How Geotab is making global fleets smarter, one vehicle at a time

23 Mar 2023

Edward Kulperger. Image: Geotab

The fleet management sector is set to exceed $50bn by 2030, and Canada’s Geotab wants to lead the race and come out on top – especially in Europe.

Despite a temporary lull during the pandemic, there are more vehicles on the road now than ever before – and the number keeps on growing. And while personal cars have been getting a lot of attention from tech companies test driving emerging technologies, there is another segment that has been making the most of tech to improve performance – commercial fleets.

According to Allied Market Research, the global fleet management market was worth nearly $20bn in 2020. This figure is projected to rise to more than $50bn by the end of the decade, marking a compound annual growth rate of more than 10pc.

But managing a global fleet of vehicles is no easy task, and that’s where Geotab steps in.

Improving fleet efficiency

Based in Ontario, Canada, Geotab is a fleet telematics company. Using IoT technologies, Geotab helps businesses keep track of their vehicles by installing devices and giving them data across metrics such as performance, location and even driver behaviour to improve fleet efficiency.

“The analytics on that data is provided to fleets to help them solve problems such as how vehicles are behaving, what’s the fuel usage and what the carbon output looks like,” Edward Kulperger, senior VP of Geotab EMEA, told me in an interview at MWC Barcelona earlier this month.

Founded in 2000 by CEO Neil Cawse, Geotab now sees approximately 3.25m connected vehicles across all inhabited continents sending data up to their cloud, with around 55bn data points being sent to its environment every day.

“So we have a wealth of information, from location information which is maybe 30pc of the data to deeper, richer data around how the vehicle is performing, how the engine is performing, safety aspects of the vehicle as well as efficiency aspects of the vehicle,” Kulperger explained.

A very large component of Geotab’s fleet management customers, approximately a third according to Kulperger, is made up of rental and leasing companies – many of which provide subscription models and vehicles to corporate clients.

“So when a vehicle returns to a rental car facility, you understand the odometer and mileage, you understand the fuel or energy that’s been used, if there’s any bumps or accidents that vehicle has had,” he went on.

“Then you can take that data, digitally input it into your systems and produce an invoice in real time. So, all that automated process is what we do.”

Using AI to accelerate EV uptake

The company, which has a strong presence in Europe through Geotab GmbH, has also developed what’s called the electric vehicle suitability assessment.

The assessment looks at a variety of parameters on a traditional vehicle such as driving patterns, hours driven, time of the day, kilometres driven, fuel usage, etc, and can then use AI and machine learning to tell the company which vehicles in their fleet can be replaced with EVs.

“If you run this in Ireland, for example, we can tell you stuff like 20pc of your vehicles cannot be replaced, this is the type of vehicle you should replace it with – an electric that will manage all day-to-day wear and tear that your current vehicles do,” Kulperger explained.

“We’ll also be able to tell them about the types of vehicles recommended, incentives available from the government and even how much carbon output and money they will save.”

Unsurprisingly, Geotab is doing particularly well in Europe given the interest and growth in electric vehicles. According to Kulperger, the company has grown 600pc in the continent over the past five years and now is on a mission to be the leading telematics provider here – including in Ireland.

“We’ve hired a couple of people in the Irish market and we’re starting to develop that market because we think it’s really fascinating,” he said.

“We see the Irish market, where we have a few partnerships already, as an interesting one that is not too dissimilar from the Canadian market.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic