Telematics Milestone

Rod Sutton, Editor in Chief | September 28, 2010

Last month, at the Annual Management Conference of the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP), the nation's top equipment managers discussed the just-released telematics standard. Based on what we've seen over the past few weeks, and conversation at the conference, the industry does not fully understand the magnitude of what has just happened.

An association of end-users convinced some of the world's largest heavy-equipment manufacturers to change the way they deliver machine data. This wasn't just a focus group; this was a gathering of the best IT minds within John Deere, Caterpillar, Komatsu and Volvo.

What has transpired over the past months, frankly, is amazing. OEMs have agreed to allow end-users access to proprietary machine data and download it, generically, into their own fleet-management systems.

To properly understand this, realize that each OEM has its own programming language specific to its machines. For any equipment manager responsible for more than one brand of machine, that is just plain inconvenient. If the fleet is large enough and heterogenous enough, managing data isn't inconvenient, it's borderline impossible. For many, it was simpler to pay someone to write proprietary software and either ignore the OEM data or figure another way to compile it.

The AEMP managers who met with the OEMs made this case clearly and convincingly. That's obvious in the way the OEMs responded: graciously and quickly.

Equipment managers who employ, or are thinking of employing, telematics should respond two ways. First, thank any and all AEMP members that you know. In fact, if you're not a member, consider signing on. This organization has the respect of the key suppliers and dealers in the equipment field. They just made a huge difference in your world.

Second, investigate www.telematicstandard.org. This is not an AEMP standard; it is available to the industry. Give the standard some thought and provide feedback on its acceptability or with areas to improve.

Become involved in ensuring this groundbreaking standard allows managers to access machine data in the best manner possible.

We welcome your comments.

E-mail: rsutton@reedbusiness.com

Fax: 630/288-8185

Mail: 2000 Clearwater Drive, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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