Saturday, June 15, 2024

IoT and Telematics are key for African operators in a volatile fuel economy

Now more than ever before, fuel management in fleets has become crucial. And especially in the wake of the rising cost of fuel, the importance of fuel monitoring cannot be gainsaid.


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Aliaksandr Kuushynau, Head of Wialon, Gurtam

Over the last few years, we have witnessed unprecedented economic uncertainty and continued volatility in fuel prices across all markets.

For fleet managers, fuel price and consumption continues to be a primary consideration in the design and operation of their vehicle fleets, determining vehicle type, route choice and a suite of other strategic decisions.

Fuel tracking has consistently been one of the primary telematics use-cases, but it’s even more important now as fleet operators need to have complete visibility of their fuel costs and usage, and be able to optimise decision-making in very short spans of time. Added to that, the impact of global sustainability targets means that visibility and demonstrability of CO2 emissions of fleet operators has a significant bearing on who does business with them.

Wialon, the global fleet management platform developed by European software company Gurtam, works with over 2,500 fleet solutions and service providers, enabling the tracking and fleet management for over 3.7 million connected vehicles across 150+ countries. As such, we’ve seen first hand how operators across the globe are using technology to mitigate and respond to a volatile fuel economy.

Interestingly, across the African continent, IoT and telematics implementations are being used in a number of different ways to not only manage fuel costs, but also to improve vehicle security and driver safety.

Wialon on the continent – a case study in controlling fuel theft

For many years, Africa has been demonstrating a remarkable pace in adopting digital technologies and embracing innovation. In this evolving market, the integration of telematics and IoT is rapidly gaining momentum, serving as a vital lifeline for businesses of all sizes.

The Wialon partner network spans the entire continent of Africa, extending from Morocco, Algeria, and Libya to Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Zambia, and beyond. Partners across the market have been delivering diverse Wialon-based projects, including cargo transportation tracking, fuel monitoring, driver safety management, or non-fleet use cases such as monitoring power generators, and other solutions specifically designed to address the pressing needs and challenges relevant to local customers.

One such example is Tracking Africa, Wialon partner in South Africa, who used the Wialon software platform to build and deploy a fuel monitoring and fuel theft control system for its client Mahlubi Transport and Plant Hire. The company was facing serious challenges in its fleet operations: significant fuel theft (leading to $15,700 in losses every month), management unable to keep track of company activity on the go, construction materials theft on their working sites, and more.

To control this, all the vehicles were equipped with GPS trackers, cameras, radio frequency backup devices and fuel level sensors. Wialon processed all the data to present the fleet stats and fuel-related data to the customer and, through Wialon mobile app, enabled company management to access fuel monitoring and other GPS data at any time and place. The fuel monitoring system deployed for Mahlubi Transport and Plant Hire now helps save 4,500 litres of fuel every month.

The fuel efficient fleet of the future

For connected fleets, fuel efficiency is easily tracked – Gurtam provides the means to achieve this, through its Wialon fleet management and GPS tracking software platform. Fuel efficiency tactics involve more than simply monitoring fuel consumption, and telematics solutions enable operators to enhance their efficiency gains by monitoring tyre pressure and driving behaviour too.

Keeping tyres properly inflated and vehicles in good condition supports peak fuel efficiency. By practising proactive fleet maintenance with automated reminders, operators are able to optimise for vehicle performance, safety and also fuel efficiency.

Mitigating unwanted driving behaviours too, like speeding, harsh braking and unnecessary idling is a key component of effective fuel management. Fleet management solutions built on the Wialon platform allow for live, in-vehicle alerts when drivers break pre-defined rules.

At Wialon, we have countless examples of fleet solutions providers using our platform to develop fleet management solutions for their clients, across various markets and sectors. In Rwanda for instance, Wialon partner Afritrack uses the platform to help 3RAG, one of the leading bulk fuel transporters in Rwanda, to increase fuel efficiency by measuring eco-driving behaviour metrics such as harsh acceleration, braking and sharp cornering.

In a  different example and scenario, Afritrack also helped one of its largest clients with the monitoring and maintenance of diesel generators in remote areas of Tanzania. IoT devices  installed by our partner and monitored on Wialon eliminated the (very costly) need for in-person checks and surveys.

With Wialon’s reliable and wide-functionality IoT and telematics software platform, fleet  solutions providers help businesses that operate fleets across the continent to manage fuel consumption and insulate themselves from fuel waste, fuel theft and volatile fuel prices.

Staying on course – connectivity and connected fleets in Africa

As mobile connectivity and adoption rates increase across the various regions of Africa, we’ll likely see enhanced capabilities and benefits that fleet management solutions will bring; in addition to fuel consumption monitoring, and security for drivers, vehicles or goods, wider and deeper integration of GPS tracking systems will unleash further benefits to drive efficiency in operations for African fleets.

The Wialon platform is built both for the present, and for the future, with its ultimate reliability, functionality and innovation for fleet management software and solutions.

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