLocation also benefits from M2M’s customer-first ethos. Gary explains: “The flexible and uncomplicated way that M2M Intelligence does business is refreshing. We get responsive service at all times and total cost transparency. For example, we used to wade through 20-page contracts, but with M2M our agreement is captured on a single sheet. We no longer have to pay a charge for the SIM cards themselves – just the data we use, and only on those we’ve activated. It’s much fairer.
“They also helped us solve a customer challenge by adding additional functionality to M2M Insight, their proprietary SIM management platform. This displayed real commitment to service and really helped build trust in the partnership.”
M2M’s solution helps AppLocation keep a close check on data costs, empowering them to manually activate or suspend groups of SIM cards as required. “M2M Insight gives us the control and freedom to make strategic decisions in real-time. This, combined with the highly competitive tariff structure, actually allowed us to create a new data service revenue stream for the business – an unexpected but very welcome extra benefit. We feel secure with M2M Intelligence as our main connectivity partner.” concludes Gary.
AppLocation Systems is a privately held company specialising in location and wireless telematics solutions. It allows customers to collect real-time data from vehicle fleets and deploy leading edge IoT technology for supply chain visibility.
- A preferred partner of CalAmp, AppLocation’s products are Java-based as well as hardware and software agnostic, to rapidly integrate wireless data sources with existing ERP applications.
- Fleet customers use AppLocation solutions for mapping, reporting and compliance, maintenance and fuel optimization, as well as fault logging.
- Supply chain businesses benefit from improved integrity through IoT monitoring and real-time shipment tracking and management, while transit companies harness AppLocation technology for automatic passenger counting systems.