“Connected Transportation” is a term you may not have heard much, but you will. That is what Sprint CEO Dan Hesse has identified as a company goal in the M2M arena.
Hesse unveiled the term in a keynote address to the Detroit Economic Club in the Motor City early this month, in which he talked about how M2M, powered by 3G and 4G networks, is transforming transportation and logistics and delivering safety, environmental, efficiency, and operational benefits.
“Our vision goes beyond connecting millions of cars,” Hesse said. “We want to provide Connected Transportation to trucks, buses, subways, taxis, planes, police cars, and ambulances.”
The idea, Hesse said, is to link these vehicles through voice, data, and images, turning them into “multi-dimensional communications centers” and improving driver performance, reducing accidents, enhancing fleet management, and helping the environment.
The idea is to engender better management of logistics to optimize, schedule, monitor, and track deliveries, personnel and vehicles. As a result, drivers will waste less fuel and time looking for delivery destinations, gas stations and other locations, decreasing costs and improving efficiency.
Hesse introduced in his keynote the Sprint M2M Connected Transportation initiative, in which the company is working with partners on M2M and data transport solutions that accomplish the above objectives. He pointed to several significant partnerships:
• Aeris Communications will leverage the Sprint national network for cellular connectivity to Hyundai’s connected vehicle program, Blue Link. The program is designed to seamlessly incorporate safety and security, entertainment, productivity, and convenience features, such as automated crash notification, SOS assistance, and stolen vehicle recovery.
• PACCAR, the parent of the Peterbilt and Kenworth truck companies, is working with Sprint on a new integrated mobile computing, telematics, navigation and business system. It is designed to provide diagnostics and logistics, back-office features, GPS/location-based services, and more for truck operators, who will benefit from enhanced communications with dispatchers, logistics providers, and shippers.
• ECOtality will leverage the Sprint data network for wireless connectivity to more than 15,000 residential and commercial electric vehicle charging stations in the ECOtality nationwide network. The network will carry electronic payment processing data as well as digital content for advertising and customer information.
• Feeney Wireless is leveraging Sprint 3G and 4G networks to benefit police and ambulance personnel by improving access and GPS/location-based connections to dispatches, databases, and other sources to enhance public safety, communications, and reporting capabilities. Police, for example, can easily access fingerprint and photo file information, reports and records, and other data from the field in time-critical situations.
These are just some of the many M2M-type applications that are hitting the market or are in development by Sprint partners. They are evidence of the growing impact of the Sprint M2M Collaboration Center. This working laboratory in Burlingame, California, which opened in the fall of 2010, is a truly open environment dedicated to advancing M2M technology and applications. There, Sprint and its numerous partners work to leverage the huge M2M potential. In many ways, this is only the beginning.