Openmatics Visions of networked mobility

Transport and logistics companies are already benefiting from telematics, but the technology still has so much more to offer.

Today’s systems already offer big advantages, such as lower fuel consumption and greater comfort. Now Openmatics, the flexible telematics platform from ZF, is bringing Formula 1 technology to the automotive sector, making life easier for manufacturers, suppliers and retailers. We gaze into our crystal ball.

Wherever truckers are improving their fuel consumption by up to five percent because an app is helping them avoid aggressive acceleration and abrupt braking, and wherever bus passengers are using WiFi to download ebooks of their favorite literature or surf the Web – that’s where you’ll find people using Openmatics. “Openmatics won’t just stay focused on buses and trucks,” explains Thomas Rösch, Managing Director of Openmatics s.r.o., based in Plzeň in the Czech Republic. The company is also targeting cars, ships and other modes of transport. “What’s more, the data Openmatics collects inside and outside vehicles can be used to create even more advanced and marketable products and offerings,” he adds . This applies to vehicle fleet activities in particular.

Analyzing consumption by smartphone

Openmatics consists of an “onboard unit” (OBU) – a high-tech electronic device mounted in a vehicle – plus a wide variety of apps. The OBU communicates with a central server that collects and processes data on, for example, the vehicle’s position, fuel consumption, driving time, rest periods and so on, but also component wear and tear. The data is accessed and analyzed via a web portal – by computer, smartphone or tablet. There are also numerous apps: thanks to these applications, Openmatics can be enhanced more or less as required, regardless of the brand of vehicle.

The information collected by Openmatics isn’t just useful to fleet managers: vehicle manufacturers – but also automotive suppliers like ZF – can use it to optimize upcoming models and components. Thus the vast quantities of data accumulated over hundreds of thousands of miles of everyday driving are used as the basis for future technology developments. “A number of manufacturers are already looking to swap over to Openmatics from their existing systems,” says Rösch. “We’ll give them the opportunity to sell our telematics solution under their own brand names.”

Valuable for manufacturers and suppliers

Up-to-date information on wear and tear is also useful to authorized dealers and repair shops. Like the engineering teams in Formula One, they can use this data to give customers early warnings of impending problems in cars, trucks or buses and bring the vehicles in for servicing before they break down. They can also use an app to generate the relevant service details and repair manuals – a genuine bonus for workshop mechanics, who no longer have to engage in lengthy diagnostics. Other apps could be used to provide dealers with information on how companies are actually using their vehicle fleets – enabling them to advise their customers to, for example, adopt alternative, more fuel-efficient strategies. Just another illustration of the many ways in which Openmatics could make fleets more efficient, based on a vision that’s edging closer to reality every day.

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