In part one of this exclusive interview with Telogis' Sergio Barata we learnt both about his personal background and the background of the company. In this second part of this three part series we discuss the growth of Telogis and the technology that makes Sergio tick.
FSN: With the launch of progression a few years ago Telogis stepped much more firmly into the field service software arena rather than solely fleet management. We have seen similar moves from other companies with a fleet technology background such as Trimble and TomTom, are the lines blurring between mobile workforce management and fleet management technologies?
SB:There is no doubt that telematics on its own is a pretty competitive space with a low barrier to entry. I think Trimble, TomTom, Telogis, companies like this, have taken that next step of investment in terms of R&D in trying to develop a more holistic approach. I do think that the companies that win will be those that offer true value to any organisation.
FSN: Since 2009 Telogis has been on the acquisitions trail with the purchase of Darby, Remote Dynamics, Integris, Onboard Advisor, Maptuit and Navtrak across just three years. How have the acquisitions of these companies shaped Telogis’ own development both as a company and also in terms of your product lines?
SB: We have been fairly aggressive in our acquisitions, having secured companies for either market share or for more depth in a particular segment of the market place. For instance we acquired Maptuit as a very dynamic navigation technology that we have integrated into the rest of our offering. We are always monitoring the UK market to see what makes sense.
FSN: One of these acquisitions, Onboard Advisor was a risk reduction product and you subsequently partnered with Travelers Insurance on their IntelliDrive fleet safety program. How important is technology in improving driver safety?
SB: The telematics driver-profiling element is essentially a tool for our largest customers, the enterprise fleets, to help bring in behavioural change that will increase opportunities to save on fuel and insurance costs.
We look for technology that allows us to engage the drivers directly in an innovative way to help manage and improve their driving behaviour; the idling, how they drive - sudden braking, acceleration, their speed. We then needed tools and dashboards to take that underlying data and the driver profiles to help large organisations change business practices to make improvements.
Certainly Onboard Advisor and the tie up with insurance telematics has been very important for us and our largest accounts, which have global fleets that deal with these issues and can now take advantage of this approach.
FSN: What was the first piece of technology that made a huge impression on you both personally and in a work environment?
SB: I think the biggest impression on me personally as well as the workplace, has been my iPhone.
Working in a technology led industry I got into smart phones and the Internet early. I’ve always been an early adopter but I don’t think anything has changed the way I think as when first picked up my iPhone. I had Nokia N70s, Blackberrys and so on, but nothing has been as complete, as easy to use and as seamless as the iPhone.