If there is one constant with telematics, it’s a change. New technology emerges rapidly – and the way that technology is used evolves at the very same time. That means new trends are always on the horizon. We’d like to share some thoughts on industry tendencies in 2016, starting with comments by Sergei Leuchanka, Gurtam Managing Director, USA, and some of our partners from the region.
Within North and South America we define two distinct markets for GPS tracking and fleet management solutions. One includes US and Canada and the other – all of Latin America. US/CAN market is one of the most advanced globally both as far as market penetration level (which is estimated to be somewhere between 30% and 40%) and when it comes to the level of functionality commonly expected from a fleet management solution by end-user fleets. Latin American market, however, is rapidly catching up on many fronts - penetration level is now at about 15%, but increasing quickly; and there's certainly more and more demand for advanced functionality.
This market can be characterized as one that is best served by advanced tracking solutions that are simple for service provider to package and support. Our direct customers or partners, who purchase Wialon software platform, bundle it up with the integrated hardware and data connectivity in order to sell the complete bundle to end-user fleets, often require more technical assistance guidance on performing this integration work. Our partners here are very much sales focused and prefer to outsource or seek assistance with many technical nuances of putting together a solution. At Gurtam we certainly want to stay focused on the software only, as that is what we are best at. Therefore, as a way to be more helpful to our clients we are developing a much tighter relationship and a unique collaboration model with our select hardware and connectivity partners in the region with an intent to provide our customers with a "simpler" way to put the working solution together and bring it to the market. We will continue focusing on this in 2016 and beyond.
It's also important to point out that the regulations is a critical factor in driving the adoption of telematics in the region. As an example that highlights this trend, Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration, which is the agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation, has recently released the final rule on Electronic Logging Devices, which would be required to comply with Hours of Service regulation by the end of 2017. This regulation sets legal limits on the amount of time a driver can operate a motor vehicle and is so far can be fulfilled by manually producing paper logs, which not only introduces a significant chance of human error, but also creates opportunities to deliberately misrepresent the information in order to avoid getting caught for rule violation. ELDs, by automating significant parts of the process, will produce more accurate reports and prevent many driver from unknowingly or deliberately violating the law, which in turn should make local roads safer. ELD functionality is starting to become a natural extension for a lot of telematics solutions. Gurtam, along with our partner Assured Telematics, is proud to have introduced the ELD solution last September, months before the final rule was released.
Looking into the future for the region it's hard not to be optimistic. There's still ample opportunity for the organic growth before market become saturated; and even when that happens a solid platform with the great feature set combined with diligent support and proven stability and scalability will thrive despite intense competition. This is where we are and will remain with Wialon.
Latin American market in many ways is similar to the market in Russia and CIS countries, where Gurtam originally got solid traction and developed into the market leader. Majority of service providers are expected have considerable technical resources to solve technical problems that arise from putting together a bundled tracking solution. In the last few years, seeing large potential in this largely Spanish speaking region, Gurtam produced high quality Spanish translation of the platform and manual, launched Spanish version of the website. Additionally, there are now Spanish speaking sales and support experts. As a result of these added capabilities our market share across Latin America has been expanding at a very high pace. Currently Mexico has the highest concentration of our clients. In fact, the number of connected units in Mexico is now only second to Russia.
Our partner from Mexico says: “We are expecting a growth of at least 200% of the installed capacity, mainly because of the demands of economic global players, why? Because in a contracted economy were liquidity is missing, resources need to be optimized and the main one is time. We are watching growing economies with very solid foundations like Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panama and Mexico.
Without a doubt the aspect that is growing the most is M2M, the automation of movements and correct placement of real time information in databases for decision making is notably impacting the growth of our industry. Nowadays knowing in what X or Y the vehicle or load is located is not enough, but, how is the load? How is the vehicle? Information is power and that is what is differentiating the logistic market players. Another point of great growth is the localization of vehicles for security reasons, this growth is becoming exponential in Latin America, but the utility levels of this market is decreasing drastically due to the fact that nowadays almost everyone can offer this services, where most of the time they are companies without experience and without experience in this specific topic.
An important key for the growth we are expecting is offering our services to the owners or producers of the load, as a consequence they will demand it to their transporting companies. Therefore the cycle will be closed and we can count with all the supply chain. Another important point is that we have developed and personalized the software for each one of our clients, Wialon’s SDK is very friendly and easy to parmeterize (set) for linking Wialon’s databases and our clients’ databases and ERPs.
The main threats that we have is the competition against companies that do not have any certification or international qualification, since this companies are able to offer better prices to our clients.”
There's also a significant growth in Colombia, Chile, Peru, Panama, Honduras and other countries in the region.
“In think the trends are and will be for a long time to control everything around your house and your loved ones through your mobile phone. IP cameras, lights, music, etc and portable GPS for your kids or the elders will be a must. The most profitable is giving added value to logistic, transportation and distribution companies through the GPS. For example: Business intelligence, fuel control, maintenance administration etc. GPS7000 will continue growing this year through the opening of offices in other Latin America countries like Ecuador, Bolivia and Argentina. Our main threat is the slow economy our countries are living right now and that doesn't seem to change in the short term what implies less investment in technology from companies.”
This year we are putting a particular emphasis on building a community among our partners and advancing Gurtam and Wialon brands in the region. A day before ExpoSeguridad trade show in April this year, where Gurtam exhibits, we are organizing a partner conference for our clients in Latin America. It will be a great opportunity for everyone to meet each other, chat informally and exchange ideas on business.
We will have some hardware vendors join us for a moderated discussion on various hardware options and vertical markets that can be served with their products. Additionally, we will shed some light on the future of the platform and our views on the market. We will soon be launching our forum and blog in Spanish. Additionally, we now have a business development representative based out of Buenos Aires, Argentina. This year Gurtam will be attending telematics and logistics trade shows in Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Panama.
We feel very confident about our position and reputation in Latin American market. The level of functionality and flexibility Wialon offers, supported with great native mobile apps, and our commitment to this region makes a lot of local competitors uneasy.
Long gone are days when a dot on the map representing real-time vehicle location caused people to hold their breath in excitement. With the prevalence of smart phones that pack a stunning amount of technology in a relatively small package, fleet owners' and managers' expectations of what the tracking solutions should be able to do are increasing as well. Wialon stays ahead of the curve by closely monitoring how the market needs are evolving and offering the solutions that help solve real problems and address critical pain points of the fleets our partners are serving.