Green fleet management: an opportunity for telcos?
Sustainability is a key focus for operators and their enterprise customers. The growing focus on sustainability is opening new ways for telcos to offer enablement services. This article explores the role of telcos in offering fleet management enablement services.
The role for telcos in fleet management
Enterprises have never been more focused on the issue of sustainability given increasing pressures to report on, and reduce, their Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. Telcos in this regard hold a unique position; not only are they looking to reduce their own emissions, but they can also leverage their connected technology solutions (e.g. cellular connectivity, IoT sensors) to help their enterprise and consumer customers to reduce theirs. One way that telcos can do this is through the provision of fleet management solutions which track and collect data on driver behaviour, helping to optimise routes to prevent excess fuel emissions. These can be considered as a telco ’enablement’ service. Enablement services are exciting for telcos as they offer a way to drive growth through sustainability, providing new sources of revenue, and offer ways for telcos to differentiate. However, a successful telco enablement service should be accompanied by a clear and robust reporting methodology to allow their customers to truly understand the level of avoided emissions they enable.
What are the benefits of green fleet management?
Fleet management solutions leverage telematics to help enterprises improve the sustainability of their fleets by enabling greater fuel efficiency. While most fleet management services are positioned primarily as cost saving solutions (thanks to minimising the use of fuel), these solutions could equally be pitched as ‘green’ solutions for the same reason.
Fleet management services can help to reduce emissions in several ways:
- Monitoring tyre pressure, and sending alerts to fleet managers help to lower the unnecessary consumption of fuel that occurs when tyres are not optimally inflated
- Enable route planning, to recommend the most efficient routes for fleets and therefore reducing fuel consumption
- Enable load optimisation to ensure each vehicle is carrying the optimal amount of cargo and therefore improving fleet performance
- Monitor engine running on vehicles, so engines are not running idle and wasting fuel
- Identify the right size of fleets (by spotting vehicles who are under/over performing) and therefore reducing unnecessary vehicles on the road
- Offer software to indicate where EV charging spots are located to encourage the use of electric vehicles
- Monitor driver behaviour (e.g. send alerts to fleet managers when drivers are accelerating or breaking harshly, which causes more fuel to be used)
What are telcos doing for sustainable fleet management services?
- Verizon Connect offers several fleet management software solutions that can track vehicles and drivers in near real-time to provide recommendations to improve fuel efficiency. For example, some solutions help with planning the most optimal delivery routes, while others monitor driver behaviour e.g. detect harsh braking or accelerate, speeding, or idling, that can lead to excessive fuel usage.
- Vodafone offers fleet analytics solutions through Vodafone Business Fleet Analytics. The solution provides real time operational data which helps maximise the performance of vehicles by managing their routes. Vodafone’s solution also sends maintenance reminders and provides proactive coaching for improving drivers’ safety.
- Telia’s Eco-Driving solution is another option for enterprises. The solution provides drivers with real time data on braking, acceleration and driving patterns to enable drivers to better understand how their driving style affects fuel consumption. Telia’s solution reports the amount of excess fuel used for the trip to enable enterprises with fleets to see where they can make changes to reduce fuel consumption. Telia has stated this has had an effect of reduction of fuel costs by 12% per vehicle per year.
- Tata also offers fleet management solutions that leverage IoT and AI/ML to provide real time insights on vehicles. This solution connects fleet owners to the drivers, enabling fleet owners to trace the driving behaviours, fuel efficiency and health of their vehicles.
- Aside from telematics solutions, some operators are providing solutions that encourage sustainable transport more generally. For example, T-Mobile has been working with Geotab Telematics to offer a solution that shows real time data of the EV charging points to encourage the use of EVs.
It is clear that a number of telcos are offering fleet management solutions which can support the reduction of carbon emissions. However, if operators are seeking to position these solutions as sustainability enablement services, they should consider repositioning the business benefits of their offerings from a cost saving focus to an emission-saving focus. In this regard, it should be noted that Telia is currently the only telco that is leading with the sustainability angle of their service, rather than an emphasis on cost and fuel saving like other telcos.
Fleet management solutions can be a key enablement service for telcos to offer to their enterprise customers. However, for telcos seeking to claim their fleet management solutions as fully-fledged enablement services, they need to clearly communicate the environmental benefits that can be achieved. This should be done by establishing a clear and robust methodology for measuring avoided emissions. As no common standards currently exist, a collaborative approach between telcos with regards to sharing best practice will likely hold the key to success for fleet management solutions to truly be established as green solutions.
Author: Ela Eren is a consultant at STL Partners, specialising in sustainability and telco cloud.
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