LiveOnWeb: Mega Trends in Trucking Technology



hello and welcome to today's live on web program megatrends and trucking technology I'm Seth Clevenger managing editor features at transport topics and this show we'll be taking a closer look at the IT side of trucking and how fleets are embracing technology to improve visibility and efficiency across their operations one major trend we'll be discussing is the emergence of predictive analytics which uses fleets data to forecast what will happen in the future rather than simply examining what has already happened we'll also take a look ahead at the future of trucking ite by exploring the potential uses for blockchain within the transportation industry and we'll be discussing the expansion of remote diagnostics the future of truck maintenance and even the potential for virtual reality and augmented reality in trucking now joining us here in the studio today to help answer all your questions is Jack Legler technical director for atas technology a maintenance counsel later on we'll also hear from Peter Kovac director of information technology at at paper transport at Wisconsin based truck load fleet that is taking us data analytics to the next level we'll also take a deeper dive into blockchain with Tim Leonard chief technology officer at Trimble transportation which owns tmw systems people net and several other trucking technology suppliers as we get into this discussion we also invite you to participate in today's program by emailing your questions or comments to share at TT news.com so Jack you know to get started let's go ahead and talk about the evolution of data analytics right now it's we've really come a long way from only using data to look at what happened in the past and assess what went wrong increasingly companies today are using data to look forward and project where are some examples that you've seen in the industry where where the transportation industry is really using predictive analytics to look ahead well thanks for the advice chef Tim she is very happy to be here and as well as myself the topic of data in Lex's chest fashion we're going through a rapid expansion both in capability as far as sensor technologies and pulling all the data to with the analytics so that we're not as you said not looking just retrospectively after an event happens but actually now being able to predict an event before it happens where this is paying off now as you're seeing increased rowdy efficiencies reduced maintenance cycles reduced maintenance cost better supervision of drivers and technicians right those are a few examples that we see and for another example we had a recent conversation with Peter Kovac at a paper transport and this is a specific example of next-level analytics you know in this case looking at forward-looking etas for more precise arrival times so let's go ahead and play that clip and hear what paper Transport is doing with forward-looking ETS yeah and Pete you know one of the you know big emerging trends we've seen in trucking technology in recent years has been the the use of predictive analytics you know using data not just to see what has happened in the past but to also try to use this to predict what's likely to happen in the future and paper transport is actually a really good example of this with some of the work you've been doing on forward-looking etas for more precise estimates on arrival time so could you go ahead and give us a little bit of an example when an overview of exactly what you're doing in this area at a paper transport here you know and for me when I have a litmus test is predictive analytics being taking the data that you have accumulated manipulating that and then making those projections forward and the big differentiator for that is so that way as you execute more and more as you have more and more data build-up those trends those predictions become even better as so you know what we have done is taken that minute-by-minute GPS information which everybody gets and build out individual route lines for all of our drivers and then combine all that aggregate all that and now we start understanding what what is going to be the average for those drivers as to how long context execute again as we execute more and more of those routes that information gets tighter and tighter okay and obviously this will help tremendously with planning right so when you're looking at network looking at opportunities to pick up loads you know this puts you in a position where you can make much better decisions right for sure and at the simplest level you know you have that feedback loop between the driver and the driver manager we take that information we and provide that same level of information that the driver manager is seen all the way back to the driver so you know at the simplest sense we have that conversation going on and setting those expectations as to what can actually be done it's great that we have this projected ETA but at the end of the day we need that conversation and they and a unified understanding as to what will be executed so that way the appointment items are set appropriately and that our customers are communicated with appropriately sure and you think you know in the modern trucking industry I mean forward visibility I get the sense is just becoming more and more important you guys are staying ahead of the curve on that but yeah what are you hearing from your shippers what do you think you know is out there in terms of shipper expectations for knowing you know precise times you know when a trucks going to arrive and just just knowing exactly where their Freight is yeah at this point the shippers mindset is is that transparency wanting that that full picture that full detailed view as to what's actually happening with a load and we've seen that with you know the visibility tools that are coming onto the market for kites to attend for where the shippers want that aggregated information coming in from the carrier's at this point we're already providing GPS information every 10 to 15 minutes coming into their system so that way they see exactly where that trucks at and then with that providing those those regularly updated etas back into the system as well has been kind of a new development for us okay so having those updated projections being not only shown to our drivers or driver managers but ultimately to our shippers and finally their customers okay and we're and at the end of the everybody's expecting that same consumer experience