Verizon Telematics Platform Tracks Emergency, Utility Vehicles

Verizon's Networkfleet incorporates telematics and GPS capabilities to enable better management of ambulances and utility trucks.

Verizon has launched a fleet-management platform to provide ambulances and utility vehicles with telematics and to allow organizations to better keep track of their locations using GPS.

The new platform incorporates telematics technology from Hughes Telematics, which Verizon acquired in June 2012. Networkfleet incorporates its 5200 and 5500 in-vehicle tracking devices, which enable GPS tracking and engine diagnostic monitoring.

In addition, Networkfleet's Web-based user interface allows users to store, view and analyze vehicle data. The Web-based software provides real-time alerts on a fleet's operations and incorporates GPS fleet maps, dashboards and reports, Brian Zmikly, director for mobility and machine-to-machine (M2M) health care at Verizon Enterprise Solutions, told eWEEK in an email. Reports provide data on a vehicle's idle time, history and fuel usage.

Daily, weekly or monthly alerts can be sent through email or SMS messages and let workers know about speed thresholds and odd-hours breaches, said Zmikly.

Networkfleet uses Verizon's secure wireless network to transmit GPS data to the Networkfleet data center.

Announced on March 15, Networkfleet will initially power 18,000 of Verizon's customer-service vehicles to enhance monitoring, management and route optimization.

"As one of the largest commercial fleet operators in the United States, Verizon recognizes the challenges and opportunities associated with managing fleets, and we continue to shape our offerings to help customers turn rolling assets into a competitive business advantage," said David Small, senior vice president and chief platform officer for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, in a statement.

The telematics technology from Hughes enables M2M technology in industries such as health care.

Verizon plans to use its telematics technology to expand M2M capabilities in mobile health. With M2M, emergency responders can transmit data from ambulances to a health system's central cloud-based network.

"There's a need for ambulance companies to track where their ambulances are and what they are doing while on the road," said Zmikly. "Having this knowledge, combined with the ability to automatically track the speed of an ambulance, know its odometer readings and know how safe their drivers are operating when responding to an accident or transporting someone to a hospital, ambulance companies can better manage and more intelligently dispatch their fleets."

With Networkfleet, ambulances will be able to increase efficiency, and laboratories can more effectively manage deliveries, according to Verizon.

Larger laboratory companies run fleets of about 2,000 company cars that transport high-value lab specimens from health care facilities to labs, Zmikly noted. "Understanding where laboratory vehicles are in proximity to pickup locations, or knowing which routes are most efficient in terms of gas/mileage can lead to smarter dispatching of company vehicles," Zmikly said.

Networkfleet could also aid home health care as clinicians travel to and from patients' homes, Verizon reported.

Providers could better match specialists with patient needs by knowing the geo-location of clinicians, Zmikly said. "Also, by potentially reducing the commute time for patient visits, the clinician can dedicate additional time where it counts—the patient," he said.

Fleet managers can track speed, fuel consumption and vehicle diagnostics, such as trouble codes, ignition status, fuel efficiency, speed and idle time of ambulances as well as vehicles used by public utilities, food delivery services, construction equipment and news crews.

Meanwhile, state and federal agencies can manage transportation and highway maintenance fleets by tracking vehicle location and fuel use as well as their overall efficiency, Verizon reported.

In the insurance field, companies can use Networkfleet to more efficiently manage their vehicles used for claims, field adjustment and investigating disasters, according to Verizon.