Omnitracs to go international to expand telematics business

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Omnitracks was one of the world’s first pioneers of telematics technology, pushing the envelope of truck to dispatch station communication and it’s done very well for itself in its home country of the USA. However over the past decade, telematics technology has become a much more global phenomenon and Omnitracs of course doesn’t want to miss out on this trend, so it’s going to be expanding overseas in a big way over the next few years.

“The U.S. market is our core market and will continue to be, but our markets in Canada, Mexico and Latin America are growing very well, and I think there’s an opportunity to expand that,” said John Graham, Omnitracs CEO (via JOC). “When I look at the industry as a whole, I look at a global footprint, and there are great opportunities for us to grow. We’re bringing in a broader perspective on growth maybe than in the past, and we’re trying to invest accordingly.”

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Omnitracs isn’t expanding all by itself though. Last year it bought out Roadnet Technologies, a company with a customer base in over 60 different countries; that gives Omnitracs a huge starting point to springboard off of. On top of that, Omnitracs acquired another firm last month called XRS, which develops mobile products to offer cheap and effective telematics in developing countries. This sort of technology could see usage in some African countries, as well as nations like India and China, where car usage is exploding, though the average income of an individual or some businesses, wouldn’t permit the use of bespoke hardware and software. Smartphones on the other hand, are far easier to come by.

“Every market has a different local need,” Graham said. “The way you do use telematics in the U.S. doesn’t necessarily translate to Mexico or to India or to China. We need to make sure our technology is flexible enough to develop the right solutions for different markets.”

This is important too, as telematics as an industry is going to be worth 10s of billions within a few years, thanks to an explosion in its uptake. This is due to a lot of factors, including cheaper smartphones and better wireless technology, but also simply from the savings that can be had by installing it. We’ve seen some companies cut fuel bills by over a quarter and others make their enterprises far more efficient simply by being able to send the closest person to the job site.

However as Omnitracs points out, some of the fastest growing telematics firms are doing things differently. They’re using all of these traditional metrics to help save fuel and the rest of it, but they’re also pushing for improved worker safety and faster delivery times of products and services. Ultimately Omnitracs plans to offer what it describes as an “all of the above,” package, which allows businesses to benefit from all facets of telematics, regardless of what package they decide to buy in to.

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Robert Prime launched telematics.com in early 2013 and has over 10 years experience in the financial sector. He specialises in business startups and online marketing with a passion for new technology.