and in the transportation world all right yeah and you know with these forward-looking ETA is I mean this is something that paper transport is is developing on a proprietary basis so you guys are investing in this you see a real need for this as a competitive advantage you know why is this such an important you know technology for you guys to pursue why invest so much and in the end of this IT you know foundation for your business and that's truly what it is for us and how we viewed it is a foundational piece of data that we needed to understand we knew where our drivers you know we're going from you know in Wisconsin to Ohio but we had no idea where the drivers will be showing me all the drivers in Chicago at 11 a.m. tomorrow right we needed to understand where will we be at every point in the day will be info as we plan plan it out so not only will that give us visibility into empties along the red line or maintenance facilities that they can drop by but then we have that hours of service understanding with it to say that's great that then will be past it but can they do they actually have the time to stop so combined all the information so that way all of our business units all of our departments can really work together and have that single view as to what will be happening with that driver okay oh great you know maybe you know can you give me any before we leave this topic you know what might be the next step for you guys in this you know relatively recent rollout of forward-looking etas you know what's the opportunity for growth what's the opportunity to expand on that in the future that you're looking at I mean ultimately we're our long-term jump into is now we know where the where the drivers will be and where our holes in our network will be we really want to start plugging in those holes and having to say we need me alone from A to B right during this timeframe and that's really where we want to go with that and I know automated means all right welcome back so jacket.we and people appreciate you taking the time and Jack I wanted to you know get your thoughts on you know the potential for forward-looking etas for better asset utilization in the trucking industry predicting our time of arrival more accurately is AB not just nice to have it's a gotta have the industry is being driven more and more by customer expectations now shippers and end consumers consumers want their goods today because they're not going to brick-and-mortar stores anymore they're shopping online they want the convenience and they want the timeliness of a delivery on their schedule of course that is in conflict with the need to keep the assets moving all the time you cannot afford to have a truck sit and maintain them what types of margins that we do in this industry and then of course now you put proper driver utilization in tandem with that particularly note that we have electronic monitoring all over the place is that you've got to optimize all those factors together the back of the envelope route planning doesn't work anymore you need it you need the algorithms need the computer to do it for you because of conditions traffic conditions customer expectations are changing constantly sure if you're not looking ahead you're behind now before we move on from this topic I did want to address one of our viewer questions so we we have a question we received from Dave Lou singer at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation so we have a little bit of a Wisconsin theme developing to this show with paper transport on earlier too but Dave asks are private firms willing to share key information from their supply chain and predictive analytics with the public sector to establish the need for infrastructure investments and the need for repairs so Dave's really asking what's the opportunity to have some data sharing between trucking companies that are using more sophisticated technology on one hand and and state do T's for example on the other and of course this evolution of data analytics we're talking about is really geared toward better business operations but through the course of that of course these these fleets are going to have even better ideas on where the pain points are where you know the infrastructure really is lacking you know what areas are most in need of of repairs or just improvement and expansion so I just recommend that you keep a good dialogue with you know the fleets that are operating in your state you know just you know they'll have a great idea of what's happening you know they may not be willing to share all their proprietary information but they there's certainly a common interest in a need for a better infrastructure across the country Jack I wanted to bring you on in on this too what are your thoughts on possibilities for sharing data between the private and public realms well in the private sector we've always been very close to the vest with our information obviously we don't tip our competitors off to our little secrets or our problems but in this nice follow-on actually to the ETA question is we can do predictive etas if we don't know what's going on the highway system so we're going to need active interchange of data back and forth I me on the converse side of that we need to be giving more information to the public sector where are we finding the choke points as very graphically pointed out in a tree's recent survey report on those on those particular choke points is as you're designing infrastructure to perhaps have a truck dedicated lanes which infrastructure needs to be priority repaired to allow trucks to move constantly rather than having things tied up in construction zones all day and of course those things are changing a real-time and we need to have them better in turn dialogue back and forth between the public sector and our fleets all right well hopefully you guys can make that happen and this is a reminder you're watching live on webs look at mega trends and trucking technology as we continue we do invite you to participate in the show you can email your questions or comments to share at TP news.com and we will do our best to address them during the program so we've discussed predictive analytics which is some trend that we're seeing today in the industry but let's also look ahead to what might be the next big trend and that's blockchain so you're probably at least somewhat familiar with a blockchain concept by now I'm sure you've heard about it in relation to Bitcoin which has gotten a lot of