Hitachi set to expand wireless communication offerings

  • 27-May-2010 07:08 EDT

Hitachi has teamed up with Telenor and Cinterion to provide telematic services such as geo-fencing and maintenance monitoring.

Hitachi Construction Machinery has divulged the partners that helped develop the tracking and tracing platform used on its construction and mining equipment. Cinterion Wireless Modules and Telenor Connexion developed the machine-to-machine communication system used to provide features such as geo-fencing, positioning, remote eMaintenance, and extended warranty support.

The Hitachi solution has been implemented in more than 20,000 machines in 50 countries including Japan and Korea. Now that the technology’s been well proven, Hitachi plans to begin promoting it more heavily.

“Our relationship with Telenor Connexion along with Cinterion allows us to take advantage of their global scale and footprint, long and proven track record of M2M managed connectivity solutions, and mission-critical experience managing large-scale roll-outs,” said Fujio Matsuda, Service Department Manager at Hitachi Construction Machinery.

Hitachi’s solution combines Cinterion’s HC25 module, which supports both 2G and 3G connectivity, and a Telenor SIM card that handles wireless connectivity and stores user identification data. Telenor’s global wireless services are the final component that enables advanced fleet management.

Hitachi’s marketing thrust comes as fleet management is expected to see solid growth. Revenues are expected to rise to $9.5 billion in 2015, according to ABI Research.

ABI researcher Dominique Bonte noted that in the early stages of a recession, reducing fuel costs and other expenses is critical. Companies that don’t trim expenditures often fade into bankruptcy. The survivors can continue to stay afloat by squeezing every penny out of a fleet management service, focusing on small things such as driver behavior, vehicle diagnostics, and preventive maintenance.

“Most of these are machine-to-machine applications that have very little to do with human beings,” Bonte said. Going forward, the telematic files can bring operators into the picture to further improve vehicle productivity by helping them increase efficiency.

As telematic usage increases, Bonte predicts that service providers will need to increase their efforts to differentiate themselves. Otherwise, they may not be around to benefit from market growth.

“Most fleet management operations are doing pretty much the same thing,” he noted. “Given that, the industry is ripe for consolidation. What the market needs in the long term is a standard platform portfolio of features from which firms can pick and choose those that best suit their size and operations.”

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