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GPS / Telematics

11 Innovators in Telematics

June 2017, Automotive Fleet - Feature

by Lauren Fletcher - Also by this author

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The telematics industry is an integral part of today’s fleet landscape and there are a number of innovative people helping advance and improve the business. A full list of telematics provider stats and websites are at the end of this article. 

Andrew Bickers, national director of sales, Actsoft

Experience: 8 years at Actsoft; 12 total years in fleet telematics

Bickers
Bickers

For the past eight years, Andrew Bickers has juggled managing major carrier relations within all of his territories while orchestrating extremely complex but effective mobile worker solutions for every one of his clients. An innovator introduces new methods and ideas; Bickers has mastered this while incorporating longstanding principles of credibility and consistency. Pair that with his razor sharp business acumen and Bickers is a shining standard when it comes to motivation, always leading by example, and pulling the very best out of each member. Actsoft is a telematics solutions provider for Sprint.

What do you do for fun: Play makeup and princess with my two daughters. I also enjoy spending time outdoors with my wife and children.

Favorite Quote: “Everybody ends up somewhere in life. A few people end up somewhere on purpose. Those are the ones with vision.” – Andy Stanley

Ananth Rani, CEO and co-founder, Azuga

Experience: Co-founded the company in 2012; 15 total years in fleet telematics

Rani
Rani

Realizing the need (and opportunity) for a disruptive, simplified solution to help drivers make safe and efficient decisions, Ananth Rani gathered a team of seasoned automotive electronic experts with more than 30 years of experience to incorporate Azuga in 2012. As CEO and co-founder of Azuga, Rani created the vision to disrupt the GPS tracking industry with a rewards-driven, cloud-based vehicle platform that meets the demands of fleets, commercial insurance companies, road usage charging (RUC) programs, and direct-to-consumer telematics.

Rani made the decision to invest early in data sciences, giving Azuga capabilities to help its enterprise, government, and insurance clients and partners get new insights from the vast data sets Azuga’s solutions generate.

Rani was previously the cofounder of Xora (acquired by Click Software).

What do you do for fun? Play cricket and decipher the physics of cricket ball swing bowling.

Favorite Quote: “All science is either physics or stamp collecting.” – Ernest Rutherford

Peter Hergesheimer, senior director of systems architecture, CalAmp

Experience: 11 years at CalAmp; 20 total years in fleet telematics

Hergesheimer
Hergesheimer

With more than 20 years in fleet telematics, several patents to his name, and as one of the key system architects for CalAmp’s smart vehicle technology, Pete Hergesheimer is a pioneer in the creation of cutting-edge fleet telematics technology that is blazing the trail for the connected vehicle of the future.
Smart vehicle technologies Hergesheimer helped to develop includes PEG, CalAmp’s programmable event generator which is deployed on more than 7 million devices in the field today. This and other core technologies he has helped develop are powering the modern-day connected car revolution. With innovators like Hergesheimer, telematics has expanded way beyond a simple data transmission tool to the opportunity to provide a framework for situational awareness and intelligence at the edge.

What do you do for fun? I’m passionate about my photography and I also enjoy playing jazz saxophone, flute, and penny whistle.

Favorite Quote: “Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work.” – Mark Twain

Tony Summerville, founder and CEO, Fleetio

Experience: Founded Fleetio in 2012, more than seven total years in fleet telematics

Summerville
Summerville

Tony Summerville has committed himself to helping fleets around the world track, analyze, and improve fleet operations and safety. In addition to growing Fleetio’s core fleet management software Fleetio Manage, he led the charge to build and introduce Fleetio Drive into the market. As distracted driving becomes a prevalent concern among fleet managers, Summerville positioned Fleetio Drive to be an easy solution to track location and improve fleet safety using the smartphone already in drivers’ pockets.

What do you do for fun? I stay active in Birmingham’s emerging technology community, coordinate local networking meetups and share experiences with other entrepreneurs. I’m a proud husband and father to two little boys — Smith and Max.