attention in the press lately but the applicability is so much broader than cryptocurrency you know there are many possible applications for blockchain across a variety of industries and trucking is certainly no exception to that for those of you who are not that familiar with the concept a blockchain is simply a aired digital ledger or network that keeps an ordered list of records and those records are you know referred to as blocks and blockchain parlance and really the whole concept is designed to improve visibility to prevent you know errors and fraud and just have more seamless transactions from from beginning to end so Jack I want to ask you about you know your thoughts on blockchain and where it really could make a lot of sense in trucking the blockchain is not a future event it sits here and now many of our companies are working in identifying opportunities to work with blockchain it's being driven from the logistics side of the house very rapidly getting to the point now we're a customer in South America can order a perishable product from Korea for example and have it delivered within days and the whole advantage of blockchain is to take the middleman out of the system more than the amount that the intermediaries have to touch decision making as because of the trusted nature of blockchain we're one element the blockchain trust another element and it is a trusted network throughout as the transaction moves from one part of the chain to another the handoff happens seamlessly and automatically there's no one has to make a decision and put a checkmark in a box to allow the next the next phase of the movement it also has a lot of applications in maintenance and and part side.we that's all future think but we think that one of TMC's long-term objective is is to try to standardize the warranty claims handling process in the industry right now and I think that's where blockchain really has some great potential and we'll talk about that a little bit more later and you know some of the other ideas that been floated are regulatory compliance you know you think about Food Safety Modernization Act and all the documentation associated with that that's something that might make sense on a blockchain Network so we're seeing all these ideas and we'll see how they develop but I recently spoke with Tim Leonard at Trimble Transportation he's their chief technology officer and we really spoke at length about blockchain so let's go ahead and play that interview and hear what he had to say blockchain has really been a hot topic over the last you know year and a half or so within the technology world and increasingly it's also been a real area focus in the transportation industry and Tim it's great to have you on because this is an area that you have a lot of expertise in and I wanted to hear from you to start off you know why should fleet executives care about blockchain why should they be paying attention to it and you know what can blockchain do better than today's systems excellent question so I think when you look at the opportunities that all that executives has with inside the fleet capabilities is the enablement to look at the efficiencies and the professor's the proficiencies of the fleet's themselves I think when you look at you know the low margins that each one of the fleet's has well blockchain uniquely offers is is that first class of visibilities in today's technology there's not a lot of opportunities that you have to actually see things completely end-to-end and when I started working with blockchain three and a half three years ago it just became so distinctive that the validation of a trusted data set completely visible could enable multiple business cases that would help produce that that opportunities to help take manual processes and actually enablement and process things a lot quicker faster and make things transparent particularly with the relationships between shippers and carriers so unique application something that's very distinctive but at the same time very dynamic in a way that addresses all modes of transportation capabilities and we have several business cases we could discuss in this okay yeah and speaking of those business cases you know you guys at tmw and Trimble have identified I believe 54 different business cases that could potentially be transformed by blockchain so there's all kinds of different possibilities here would you care to take us through a few key examples no I'd be happy to I think you know I highlight a few you're right it certainly could spend a lot of time going through all of them you know I I like the cases for example around brokerage again I think you're absolutely right in terms of I've been doing this for a while we've looked at the business cases first solving problems within the industry so let's look at brokerage you know sort of a very very specific example which is carrier onboarding utilizing insurance verification what this has enabled us to do is actually work with other various associations this particular one is an insurance organization that's been set up that enables this hyper ledger our hyper ledger to effectively work with another one and so why that's so important today is is with an insurance verification it's very time-consuming an expensive task for really any size broker to really uniquely identify an insurance policy and then have it connected into a very dedicated ledger that maintains that data set and all you're doing is getting verifications and in the other one thing is it's publicly data that's hosted and maintained for example like by d-o-t so why not join a blockchain that has publicly ready available design something that could be very specific and enable you to take manual processes today that take 10 to 20 to 30 hours a month and completely automate them another great example for example is is like with an LTL you know job blockchain applications that track validate Freight look classes would be extremely helpful in the LTL capability so you know those are just two of the examples the one that I really like most is the example around ear mobile when you look at inter mobile the blockchain applications can and will help facilitate in real time a trusted access really around the formations realm order documentation data that can be transformed data associations with a document where we can help intermodal transportation is you know for example Mexico to United States to Canada by having these centrally located facilitated and real time that inner mobile