One of the foremost challenges of fleet management in areas with harsh winters and inclement weather is balancing the safety of your staff with continuing productivity and fleet deployment. Every year winter weather causes millions of dollars in damages, as well as severely impacts regional and national economies.
For fleet managers, having comprehensive and up-to-date weather information is of the utmost importance when navigating winter weather. Current weather forecasting fails to provide the type of hyper-local, real-time road condition data that fleet managers demand. While adequate at providing long-term or broad regional weather trends, weather forecasting still suffers from missing nuances in weather at the local and hyper-local level. It also is difficult to lean on weather forecasts for true road conditions, as what is happening fifty feet above the road may not reflect the conditions on the ground. For fleet managers that rely on accurate and up-to-date weather information, current weather forecasting techniques leave much to be desired.
Internet of Things (IoT) technology is now filling the void left by traditional weather forecasting efforts. With the ability to relay data from the cloud to the end user, and the ability for IoT integrated road weather solutions to extend a broad array of sensor nodes, IoT weather solutions offer enhanced levels of data coverage. IoT sensors are inexpensive compared to traditional weather capture and transmit systems, and can be placed on fleet vehicles and roadside points to grant increased coverage. Alongside increased coverage, an IoT-based weather mapping system also generates real-time data. This allows weather events to be seen and reacted to as they occur. By fusing multiple data sources together, IoT weather solutions also offer more comprehensive ground weather data. Forecasting algorithms can collect and interpret that data and push it to your dashboard in real-time. Taken together, these advances allow IoT systems to provide seamless, real-time, and complete hyper-local data.
IoT technology empowers fleet management to confidently act on changes in weather. Hyper-local data for individual vehicles combined with comprehensive road-weather data allows for route optimization based on weather and road conditions. If an accident or slowing occurs ahead of a driver, emergency re-routing allows them to be warned and given an alternate route. Both of these ensure that vehicles or deliveries get where they need to go on time and safely. IoT solutions for fleets give managers full fleet visibility. Managers can see in real-time where their vehicles are, how fast they are traveling, what traffic is like ahead of them, and exactly what the weather is like at their location. This data allows them to optimally configure routes, accurately predict delivery or arrival times, and ensure their fleet operators are driving in safe conditions. With a fleet IoT system in place, managers can also send alerts or notifications to drivers, letting them know of any changes in weather or driving conditions along their routes. With the comprehensive, full-fleet view that an IoT system can provide, fleet managers can better anticipate delivery or arrival delays, and communicate that information to end customers. More accurate arrival or delivery windows results in higher customer satisfaction and customer retention. In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates an annual loss of 32.6 billion vehicle hours as well as $2.2 billion to $3.5 billion due to weather-related delays in cities and on trucking routes.
With an IoT system in place for fleet operations, fleet managers are able to ensure that their business operations are running optimally. Fleet drivers are assured that knowledge of road conditions is being updated in real-time, allowing them to avoid dangerous road conditions and maintain their delivery schedules. These IoT solutions such as Fathym WeatherCloud, has helped numerous municipal governments and private fleet organizations deal with inclement weather more safely and efficiently. Technology has the potential to delvier hyper-local road-weather data in any fleet vehicle. Armed with real-time, actionable weather data, fleet managers can more effectively maintain continuity of their operations when weather events occur.
IoT weather solutions are at the forefront of the revolution that is taking place in how we quantify, display, and act on road weather conditions. Efforts are already underway to design roadways that contain embedded sensors within the surface itself. Additionally, car manufacturers are designing car-to-car and car-to-road systems that will further integrate IoT technology onto our roadways. As the IoT network of sensors grows, fleet managers will have access to more complex road data than ever before. This data will shape how fleets are deployed and optimized for safer, more efficient and accurate operations.