Favorite Quote: “Success is found in the running of the race. How you run the race — your planning, preparation, practice, and performance — counts for everything.” – John Wooden

Mike Branch, vice president of business intelligence, Geotab

Experience: 1.5 years at Geotab; four total years in fleet telematics

Branch
Branch

Mike Branch sets the vision for how more than 1.5 billion telematics records processed by Geotab daily are transformed into useful reporting and analytics tools that help customers better understand their businesses.
Prior to Geotab, Branch was the founder and CEO of Inovex Inc., a software development firm which specialized in designing information systems for the healthcare and energy sectors. In 2013, he launched Maps BI, a cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) combining interactive mapping, business intelligence, and collaboration. Maps BI was integrated into Geotab’s telematics platform as a Geotab Marketplace partner and then acquired by the company in 2016. Recently, Branch published a white paper, “Performance Benchmarking with Big Data,” a case study on fleet benchmarking with telematics.

What do you do for fun? Remain actively engaged in the community, serving on the board of Hillfield Strathallan College, and actively supporting local theatre on stage as an actor and producer for The Oakville Players.

Favorite Quote: “There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” – Roger Staubach

Rob Donat, founder and CEO, GPS Insight

Experience: Founded the company in 2005, 12 total years in fleet telematics

Donat
Donat

In 2004, when Rob Donat was a technology consultant, he was approached by a local trucking company for assistance in finding a GPS tracking software to meet all of its needs. He realized no provider would make the customizations required to meet his client’s needs and saw this gap in the market as an opportunity, creating GPS Insight. By leveraging techniques and technologies developed in prior projects for dot-coms and hedge funds, Donat was able to create a powerful platform for delivering tailored business intelligence and insight to fleets based on data collected through GPS tracking devices and other sources of business data (ERP systems, fuel card purchases, engine diagnostics, etc.). Having zero background in fleet proved beneficial as Donat and his team spent significant time listening to customers to determine their requirements and regularly build those ideas into the solutions.

What do you for fun? Fly airplanes, travel, wakeboard, scuba dive, and go to sporting events.

Favorite quote? “Get in over your head.”

Ted Lee, director of product management, Magellan

Experience: Nine years at Magellan, four total years in fleet telematics

Lee
Lee

Under Ted Lee’s leadership, Magellan has developed several fleet products providing value-added services to Magellan’s transportation partners. Following its recent announcement of a joint partnership with Samsung, Magellan now offers its fleet navigation and a complete ELD-in-a-box solution on a variety of Samsung devices and will continue to support future Samsung hardware. Lee has led the core product development for the Samsung launch.

While expanding its customer base with Magellan’s flexible product platforms and improving existing product features, Magellan continues to innovate its next generation of products in the areas of value-added premium content and big data analysis for the fleet telematics industry, with Lee continuing to take a leadership role in pioneering new fleet telematics products.

What do you do for fun? Spend time with kids, read books and articles about technology, and watch science fiction movies — favorites include Matrix, Star Wars, and Star Trek.

Favorite Quote: “Champions keep playing until they get it right.” – Billie Jean King

David Spradlin, strategic account manager, MiX Telematics

Experience: More than 10 years at MiX Telematics/total experience in fleet telematics

Spradlin
Spradlin

David Spradlin works closely with MiX’s North American customers to help implement fleet-wide telematics solutions to improve safety, efficiency, and compliance. Several years ago as he worked with new clients, Spradlin observed that many had never been coached through the implementation process by previous vendors — for instance, helping with change management and aligning telematics to specific business objectives to optimize use.
Spradlin came up with a concept that MiX calls Service for Life, which means rather than sell software and then leave, MiX stays by the customer’s side not only for implementation of the solution, but on an ongoing basis to make sure each customer gets the best return on their telematics investment.

What do you do for fun? Be outdoors and spend time with family (three kids, boys — 9, 6 and almost 2).

