COVID-19 is dictating rules, and we still can’t meet our partners in person. Luckily, we can reach out to them online. Gurtam has arranged a series of meetups where we discuss coronavirus-related issues and their effect on telematics, share anti-crisis ideas, give advice, and support one another.
This article will allow you to dive into the most important information discussed at the first meetup. You will get expert forecasts on the future of telematics; learn about the emerging opportunities and how you can turn isolation into a fruitful time.
Olga Filonchuk, the Head of the International Business Development Center at Gurtam.
We at Gurtam keep an eye on the situation and collect the stats on the mileage of all the units connected to Wialon Hosting. You can see the data on our experts’ countries in the chart below. It renders the percentage of mileage reduction in comparison with the week preceding the discussion.
Percentage of mileage reduction in comparison with the week preceding the discussion
*Data is relevant as of the meetup date
The reduction of demand due to the lockup has affected all of our panelists’ companies. Pradeep Kumar from the US optimistically describes this situation as small turbulence in the customer area. Benjie Javier from the Philippines admits that this decrease has been expected in his country as only 10% of all businesses are operating there now. Omar Hatmi from Malaysia notices that his company is getting ready for the time when their customers are unable to pay the bills.
According to Omar Hatmi, Malaysia is experiencing disruptions in the food supply, mostly because Singapore has closed its borders. Rice, eggs, and other foodstuffs disappear from the stores in an hour after they appear on the shelves. The government has also established a kilometer limit. Nobody can move more than 10 kilometers away from their homes.
Lebanon has just started to recover from the revolution that happened there a few months ago.
“A new government took charge of the country in January. They have just started working on fixing something, and then corona hit. So we’ve been hit twice in a row,” Peter Chalhoub says.
On the date of the conversation, there were around 76,000 people infected with COVID-19, according to the official figures in Italy (214,000+ by May 7, 2020) David John Jephcott claims that despite such a tough situation, the carriers are still operating, and, probably, they are operating even more than they ever have.
Our experts discuss the current impact that the pandemic has on businesses and share their predictions for the long and short-run.
Omar Hatmi is sure that the telematics market is going to see very tough competition. There won’t be many new market players to show up, but the already existing companies will be striving to save their client base.
The government of the Philippines obliged everybody to put a tracking device on all the vehicles in the country. These conditions are likely to help businesses specializing in telematics. Now the installations have been slowed down because of the lockdown, but Benjie Javier believes that the process will be restored in a month.
David John Jephcott supposes that the world will start coming out of the crisis somewhere between July and September. Businesses will start to regenerate. On the other hand, some once-promising opportunities will probably cease to exist in the 12 months’ time, e.g., car hiring business will go down.
“The local carrier business is going to expand, and I think it’s going to be a lot more emphasis now on personal tracking and applications for it,” David John Jephcott forecasts.
The speakers talk about the new projects that have come right into their hands as a result of the pandemic.
Medics are at the front of the fight against the pandemic now, and they need state-of-the-art and cost-effective solutions for facilitating their work. Omar Hatmi mentions that Active Telematics is working on a GPS watch with Wi-Fi, RF, and geofencing. This product will help doctors monitor their patients’ health conditions remotely.
Benjie Javier and his team are also engaged in creating IoT solutions for healthcare. There are only 1 nurse and 1 doctor for every 110 infected people in the Philippines. As a result, there is a strong need for tracking devices that allow finding the location of medics.
The panelists agreed that it would be a mistake to ignore a skyrocketing demand in the online delivery services. Service providers should analyze the needs of the delivery companies to be able to work out the appropriate solutions for them.
Peter Chalhoub notices that Maliatec got several requests for temperature and humidity sensors from farmer and FMCG companies delivering goods. He also admits that Maliatec uses the combination of Logistics and Wialon to provide clients with a proper online delivery service.
David is worried about the possible increase in crime caused by the decrease in the world economy. As a result, a lot of tracking solutions that ensure the security of both buildings and vehicles will be needed.
Omar Hatmi informs that, currently, his company’s specialists are testing tracking IP cameras with a temperature sensor. This device is supposed to contribute to the security of the empty buildings. Now there are many of them in Malaysia as, e.g., people have to stay at home and can’t go to their offices and other kinds of working places.
Peter Chalhoub says that his company is getting requests from banks. They send staff to fill ATMs and need security solutions for their vehicles.
Peter Chalhoubis delighted with the fact that his company can use Wialon. One of the reasons is that the company’s services scope is not restricted by just vehicle tracking. A lot of new opportunities emerge for Gurtam partners thanks to this, sort of, technological freedom. For example, Peter’s company is getting requests for digital solutions that enable the tracking of prisoners. The Lebanese government is searching for ways of reducing the number of inmates in jail. According to this project, less dangerous prisoners can stay under the house arrest and be monitored remotely via tracking devices.
Our partners uncover how they spend their working time during isolation.
“We do the jobs that we haven’t done in the past because we never had time to do it,” David says with a smile.
He also notices that he and his partners take the time to analyze their place in the market and their actions as market players.
The panelists speak a lot about trying to be in touch with their customers as much as it’s possible, learn more about their current problems and needs. They also spend time developing new sales strategies.
“This is the time when our customers test us. If you go running up for money, they will know we are only interested in that part, but if you hold out your hand at them…,” Omar shares his reflections.
An inspiring remark comes from Peter. He says that his company is trying to build a strong community with their clients the way Gurtam does with its partners.
Benjie is very happy about the fact that software development can be done at home. During the lockdown, he and his colleagues are busy with creating digital solutions for the automation, including integrations for ERP.
Pradeep sees new opportunities in his clients. Usually, those are businesses that have people and equipment on the streets. Their work has been greatly impacted by the lockdown. The patterns of movement have changed. For example, drivers are allowed to take their vehicles home instead of going to a parking lot. Pradeep finds it important to inform and educate clients, help them use the full potential of the system. It becomes even more necessary in rapidly changing conditions.
"We should reach out to our customers and educate them on the nuances of the system, how they can leverage the features that they never knew existed. For example, make clients aware of the asset reorganization features, and how they can help lower the cost," Pradeep recommends.
Pradeep is sure that integrators should evaluate the newly opened opportunities very carefully before changing their business models. Things that are in trend today can disappear tomorrow. Any important decisions should be taken with a cool head.
According to Pradeep, you have to step back and see if you are set up as a company to be flexible enough to chase a very short-term opportunity. There is always a risk to be too ahead of time. Anyways, it’s important to think about your current clients first and to keep them happy about your services.
Our experts made several predictions on how the pandemic will impact the world of telematics:
We are very thankful to our speakers who shared their valuable ideas on how to spend the time during the isolation wisely, and how telematics businesses can overcome the consequences of the quarantine. To find out about the upcoming online discussions, visit the meetup page.
In this article, we gathered the highlights of the online event. You can watch the whole meetup in the video: