Managing fleets – whether it’s trucks, construction equipment or semi-trailers – boils down to knowing three things: where your vehicles are, how they’re being used and how long it takes to get from A to B. It’s a juggling act, and reliable software is essential. Today, fleet managers can get help from solutions like MobilZeit’s M.Box. This hardware and software solution provides real-time GPS tracking and data acquisition. The company uses T-Systems cloud infrastructure as its operating environment.
Author: Michael Hermann Photos: Shutterstock.com, Marcus Jacobs, PR
MobilZeit presents: M.Box for improved fleet management
MobilZeit’s M.Box supports customers with vehicle fleets in all industries – from common carriers to home health services to taxi companies, construction contractors and even outside sales representatives with driver logbooks. With this IT solution, organizations can track their vehicles in real time and look up the routes taken over the past twelve months. M.Box measures speed, identifies stops and vehicle locations and even detects thefts of vehicles and construction equipment.
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Located in northern Germany, the company has been supplying customers with innovative data acquisition systems for over 20 years: P.Box for employee time logging, S.Box for mobile time keeping and M.Box for GPS vehicle tracking. However, MobilZeit’s in-house server systems couldn’t provide M.Box with IT resources on demand. “What we needed,” said Managing Director Kurt Fisker, “was an operating environment that offered maximum flexibility and scalability.”
Variable ‘appetite’ for more
Utilization rates change daily in almost every fleet, whether it’s five Fiat Pandas driving for a local pizza parlor or 2,000 Mercedes Sprinters for a nationwide courier service. To keep up with the fluctuations in IT demand, MobilZeit decided it needed the flexibility provided by T-Systems’ infrastructure-as-a-service solution, DSI vCloud. The usage model it chose, Committed vDC, contains two types of computing resources (CPU and RAM): fixed and flexible. The reserved portion covers baseload needs, while “burst” capacity handles sudden load peaks as needed. The service is based on VMWare technology.
MobilZeit used a self-service portal to migrate data for several thousand vehicles equipped with M.Boxes to the secure, dynamically scalable DSI vCloud at a T-Systems data center in Munich. Now, all the equipment supported by MobilZeit – from motor vehicles to construction machinery to trailers – relies on Deutsche Telekom SIM cards to communicate its position in standard one-minute intervals or, if higher granularity is needed, every ten seconds. Once the data arrives at the Deutsche Telekom cloud through the Deutsche Telekom network, it can be used by customers in their own secured areas for applications such as dispatching or route analysis. Thanks to locally installed client software, customers can run dedicated reports in various formats. Geofence zones, for their part, tell customers when vehicles leave a predefined area, and for how long. They serve as a theft detection system: customers are immediately alerted by e-mail if a vehicle breaks through a geofence without prior authorization.
Highly available and reliable
The move has paid off for MobilZeit and its customers. When it comes to high availability and reliability, the cloud solution is light-years ahead of in-house hosting. “It was worth doing just for the improvement in customer satisfaction,” said Fisker. Also, M.Box’s performance no longer depends on MobilZeit’s hardware since DSI vCloud resources can be added or removed on the fly. All it takes is an e-mail or phone call, and T-Systems will provide additional computing or storage capacity as needed.