lookup capabilities to tracked information can be done now in seconds and and and that enables us to take this thing and actually attack something in transportation every executive wants to go after which is the lack of proficiencies inefficiencies which has been one of our Achilles heels in the transportation world sure and there's also opportunity for some of the most basic of Freight transactions right you know just you're kind of the RFP and bid process you know in direct communication really between shippers and carriers can you talk a little bit more about that absolutely main business case is focused very heavy in looking at something you know we know that if you were to walk in the front door of any major carriers and say hey I'm gonna gut and replace your EDI with my own proprietary code I think they would kick us all out but if you can walk into a carrier organization you could embed the blockchain application foundation right inside of a non-committal transportation connection like for example tmw s bid engage product that then ties in information right into the RFP process the RFP from the shipper the carriers to the bid the enablement of that stored inside of a blockchain gives complete visibility and transparency between two relationships that we want to grow and build together and by the way that particular opportunities really is agnostic within a standard itself so standards don't really have to be completed but yet we saw one of the fundamental problems on the front end process before the TMS that really provides the opportunities for saving time cost and manual tracking opportunities okay you know another area that has gotten some attention as a potential use of blockchain and transportation is vehicle maintenance records and you know I understand that you have some experience you know with that that predates your time at Trimble back when you're working at General Motors and perhaps you were calling it blockchain at the time but it was you know much the same concept he felt talked a little bit more about exactly what you were doing there well I I and again your you're exactly right when when I started looking at blockchain this goes back to the first white paper then might earlier years particularly at General Motors you know when you're looking at the recall situation and enabling us to tie specific records of what was manufacturing to you anything that may have been recall there was scattered sets of data everywhere comma no that's not any unique problem with any company whether it's Jam or anywhere else however what was really unique was I immediately saw the unique identification of a record set that was indisputable but in a real-time fashion and it was recordable this really led me into the fundamental concepts is that if I can store dido that is trusted that no one can touch that I can make it transparent and this is what I believe the only oh for example Mary bar extremely one of the best leaders I've had a pleasure of working for tied together the opportunities to be we want to expose the information so that we're transparent but we also want to be accountable to be able to map the data into something that people can readily see and to trust that we're we are show you the information and that there's nothing behind the hidden door on that and that's what really started my mind thinking that if this is so important to somebody like CEO of General Motors this could transcend into the transportation world because it would help build the relationships of trust between businesses like a shipper or like a care or carrier to brokerage that really was the foundation of where I started with three years ago and it's I've never stopped since okay and you know we've we've explored some of the potential some of the real possibilities for for blockchain and it's interesting to think about all these use cases but just how long will it take and what what will it take for trucking to really adopt and use blockchain applications and how far off is this do you think yeah you know again I think there's a lot of give-and-take within the transportation trucking industry I see a lot of adoption in other parts of the the market itself particularly in Europe and in China India and Israel and Dubai we do have a little bit of an adoption process issue you know do we wait for standards do we then start building some items that we learn from you know and quite honestly stuff I think when you look at the opportunities that we can move the needle in specific areas of manual processes that are being done you don't affect the very low margins that happen today within trucking again I go back to the example let me roll out an application that has it that exists today in production that has embedded blockchain hookups and this isn't transparent with for example our bid engaged product that enables you to actually do a hook for example into an on tmw TMS system that's where we wanted to go with blockchain to be agnostic enough to support individuals but yet transparent enough to have a ledger that has the system of record of information starting with an embedded application of blockchain feeding into the overall unique ledger itself was the entry point that we felt that it we need less cost effective for our carriers and then – it would be less risk for them to try out something that enabled them to see touch and feel a blockchain capability again I don't want to disrupt the existing business I Brazil I believe TRUCKING utilization is still king today I don't want to affect the utilization capabilities around anything that I'm doing I want them to get the trust blockchain adopt blockchain but I want to do it in a way instead of eating a whole elephant they're eating pieces of the elephant and gaining trust into a new technology that can change the entire marketplace all right welcome back next I'd like to go ahead and dress some of the questions we've received on blockchain so Pete Dylan and a period technologies wrote when you dissect today's shipper broker carrier contract terms and execution and recourse in the case of breach for those contracts one of the biggest challenges to implementing smart contracts so we didn't really get into the the smart contract concept much but basically this is the idea of putting a traditional Freight contract on the blockchain and you you can have all kinds of different elements of a contract built into the contract in the blockchain that could be you know really every step from the initial bid