The Friday interview: Padraig Kenny, Celtrak

24 Aug 2007

Galway-based Celtrak’s technology allows large fleets of trucks to be managed over the internet. Padraig Kenny is the company’s managing director.

How did Celtrak come into being?
We were a division of Connaught Electronics and began looking at the field of telematics 10 years ago.

Connaught focused on developing components for companies like BMW, Mercedes and Toyota and we decided to set up Celtrak as a separate business.

What kind of telematic systems do you develop?
We design and manufacture systems that will allow the transmission of data from a vehicle that allows businesses to track a moving or stationary asset.

How do the systems work?
At the moment we would put in GPRS-based mobile devices into vehicles and these would transmit data back to a server that businesses would access over the internet.

A business would access information such as where that vehicle or asset is at any one time. We would place geo sensors inside a vehicle and when that vehicle hits the road it would feed back data to a mapping interface such as how long the vehicle spent at a particular location.

How are businesses making use of it?
Some would use it for verifying time sheets, for example, or to see how safely drivers are conducting themselves on the road.
Other companies are using the data and feeding it into an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system or a customer relationship management (CRM) system for complete visibility of their business and to boost customer service.

Would increased need for security lead to a spike in business?
Fears of security are a factor but globalisation and efficiency to drive the cost out are really what it’s about. Also environmental compliance is a big issue. For example, the UK Government would have strict rules about the weight of trucks. If a truck is overweight our sensors would send a signal back to base.

Our focus is on the large business. If 10pc of a large fleet is under-utilised, this is costing the business money.
One of our clients would use our technology to monitor temperature and it sends information signals every 15 minutes.

What does the future hold for Celtrak?
We are seeing the advent of completely networked businesses where every asset is connected to the corporate network for two-way communications. Radio frequency ID (RFID) tags will play an important role.

By John Kennedy

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