Favorite Quote: “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

Dean Croke, vice president of data products, Spireon

Experience: 1 year at Spireon; more than 20 years in fleet telematics

Croke
Croke

Dean Croke is an expert at transforming the billions of data points that are collected every day through fleet telematics solutions into actionable business intelligence including predictive models and analytics — helping companies make smarter, safer, more proactive, and profitable decisions. He’s worked extensively within the transportation and logistics space to help fleets understand key trends and risks such as which drivers are most likely to be involved in a severe accident or which are considering leaving the company.
In his role at Spireon, Croke serves as the VP of Data Products, where he spearheads “industry first” initiatives regarding the application of data to make fleets safer, more efficient, and more profitable.

What do you do for fun? Volunteer with the Make-a-Wish Foundation, taking sick children for joyrides in The Grumpy Pete, my own custom Big Rig (a 2003 379EXHD Peterbilt).

Favorite Quote: Regarding the ELD mandate, “You can be sound asleep at the wheel and 100% ELD compliant at the same time.”

Nathan Todd, director of engineering and product management, Teletrac Navman

Experience: Nine years at Teletrac Navman; 17 total years in fleet telematics

Todd
Todd

Since joining the company in 2008, Nathan Todd has been instrumental in translating customer needs into the product roadmap, driving customer adoption and advocacy, and identifying emerging markets to grow revenue.

Todd began his journey with the company in 2008 as Navman Wireless USA’s engineering product manager. When Teletrac and Navman merged in 2015 to create Teletrac Navman, Todd served as director of product management of the new company, helping the two brands transition into one. He was an integral part in the creation and launch of fleet management solution Teletrac Navman DIRECTOR in 2016, and has since led the platform’s charge into ELD-compliant territory ahead of the December 2017 mandate.

What do you do for fun? Skateboard in the summer and snowboard in the winter.

Favorite Quote: “Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.” – Steve Jobs

Ralph Mason, co-founder and chief technology officer, Telogis

Experience: 16 years at Telogis

Mason
Mason

Ralph Mason has led the Telogis Research & Development (R&D) organization since the company’s founding, and is responsible for keeping a global team of world-class developers, coders, and software engineers motivated, dedicated, and dreaming up the next big thing to help Telogis better serve its customers.

Mason also drives the Telogis innovation pipeline, working closely with the product teams to bring new solutions and applications that enable Telogis’ customers to connect and optimize their vehicles, teams, and the work they’re doing. He spends a great deal of time listening to customers to be able to better predict how their needs will change over time, and putting solutions and applications into development that will future-proof their businesses.

What do you do for fun? Any kind of board: wake, snow, surf. And motorcycles. Did I mention fast cars?

Favorite Quote: “Anni, amori e bicchieri di vino, nun se contano mai.” (“Years, lovers and glasses of wine; these things must not be counted.”)

Telematics Solution Provider Company Stats

Company NameYear Company FoundedAverage Customer Fleet SizeCurrent # of Fleets Using SolutionCurrent # of Drivers Using SolutionWebsite
Azuga2012Under 2502,500+75,000+www.azuga.com
CalAmp1981All sizesN/A7 million+www.calamp.com
Fleetio2012All sizes1,20010,000www.fleetio.com
Geotab2000Under 25015,000720,000www.geotab.com
GPS Insight2005Under 250, but can serve all sizes4,000+300,000+www.gpsinsight.com
Magellan1986All sizesN/AN/Awww.magellangps.com
MiX Telematics1996 (Under MiX Brand since 2008)500+ and "mega" fleets.N/AN/Awww.mixtelematics.com
Spireon2002All sizes20,000N/Awww.fleetlocate.com
Teletrac NavmanTeletrac was founded in 1988, and Navman was founded in 1986. The two merged to create Teletrac Navman in 2015.All sizes42,000500,000+www.teletracnavman.com
Telogis2001All sizesN/AN/Awww.telogis.com

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