through final payment you could have say provisions for driver detention time and detention pay maybe even on-time performance on the shippers side so you could certainly build a network and build a smart contract to encompass you know the complexity of modern freight contracts the challenge might just be to getting everybody you know to agree to the terms right no just getting the shippers and carriers and you know any other parties who might be a part of the transaction to agree to the same terms and and have it all set up on a blockchain network so Jack wanted to get your thoughts on smart contracts and how today's freight contracts could work on a blockchain environment voice 10th of June checked and said the transactional nature of the business if event a happens payment B happens handoff C happens or in the case of maintenance in parts and warranty if a warranty event happens it is backed up by data coming off of the ECM on the truck that you may immediately be paid for that warranty item and be sent a new part without any question because the event matched the contract of the warranty contract so from shipping to warranty two parts core management the problem is of course you have to be proactive in applying the rules and setting up the algorithms it's going to take the art of post accident negotiation or out of out of out of the system the the lawyers are gonna have to be thinking proactively rather than at the back end and that really is is the nature of the challenge of blockchain is is defining the terms so that the the chain itself now becomes a transactional control point rather than an intermediary yeah absolutely and let me also get to another question we received this one's from Scott Conklin dedicated systems Inc how do you feel groups like the blockchain and Transportation Alliance are going to affect the next few years and how quickly do you think implementation of blockchain will take place you know I'll just quickly suggest that you know bita is gonna play an important role in developing standards for blockchain that's one of the key core focuses that they've been discussing and feel kind of bringing all the parties together all that all the folks in the industry from different different sides of the industry together to have this discussion and I'll ask you Jack the same question and also this question how quickly you think this can happen another one of those questions the future is now we're already seeing many readings that I'm that I'm doing on this particular subject is we're already seeing blockchain being either actively incorporated or being planned from the international shipper community and of course the carrier's that are more logistics managers rather than pure trucking companies are going to have to interface with that in the very short term hence the beta of formation is why that's been so rapid is because there is a very rapid and immediacy push that to make that happen sure you have to define those terms as we said the contractor mission have to be defined in terms of trucking operations from our perspective because certainly the International shippers are defining it from from their perspective right and I think that bid is going to be a very busy organization here very shortly yeah I think so too he'll be interesting to see how these conversations develop and next I also wanted to go back to Peter Kovac of paper transport we also talked about blockchain during our interview so let's go ahead and play that clip and hear his thoughts well I want to shift gears here a little bit Pete and talk about you know another you know hot topic in the industry and you know this is looking a little bit further down down the line I think but there's certainly been a growing level of interest in blockchain technology and how that might be applied in the trucking industry and paper transport is a member of the blockchain and Transport Alliance so I wanted to ask you you know what do you see is the potential for blockchain in this industry yeah I mean the biggest advantage to blockchain is the fact that it takes out any sort of middleman that's really the the foundational idea behind it is that you have parties that normally would not have communicated with each other directly communicating and sharing and sharing that information so I think that's why I blockchain has become so so interesting to a lot of individuals because current state just with how many carriers are out in the market it just created this need to have a lot of third parties involved in order to keep those and keep trusted transactions flowing sure and with a blockchain set up you know in theory you could have you know multiple carriers multiple shippers all kind of communicating together in kind of a low board environment right and that ultimately that's where we would love to be right is it the shippers were all contributing their loads directly onto a onto blockchain the carrier's could all retrieve those loads and accept those loads right within the blockchain you don't have these phantom loads on these a hundred different low boards anymore when you actually accept that everybody sees the loads accepted and stuff and again going back to where we have with the etas is if we can pluck those loads directly off this blockchain and have it integrate your life directly into our network that ultimately we believe will make us the most efficient that we can be okay yeah could you speak a little bit more about the you know the this common you know thread with blockchain a lot of the folks who really study it say that it could really mean a lot for you know trust between business partners you know today of course it's you know companies that no other companies and and have this built up trust with blockchain and and some of the safeguards of the system there's some thought that you know maybe you can you can trust the system more than just people and you're gonna see a this permanent history of work that's been done in the past so you can feel confident in who you're working with do you agree with that do you think that that's you know watching that could have the potential to you know change how Trust works essentially in the trucking industry yeah for sure I mean when you have a large amount of small carriers that trust is especially important right it's nobody's wondering if matters going to show up on time where the large peers are going to show up on time right they have that that reputation out in the industry so it's the mid small to