20. May 2019
Smart Services in times of E-Mobility
Geotab is a worldwide leading company in telematics, specialising in open platform flee management solutions. The company-owned telematics software is a “complete solution”, offering companies support regarding the organisation of drivers and vehicles based on real-time and historic data. It is always important for Geotab to focus on innovations and the development of existing technologies.
Klaus Böckers, Director Central & Eastern Europe of Geotab, joined us for an interview. He explained how Geotab addresses the topic of E-Mobility and why, in November 2018, it was decided to cooperate with the Center Smart Services at RWTH Aachen Campus from now on.
What is the intention behind your decision to become a member on RWTH Aachen Campus?
Geotab is a company that is influenced through and through by technology. In its Canadian home country, Geotab has always worked closely with universities. As a result, RWTH Aachen Campus is an ideal new partner for us, with its tight connection to industry, science and research. The opportunity to address currently trending topics in projects, studies and benchmarkings together with the Center Smart Services was very appealing to us.
What motivated you to enrol as a member of the Center Smart Services?
We are convinced that successful innovations can only be the result of combined competencies and creative powers. A specific problem or challenge can be solved better and faster if different stakeholders come together than if they tried to do it on their own. We found a suitable partner for this credo in the Center Smart Services. The fact that we share our interest in many similar topics makes our cooperation even more exciting! Just like them, we also want to address topics such as Smart Mobility and Smart City, are interested in new digital business models and share the focus on all things regarding E-mobility. On top of this, the center has a large network, which we can profit from as an enrolled member. The very open and transparent work ethic allows us to work closely together and learn a lot from each other, too.
Which medium and long-term advantages do you see in your cooperation with the Center Smart Services and what are your goals?
As an enrolled member of the center, our main focus is to cooperate strongly in projects, due to the combined knowledge and competence we both have to offer. Together with the center, we aim to dedicate ourselves to developing innovative digital business models for the automobile sector, make better use of existing data and explore new areas of business opportunities with new sensors. We believe in the opportunity to increase traffic safety, inspect the condition of roads with vehicle sensors or to measure environmental influences, which can be measured with sensors applied directly to a vehicle or a street. The center and Geotab dedicate their cooperation to topics that are highly debated in current public discourse. As an example, our first joint project “AirQuality” picks up on the currently highly discussed necessity of improving the overall air quality in city centres. The just mentioned vehicle sensors are already being used in this project.
In the long-term, we are looking forward to make new contacts within the center community and want to profit from the chance to see things differently with the center`s help. We are looking forward to see things from a different perspective and think out of the box when it comes to challenges ahead of us. We also want to look out for young talents and plan to offer internships or diplomas.
Geotab has been an enrolled member for a few months now. Were there any highlights already?
Yes, definitely the kick-off of our “AirQuality” project. In order to achieve success in the long-term improvement of air quality in city centres, for example with help of controlled traffic routing, a data basis has to be established to create an overview of the actual situation in the country. That is exactly what we are working on together with the Center Smart Services – since November 2018. We are working on a mobile, cheap solution to examine the air surrounding cities and identify its levels of pollutants such as particulate matter and NO2 – in real-time!
Another highlight is our cooperation with Greengate, another enrolled member of the Center Smart Services. Together, we brought the product “Flottenwerk” to market just recently. “Flottenwerk” is a tool that shows just what can be achieved when challenges are looked at from multiple different point of views and solution approaches are combined. As a result, we can make connected tour planning of electric vehicles possible. In the framework of this project, we combine a modern telematics system with resource planning software to offer support for today`s fleet owners – such as cities and municipal utilities or medium sized handicraft enterprises. The aim is to make it easier for them to swap vehicles in their existing fleets for electric vehicles and, in the long-term, promote the success of E-Mobility.
What would your advice be for companies similar to yours, who are still hesitating to enrol?
Go for it, it will be worthwhile. Of course, they have to be aware that this kind of cooperation is not just a one-way delivery of ready-to-use ideas. Instead, one has to be willing to be active, to get involved and cooperate with the community by investing both creativity and time. If they agree with this, the cooperation is so much more than just worth it!
Do you cooperate in a similar way with other universities?
In general, yes, because Geotab has always cooperated closely with university parties. However, the cooperation with them is different – it is often less close and transparent. The concept of the Center Smart Services on RWTH Aachen Campus is truly special! We are very much looking forward to all our upcoming exciting cooperations.