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Autofleet raises $7.5M to help fleets put idle vehicles into drive

On-demand mobility, when done successfully, strikes a balance between demand and supply while providing reliable service and making a profit. It’s a sweet spot that can be difficult, if not impossible, to find.

Autofleet, a startup that develops fleet optimization software to redirect underused vehicles into ride-hailing and delivery services, wants to solve that mission impossible. Now, the company founded by former Avis and Gett employees, has raised $7.5 million in seed and Series A funding to expand into international markets and grow its research and development team.

The Series A was led by MizMaa Ventures with participation from Maniv Mobility, Next Gear Ventures and Liil Ventures. Its seed financing was led by Maniv Mobility.

Autofleet developed a fleet management platform that can be used by rental car companies, car sharing operators and automakers to launch or better manage mobility services. The platform includes a booking app and integrations to delivery services, demand prediction, pooling and optimization algorithms as well as a driver app, and control center. The company also has developed a simulator tool that lets operators plan how a fleet will be deployed before a single vehicle hits the road.

For example, a rental company with abundant inventory and little demand for traditional multi-day contracts could use the platform to launch and then manage a car-sharing service. Autofleet already has partnerships with Avis Budget Group, Zipcar, Keolis and Suzuki .

That focus on managing supply side constraints is what attracted Maniv Mobility to invest in the seeding and Series A rounds, according the firm’s general partner Olaf Sakkers.

Autofleet’s biggest markets today are in Europe and the U.S., CEO Kobi Eisenberg told TechCrunch . The company is seeing early traction and fast growth in Latin America and Asia-Pacific. Eisenberg said they plan to double down on these markets. The company also expects to announce a partnership in Asia to accelerate growth in that region.

Autofleet is also looking for new opportunities for how vehicle fleets can be used, including ways to help micromobility companies improve their unit economics, according to Eisenberg.

In this age of COVID-19 — when asset-heavy businesses like rental car companies have seen their businesses upended — Autofleet has already discovered new uses for its platform. The platform is being used to help companies shift fleets to meet today’s demand for logistics and medical transportation. Autofleet is also selling its platform to companies looking to leverage their vehicle assets for their delivery services.

“We’re hearing from fleet partners around the globe who are experiencing dramatic drops in demand, and therefore significant portions of their fleet and drivers are un-utilized,” Eisenberg said. “At the same time, we have seen a sharp increase in demand for delivery services from businesses across all verticals: retail and supermarkets, restaurants.”

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Asset Tracking with Google Cloud Platform

Illustration: © IoT For All

Asset tracking is a common use case for IoT solutions. When a company has high-value assets that can be misplaced or stolen, it only makes sense to attach relatively low-value IoT devices to them to track their every move. In this article, we’ll review …

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How to Leverage IoT to Protect Your Workers

Illustration: © IoT For AllWorkers in construction, agriculture and manufacturing are reported to have the highest incident rates, according to the 2018 research of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Medical expenses for work-related injuries are scoring millions of dollars each year. In recent years, businesses have increasingly opted for industrial …

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U.S. Cellular Launches LTE-M Network Optimized for IoT

U.S. Cellular announces that it has launched its LTE-M network on more than 90% of its cell sites nationwide, with plans to have them 100% covered in the second quarter of 2020. The LTE-M network is a reliable, secure and cost-effective way for businesses to connect large amounts of Internet of Things (IoT) devices in both urban and rural areas and hard-to-reach environments.

LTE-M is the global cellular standard designed and optimized for IoT connectivity. U.S. Cellular’s LTE-M network is ideal for IoT solutions such as fleet and asset management, tank monitoring, smart meters and other applications because of its low power wide area technology (LPWAN) that provides extended coverage at a lower cost. Low power or battery-limited LTE-M devices can be less complex, lower cost and built for mass adoption of IoT applications and deployment.

“Our LTE-M network brings our business and government customers capabilities and features that will enable an entirely new set of use cases to help them improve their operations and grow their business,” said Jim Anetsberger, vice president of business sales at U.S. Cellular. “We want to set our IoT customers up for future success with solutions that are designed to meet their specific needs. Working together with our vendors and customers, we can unleash the potential of our LTE-M network.”

U.S. Cellular currently supports several LTE-M modules, including the Telit ME910C1-WW and ME910C1-NA, Quectel BG96 and u-blox SARA-R410M, with additional vendors coming soon. As the company continues to build out and evolve its LTE-M network, new features and capabilities will be added. For more information, visit https://business.uscellular.com/contact/.

About U.S. Cellular

U.S. Cellular is the fifth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States, providing national network coverage and industry-leading innovations designed to elevate the customer experience. The Chicago-based carrier is building a stronger network with the latest 5G technology and offers a wide range of communication services that enhance consumers’ lives, increase the competitiveness of local businesses and improve the efficiency of government operations. To learn more about U.S. Cellular, visit one of its retail stores or www.uscellular.com. To get the latest news, promos and videos, connect with U.S. Cellular on Facebook.com/uscellular, Twitter.com/uscellular and YouTube.com/uscellularcorp.

Source: IoT For All

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12 Industrial IoT Companies You Should Know

As the industrial IoT market continues to expand at rapid rates, companies across the world are reaping the benefits. Utilizing this growing network of tools and systems, businesses have been able to prevent costly downtime, decrease product development costs, enhance customer engagement and satisfaction and acquire and implement intelligent data for strategic planning purposes. 