mid-size carriers that are really going to take advantage of this new trust model because it's a proven track record of what they have executed and parties other parties that normally again would not have communicated our ability and saying yes this happened this is a good transaction okay so we see this potential and this is this is very intriguing and we're you know very interested in seeing how this might develop but just how long might this take I mean do you think this is something that's you know years away you know and what will it take to you know for the industry to actually put something like this in place and actually have enough people on board to make it worthwhile there's a there's a lot of investment happening in the technology itself so that the technology is not going to be the lag as far as you know when it will be become mainstream it's really going to become the the parties involved in the technology actually coming together and building out those that network in agreeing as to how it's going to operate again though the the biggest piece of it is that now you have to have shippers that normally will talk to their cup each other and carriers that normally wouldn't talk to each other actually agree on a standard ran and implement it not only agree but implement it into their into their systems if that were to happen though it would be a very different world that would change very fast yeah would you say that we're still kind of in that discussion phase right now kind of the exploratory phase where you know the the people who might someday participate in blockchain networks are kind of just exploring it and for sure we're in this in the super hype phase where it's real blockchains gonna cut your bread and bake your cookies too so well we'll see how it all develops I mean it's a you know I think we're you know the industry now is kind of wrapping its mind around it and hopefully we have some great conversations and discussions you know through blockchain truckin Alliance and Transport Alliance I should say and others in the future and we'll see how this all develops all right welcome back let's go to yet another question we'd like to address from a viewer so this is a question from Josh silver Blatt at the Environmental Protection Agency and he asked well the will be the limitations of the digital Ledger so you know we've been talking a lot about the possibilities what can blockchain do and trucking you know he's asking you know what are the opinions on what it can't do so I think Jack you know as we mentioned before you know blockchain works well when you set it up in advance and have all these agreed to terms so it lends itself attract transactions that are at least somewhat predictable so is that the potential problem for blockchain unpredictable transactions well what exactly is a challenge if if you can't set up a rule if you can't write an algorithm around that rule then the blockchain is going to be very difficult because it's not really adaptive because you have to have those trusted sign us happen the certificates have to be exchanged so you can't exchange the certificate of trust if you don't really understand what it is you're trusting so hence the the more predictable the more defined the transaction is the more adaptable it is to the blockchain environment the other challenge is volatility where things are rapidly changing again because it invalidates the rules that are there if you talk of course blockchain emanated out of the cryptocurrency world particularly specifically Bitcoin when you're talking about financial transactions as part of the blockchain in in logistics in transportation is when does the main take place in and what form does that take place is it cryptocurrency and if so is the cryptocurrency volatile if it is very volatile as of course has been Bitcoin recently the value of that transaction the contract negotiation that goes along with that now also becomes very unpredictable so if you're going to make a rate that's going to apply in the in the profit margins that we operate on and the margin for error is very slim to begin with so anytime there is increased volatility and lack of precision on the negotiating side then the blockchain itself becomes an element of risk sure so even more factors to consider with blockchain and if you are fascinated by the possibilities for blockchain and want to learn more I would encourage you to go ahead and read the latest issue of our eye tech supplement this appeared in the February 12th issue of transport topics you can also see the stories online at tt news.com and for some additional reading on on blockchain and as a final reminder you're watching the live on webs look at mega trends and trucking technology and you may still have a little bit of time to submit your questions if you hurry you can email a question or comment to share at TT news.com and if you're fast enough we'll try to address it on the program but moving forward let's go ahead and look at another big trend we've seen in the trucking technology world and that's remote diagnostics which isn't new but it's been a big development for the industry over the last several years today all the major truck OEMs are offering some form of remote diagnostics and you know these systems report critical fault code data back to the fleet proactively while the vehicles out on the road so it's not just receiving a phone call that your your truck is broken down on the side of the road it's you know getting alerts so you can take proactive measures so you don't have this you know painful downtime and you're not just bleeding money as you're trying to get a truck up and running so we've seen this and we've seen a lot of focus on it in the industry but Jack you know what's your sense of how much of a difference these systems are really making are we seeing a tangible difference in truck maintenance as salt of this rule out of remote diagnostics our TMC members are telling us exactly that is again we're still in the early phases of the potential for predictive analytics but even even now you're seeing direct direct payoffs as you said the worst thing you possibly could want especially going back to our predictive ETA discretion discussion is the last thing you want is a truck with potentially ten million dollars worth of load in the back you're stuck in the middle of nowhere where the parts for the very now some very sophisticated truck are not accessible for and not available and if the system