The standard makes the defined data much more user friendly for existing fleet management software. "Contractors will be free to choose a software product that best meets their needs," says McGough. "This will give them not only the ability to manage repairs and maintenance in one place, but also look at things like utilization, run time and operating costs across mixed fleets with up to the minute data. The standard also has a real side benefit for software vendors in that, going forward, it will simplify the task of maintaining integration with equipment manufacturers' data."
It has proven a win-win for both customers and suppliers. "As a software vendor focused on the heavy equipment industry, it was a no-brainer," says McGough. "We wanted to give our customers the opportunity to take advantage of the telematics data provided by all of their manufacturers and use it to help them build a world-class fleet."
How it works
Under the standard, each telematics provider retrieves the data from the machine and stores it on their server.
"There are a host of differences in the way they get the data from the machine to the telematics provider's server," says Crail. "Once they get that data on the server, that's when they are able to provide a common measure.
"The standard comes into play after the data is transmitted from the machine to the provider's server," he continues. "The telematics provider stores it on its server and the end user uses an Application Product Interface (API) that is developed in house, or they hire a developer to write one for them. It is a really simple API. It is a couple days' programming in most cases."
The API basically places a call to the server of each telematics provider. "The server's address provides credentials to verify which fleet is asking for its ration," says Crail. "Once the verification takes place, the provider's system provides a snapshot of the fleet with the most recent reading for each field in the standard. Where the standard comes into play is the response from the server back to the end user's API in an XML document following the schema that was defined by the standard."
One API can retrieve the defined data fields from any participating telematics provider. The API is customized simply due to the variety of fleet management software in use. Once the API is written for your specific software, communication problems should become a non-issue.
The result is greater fleet management efficiency. "The AEMP Telematics Standard enables easier, more accurate and quicker flow of machine data into asset management systems," says Redd. "The standard allows fleet managers to import key information in a common format using a common process into whatever system(s) they are using to manage their business. This reduces and, in some cases, eliminates the inefficiencies of having to work across multiple OEM and third-party systems to manage an entire fleet of assets."
No legacy left behind
Thanks to the standard, there are no legacy issues to worry about with existing telemetrics hardware.
"There is no affect on the hardware whatsoever," says Crail. "It is at the server level that the provider is going to present the data in the correct format... That is why we wanted this approach. It is a pretty expensive proposition to walk out and decide 'today I am going to equip my entire fleet with telematic devices'." It becomes critical to utilize the investment in telematics that you have already made.
Under the standard, you are now able to track all of your equipment with your existing fleet management software. This includes units with telematics devices from various manufacturers, as well as those not equipped with telematics devices.
"By using the telematics standard to import the data, you are still using the same management reports that you have been using to run your fleet," says Crail. "You are just adding a more accurate, more timely data input stream for the machines that happen to have the telematics devices. Those can coexist with the legacy machines where they are still being recorded by pen and paper or fax."
You can also keep running the same reports. "We don't have to go outside of our existing system into a separate world to report on telematics equipment and then go back and report separately on the legacy machines," says Crail.
Of course, OEM systems are still necessary for advanced features. "The AEMP Telematics Standard encompasses only the basic subset of information that is common to all vendors," says McGough. "There will always be certain aspects of the data that are unique and proprietary to each manufacturer. These may require using specific software or web access to receive this information. However, this new standard makes that the exception rather than the rule. It is definitely a step in the right direction."