The cloud powered solutions find their application in many industries catering to a diverse range of customers. The flexibility and scalability inherent in any cloud computing service make it nearly a one size fits all solution.
The transportation industry is a very capital intensive. Companies that want to do well need to cover a large geographical area and offer frequent trips back and forth from main destinations. This demands a large fleet of vehicles and meticulous planning.
Procuring and maintaining a large fleet of vehicles is a daunting challenge in itself, as it is a major burden on a transport company’s financial and administrative resources. This leaves little or no resources for the back end operations of transportation.
In the present era of severe competitiveness, operational efficiency is instrumental in achieving break even and maybe profitability. This is where the cloud comes into play.
In this post, we will highlight areas where the cloud can assist the transport industry.
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Real-time Vehicle Tracking
Before proliferation of the cloud, the services of specialized vehicle tracking companies had to be engaged to track and monitor the location of vehicles in real time. In most cases, these companies would mandate the purchase of costly hardware.
Some of this hardware would be installed over the vehicles themselves, while its major chunk was deployed at the premise of transport company. Then, this hardware would also entail recurring maintenance and up gradation costs.
Fast forward to the era of cloud computing and this matter stands resolved in a very easy manner. Cloud Service Providers (CSP) are more than happy to provide real time tracking service for the fleet of vehicles under the Software as a Service (SaaS) model.
What this means for the transport company is zero hardware on premise. So, not only are hardware procurement costs eliminated, but with no hardware to maintain, operational expenses are also curtailed.
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Before the cloud, the very facility of e-ticketing was either not available or offered by a handful of companies. Most of the e-ticketing was limited to the extent of airlines industry. This made the task of buying tickets cumbersome and time consuming.
To offer the online reservation and purchase of tickets, transportation companies would have to install costly servers and other support hardware that was capable of handling the peak passenger loads such as the holidays season.
Here’s the biggest catch of deploying I.T hardware on premise, you always have to plan for the worst case scenario, which in this case is peak demand. The outcome is that a transport company ends up investing in hardware which will never be utilized optimally.
Now, if the same e-ticketing mechanism is sourced from the cloud, scalability of the service is in-built. The implication would be that in times of heightened passenger demand, the CSP would allocate more computing resources to the transport company.
Without procuring any hardware whatsoever, the transport company would handle the times of abnormal demand seamlessly, just by paying the CSP an additional usage fee for the additional resources consumed.
The passengers, who in fact are the company’s customers, would be able to plan and book their transport from the comfort of their homes. This is a win-win situation for the transport company, passengers as well as the CSP.
Logistical Space Planning
Transportation companies tend to add logistical movement in a bid to diversify their portfolio and remain competitive. Planning logistics is way more complicated than passengers, which count as somewhat a standard payload.
When it comes to moving items, a transportation company has to plan the weight, mass and physical placement of each item very intricately. For this, a company would typically need some sort of modeling software.
If this type of solution is deployed on premise, it would again need dedicated hardware, entailing both procurement and maintenance costs. CSPs offer highly intelligent and capable virtual modeling software that can be used by transport companies.
Firstly, this sort of modeling software is delivered from the hardware resources of the CSP, so no hardware needs to be deployed on premise. Secondly, as such solutions are costly; the transport company will pay only for what it uses.
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As part of a pleasurable ride, a transport company needs to provide in ride entertainment. The company can save a lot of effort and money by using a cloud based streaming service such as Netflix. This will enhance passenger experience and increase brand loyalty.
Real Time Updates
The transport industry is susceptible to unforeseen delays such as road closures, diversions or severe traffic jams at busy intersections. Using a cloud based tracking and messaging solution, passengers can be updated in real time about changes in ride schedule.
Although this would not alleviate the wastage of additional time spent in the travel, it would definitely keep the passengers engaged. This service would also help those clients who are planning to visit the transport company to collect or deliver their parcel.
Vehicle Health Monitoring
Most vehicles in the transport industry are highly strained to meet tight schedules. This raises concerns about vehicle health as minimal time is spared for maintenance related activities. However, this can be detrimental to passenger safety and company repute.
To solve this issue, a transport company can install sensors at critical components of their vehicles that constantly feed data to a cloud powered analytical tool. As soon as the value of a sensor breaches the defined threshold, the vehicle can be scheduled for repairs.
Leveraging AI and ML
A transport company can leverage the processing muscle of a CSP to study historical data of passenger travel patterns over time. Using Machine Learning (ML) algorithms, valuable insights can be extracted from historical data.
These insights can be applied to cloud enabled Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions that can use historical data to predict future demand trends. This would enable a transport company to better allocate its resources at the most productive routes.
The cloud based solutions have immense potential to bring operational and financial efficiency in the transport industry. Some facets of cloud based solutions also have the ability to transform the passenger experience altogether.