itself can tell you that a part is going to fail then you're going to avoid that situation so it's not just analyzing the failure modes on the back end to reduce your maintenance cost it's preventing the worst-case scenario upfront and that can translate into very large sums of money on your bottom line sure and I'll just add that you know in the trade press we kind of marvel just how much the truck manufacturers have really focused on on this area on their own remote diagnostics it's has become a key selling point for for vehicle manufacturers and that's pretty remarkable we're really seeing equipment in technology becoming more closely tied together than ever before if I may reject you a little bit it's it's actually because we're seeing more and more sensors we already have a lot of sensors on the show right but we're seeing more and more sensors not just on the power unit but also in the trailer you can you can monitor reefer temperatures you monitor axial temperatures you can monitor a lot of other issues that are going on in the vehicle and the more and more technology we add into the system the more data we're going to have to play with and of course now the analytic programs go with that or again are beyond the capabilities of people you need the computers to predict that failure and to give us give us a little bit of a warning use an example the old Hal 9000 predicting that the the communications control module is going to go ahead of course we all know what happened on that but more recently in the Watson commercials where they kind of joke about can you make a better cup of coffee and the watch that says I'm sorry I don't talk to the coffee maker well that's the whole point now in the truck we need to talk to every part of the truck yep absolutely it's amazing how interconnected it can all be and on a related topic let's talk a little bit about what truck maintenance will look like in the future TMC of course is looking at many ways that technology could change the the task of repairing and maintaining modern trucks you know including just this this use of more sensors to support predictive maintenance any additional thoughts on that jac our future truck committee can I keep joking with these guys that the future is not five years out it's much shorter term than that are working on a lot of conceptual things about types of sensors that may fit better into this predictive environment better air brake sensors for example that can monitor a slow bleed of air in a triple or a double way in that far back axle before you have a brake overheat and a brake firing and a load fire as a consequence that one little item to repurpose current technology not even future technology to a different utilization can actually have a tremendous payback on your bottom line okay and we've got a question here from Tompa Duke at trans service logistics he asks what will the evolution of a technicians role look like in the future considering electric vehicles and autonomous technology systems and what should a carrier or a maintenance service provider do to begin to prepare their staff for these changes Jack of course this is a perfect question for TMC so I'll kick this one to you what could fleet maintenance operations do today to prepare for a future where the job might look a lot different well I hate to do the shameless advertising but first of all come to TMC's annual meeting and exhibition which takes place March 3 to 5th in Atlanta we have a technology pavilion where we're going to be discussing all of these issues or any discussing technician training and virtual reality and all the other fun subjects that are going on right now the the answer is not thinking about the future is studying now because the technologies are coming on it's very quickly hybrid trucks electric vehicles are now items and you're gonna have to prepare to mean not just to be able to maintain them but also who's going to maintain them who's going to be allowed to maintain them and maintain the warranties on the technologies okay and you mentioned virtual reality and you know that's maybe another trend that we could to make its way into trucking more in the future not only virtual reality but also augmented reality for those of you who maybe aren't fully on top of that you know simply we're really talking about is adding a digital overlay to the physical world you know you could do that with wearables like Google glass or hololens or even just with your phones in some cases and in fact for those of you who had kids who were obsessed with pokemon go a couple years back you know going around with their phones that's actually an example of what at least as an example that augmented reality concept well that fad appears to be over but perhaps we'll see some applications in the business world including and trucking jack this is an area that TMC has been exploring so what are some of the potential uses for VR and they are in trucking TMC's future truck committee and Education Committee have been looking at this for actually quite some time now and quite far along in exploring the possibilities for virtual reality and augmented reality and the difference between the two of course virtual reality is training without having had the physical vehicle the physical device that you're learning how to maintain on hand that's the way I learned of course is working on a real truck now you don't have to work on a real truck you can work on a virtual truck and but at the same time have access to every system that's conceivably out there augmented reality on the other hand also allows you to do remote supervision of employees not just not just training but hands-on supervision real time in diagnosing and repairing yeah so I mean you think about a made this technician perhaps wearing a you know wearable lens and you know maybe looking at a physical truck by having access to you know fault code data you know on a Google glass for example or yeah maybe just checking and maintaining the truck examining the truck remotely from afar and and people that actually did a demo of a concept like that at their last at the last Trimble user conference so there are clearly some some folks in the trucking technology development world are actively exploring this and considering the possibilities for VR and AR and trucking now this is a circle back quickly to blockchain we did get another question on that topic from Ken Stabler at Ken's stable or trucking how can shippers and carriers using blockchain