Q&A: Brodie von Berg, MiX Telematics
Telematics market in the Middle East is growing exponentially, says Berg
What are your responsibilities at MiX Telematics?
I am the head of sales and marketing at MiX Telematics for Middle East and Asia. I am responsible for spearheading our sales and marketing in the region, in order to generate demand for our services as well as working on our brand positioning across different industries and markets.
What products and services do you offer?
One of our key products is MiX Fleet Manager, an end-to-end fleet management solution designed to give fleet operators the tools they need to sustain a high-performing operation – one that’s operating at optimum levels of efficiency and safety.
This product comprises an on-board computer, an online tracking and information portal as well as access to valuable fleet and driver reports and analytics.In addition, 24/7/365 customer support is provided throughout the partnership MiX Telematics has with its customers.MiX Fleet Manager includes a series of mobile applications that allow fleet managers to remain connected to their fleet at all times.
Complementing MiX Fleet Manager, another key product we offer is geared towards reducing accidents and improving safety. MiXSafeDrive is an integrated safety solution that trains drivers in defensive driving techniques andprovides In-Vehicle Monitoring Systems (IVMS) that allow for the monitoring of driver performance. It also allows safety officers to establish, review and audit systems, processes and strategies related to Land Transport Safety.MiXSafeDrive guarantees results in reducing accidents, injuries and fatalities, lowering risk, liability and cost.
What does ‘telematics’ mean?
Telematics is the blending of computers and wireless telecommunications technologies, with the goal of efficiently conveying information over vast networks to improve a host of business functions. The most notable example of telematics may be the Internet itself, since it depends on a number of computer networks connected globally through telecommunication backbones.
The term has evolved to refer to automobile systems that combine global positioning satellite (GPS) tracking and other wireless communications for automatic roadside assistance and remote diagnostics.
Do you see the telematics market grow in this region?
Though the telematics market in the Middle East is still in its infancy, it is growing exponentially. According to Booz and Company, the global connected vehicle market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 29% from 2015 to 2020. The demand and future key events such as the FIFA World Cup in Qatar and Expo 2020 in Dubai, has driven the increased competition and availability of products and services in the market. Therefore, it is imperative for businesses to understand which solutions would be useful and work with established players in the market who offer comprehensive support and training in order to realise value from implementing telematics products and services.
What are the benefits of telematics products and services for the oil and gas industry?
Providing a safe working environment for drivers and other road users as well as improving fleet efficiencies are two paramount needs for oil and gas service companies. Oil and Gas companies follow strict safety procedures and have rigid compliance requirements, so technology that supports these aims is essential. In addition, companies need to manage oil price fluctuations, replenishment cycles, and exploration and delivery schedules. All this has to be done while drivers are working which is often in the most demanding, hostile, and harsh working environments. An effective fleet management solution offers many benefits to oil and gas companies such as sustained reductions in accidents as well as related incidents of injury and fatality. As well as improving driver behaviour, vehicles are better maintained also helping to ensure safety and compliance. Better drivers are also more economical drivers – many of our customers save hugely on fuel consumption as a result. On average, fuel costs are reduced by 10%, often equating to millions of dollars saved. For companies with large, multi-location oil and gas operations, a fleet management solution allows them see their entire fleet’s operation, allowing them to compare and boost performance, identify and resolve operational issues, and standardise processes.
MiX Telematics has partnered with customers in the oil and gas industry for over a decade. During this time, we have become experts in developing products and services that enable operators to comply with QHSE regulations specific to their business and region. One of our key Oil and Gas customers in the region achieved a 72% sustained improvement in driver behaviour only six weeks after installing a MiX Telematics fleet management solution. The same customer achieved a 15% reduction in fuel costs within 12 months.
Oil and gas companies are showing growing interest in telematics. What do you ascribe this to?
The biggest challenge within the oil and gas industry, compared to the FMCG industry for example, is that their workers or drivers mostly operate remotely. Often, a road network doesn’t actually exist, and you’re looking at how to efficiently route someone from point A to point B – or you’re working out whether anyone else is nearby if a driver needs help. They don’t have the same support options as do drivers of urban delivery operations.
Fleet managers for these large remote operations need to be able to interconnect telematics systems with their existing mapping and communications networks. They’re usually looking for applications that can assist in driver improvement, added efficiency and safety. Fleet management and driver safety services that we offer fill those gaps for improved management of big fleets and a wide ranging operating areas.
Are you looking to expand in this region? If so, what are some of the challenges you are anticipating?
MiX Telematics continues to grow. Our intention is to utilise our knowledge, skills and technology to benefit as many customers as possible, without compromising on quality and ensuring a sustainable business.
The challenges of civil unrest, unique regulations and sometimes poor connectivity are just that – challenges. I am proud to say that our experience has enabled us to work through the challenges alongside our customers, and deliver seamless services irrespective of the location of our customers. To offer consistent cross-border services, we utilise an extensive network of partners – some of whom have been part of our network for over 10 years.