keep themselves protected against collusion lawsuits we talked a little bit about you know the need for kind of run in preparation but you know any any thoughts on that that's an issue or not or is that a little bit of a non-issue for watching oh that's that's a that's a large issue said TMC you know we've been developing standards for sixty years plus the recommended maintenance and engineering practices that we're famous for but as equally as famous although kind of behind the scenes is the system that goes with that is the peer review the avoidance of all types of market discussions in in not just the practices themselves but also discussions would lead into those into those standards that has got to be a part of the block chain discussion because the opportunity to manipulate is always there and we're setting new ground so you don't have the long-established slowly evolving relationships that we've had in this industry throughout my lifetime you're actually looking at an exponential change right now so the opportunity for errors the opportunity for manipulation in the marketplace are real and they have to be after you watch more yeah so yet another aspect of blockchain we should all be considering moving forward let's go ahead and get another question that we got from peter macmannus at B and C Chandler trucking Peter asks what are the cost benefits of newer technologies for small and medium sized carriers so we've been discussing a lot of different types of IT systems and technology for trucking and let me just say that it was not just for the big biggest of the big fleets you know I think in today's environment you really need to be doing work and being on top of your information and managing information to be competitive today and increasingly there are more affordable options out there there options for companies of all sizes you know anything to add jack on the possibility for you know small carriers to also use technology okay there's a lot of opportunities they give you a good example right now I think is in the area of parts core management TMC has a recommended practice coming through the ballot process right now that helps to standardize the flow of parts core management and to give assistance particularly small fleets on developing the systems to go with that now where the the Diagnostics the analytics would go with that is those transactions can be digitized and those transactions can now actually happen automatically without the and mostly this is a paper transaction at the at the small fleet level is without the hand load you're the inventory in your back room and frequently missing parts cores that have expired that you no longer can recover your money for them real payoffs to the bottom line in a much quicker quicker manner sure and yet another blockchain question we received I'll go ahead and get to this one as well I'm not sure I have a great answer for it but it is a very good question what type of computing power is going to be required to validate blockchains and verify transactions so if you think about you know a future where freight transactions are increasingly done on blockchain networks where's the computing power going to going to come from I mean I've heard this raised before do you have any insights on that jack well I think it's just the miniaturization of processors it's just advancing exponentially as well I remember when I first got involved in IT issues from a business perspective back in the 1980s the the x86 chip was there now we're talking about the qubit chip the quadrillion press transactions yeah in a chip and I think the computer power is going to be there it's just a matter if you're gonna have to make the purchases as an investment I mean your infrastructure cost you're going to need to include your computing power sets you can stay up with the transactional velocity it's going to be happening I think it's also helpful that we've gone through this move toward a cloud computing already and you know the possibilities for all kinds of IT systems has expanded with with the you know the use of the cloud so that could help pave the way in some cases for blockchain use as well and let's go ahead and get to a question as well from Jeri Mead at Phillips industries where do you see the the role of a smart trailer in the marketplace so the smart trailer you know we talked about all the sensors we see you know today's vehicles and that's not limited to the tractor it's also when the trailer and all kinds of cargo sensors you know door sensors light sensors when does the door open is the trailer filled or not temperature monitoring so you know this this idea of a a smart trailer is out there as well you know do you see that as an important part of the ecosystem for the industry moving forward oh absolutely I mean the trailer is going to be as much more integral part of the system than it ever has been before it's not simply a box on wheels it it isn't in itself a data source as you said particularly in the area of refrigerated and perishable products from security standpoint it says the door been open has door been breached and with blockchain it's it's a it's a natural complement to it because if you have the transaction being trusted in a blockchain transit transaction you also need to have a physical entity dovetailed with that so if you have a smart trailer that knows it hasn't been breached coupled with the automatically trusted financial logistical contract transaction then you then you do truly have a trusted network that you can allow the goods securely to move from someplace halfway around the world to your house without a lot of interference if you attract the load it's not just tracking the tractor is tracking the trailer as well and more importantly if something went wrong who's responsible yeah absolutely so you know this has been a great conversation we've really had on fascinating topics today but I think that'll do it for today's show I'd like to thank Jack Legler for joining us here in the studio today as well as Peter Kovac and Tim Leonard for participating in the program via Skype interviews if you missed part of the show or would like to watch it again a replay will be posted later today on our website tt news.com and on live on web TT news comm live on web will return in April when we will be discussing the release of TTS 2018 top 50 ranking of the largest 3pls in North America until then thank you for joining us you

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