The potential benefits are seemingly endless, and the list of organizations that are embracing this industrial revolution is continuing to grow, so let’s highlight some of the main IIoT companies you need to know for a number of the most common IIoT use cases.

IIoT Use Cases

Predictive Maintenance

One of the leading use cases for IIoT is predictive maintenance. Imagine being able to predict and prevent machine failures before they occur. Think of all of the costs and downtime that could be avoided with strategic maintenance that’s implemented at key intervals to maintain uninterrupted production. Relying on advanced analytics to identify and eliminate potential issues, IIoT has been a game-changer in the equipment monitoring sector. 

  • Augury – For Augury, machine health is the mission driving their IIoT technology. Monitoring over 70,000 machines, Augury is helping companies identify and uncover blind spots in their maintenance practices and empower businesses with vital information so they can be proactive in diagnosing and repairing equipment before reaching a point of failure. Like other IIoT companies, Augury employs artificial intelligence to run complex algorithms that compare machine signals across a vast network to predict malfunctions and provide actionable alerts when issues are detected.
  • Uptake – Uptake IIoT technology has been implemented in an expansive range of industries including mining, energy, agriculture, construction and beyond. Utilizing data extracted from machine sensors and maintenance reports, Uptake’s machine learning algorithms are able to analyze and interpret complex information to identify anomalies in standard equipment operation and foresee upcoming failures. This predictive data allows companies and operators to prevent costly malfunctions before they occur.
  • C3 IoT – C3 Predictive Maintenance is helping foresee asset failures in equipment across a wide variety of industry sectors including aircraft systems, oil extraction sites, substation machinery and more. With their broad suite of IIoT tools, C3 is able to utilize failure prediction algorithms to assess potential threats in real-time. These advanced diagnostics and projections can then be visualized, allowing for the ability to track machine performance over time and improve strategic planning in the future. 

Asset Tracking and Monitoring

Another area where IIoT is making waves revolves around asset tracking and monitoring. In today’s modern age, information is key and there’s an increasing demand for digital data that allow companies to track and monitor assets in real-time. Here are some of the industry leaders who are leveraging IIoT to provide powerful information to businesses of all sizes. 

  • Roambee – Using a robust system of automated smart sensors and cloud data analytics, Roambee offers companies the ability to track shipments and inventory on the fly, with access to real-time location and condition reports across a global network. This enhanced visibility provides businesses the chance to track and monitor their assets with ease and helps create a truly digital supply chain.
  • Konux – Artificial intelligence and IIoT sensors integrate seamlessly in the KONUX system to make insights more readily available for companies. Primarily employed in the rail industry, KONUX IIoT systems pull critical information from a wide range of source points to help track and monitor assets for optimal utilization. When used to monitor railway switches, the KONUX system is able to track and analyze asset usage 24/7, and this information can then be used to streamline maintenance protocols, implement quality checks and predict product conditions into the future.
  • ShooftechBy essentially creating “smart” assets, Shooftech is capitalizing on IIoT to revolutionize the logistics sector. With their innovative wireless technology, Shooftech is able to transmit data across a vast cloud network to provide low-cost and scalable asset tracking and monitoring to businesses large and small. 

Smart Grid

Relying on a network of smart meters, substations, transmission lines and more, the Smart Grid is essentially the modern evolution of a standard electric grid. It can be used to remotely track and monitor everything from energy usage and traffic congestion to power surges and extreme weather events. It’s being utilized to restore electricity during outages, optimize energy usage, eliminate waste and better implement power generation systems for businesses and homeowners. Many companies have developed innovative tools to leverage the powerful offerings of the Smart Grid. Below are some key players in this space.

  • Landis + GyrLandis+Gyr provides energy management solutions to utility companies across the globe. With an advanced metering infrastructure and industry-leading smart grid technology, Landis+Gyr has helped more than 3,500 businesses reduce energy costs, monitor and streamline their usage, integrate renewable technology and more. 
  • AclaraAclara is helping companies implement smarts meters, sensors and controls and harness the power of the Smart Grid. Partnering with more than 1,000 gas, water and electrical utilities world-wide, Aclara provides software and hardware solutions to create a comprehensive communications network that provides companies with the information needed to streamline their systems and better utilize vital resources. 
  • Itron – “Cut public lighting energy use by 30 percent over 10 years”. This is just one of Itron’s visionary goals for the city of Paris, and it’s using the power of the Smart Grid to turn this vision into a reality. Itron is helping cities and companies optimize their water and energy use, while also positioning them to better recover in the event of a natural disaster. Employed in more than 100 countries, Itron is working to create smart cities that can track, forecast and optimize their utilities in hopes of limiting waste and providing more efficient and effective power solutions. 

Fleet Management

Fleet management in the age of IoT revolves around automated systems and processes to streamline trip planning, minimize downed vehicles, plan and execute maintenance operations and much more. As the integration of smart devices in vehicles become more of an industry standard, and as automated driving becomes more prevalent in cars and trucks, it’s no wonder that we’ve seen a rapid expansion of the IoT fleet management market. Below, we’ve highlighted a few of the big names who’ve played a part in shaping the modern fleet management landscape.

  • Fleetmatics – Owned by Verizon, Fleetmatic offers a host of smart tools to monitor and manage fleet vehicles. They provide advanced GPS tracking software that works with smart hardware to visualize vehicle locations and communicate delays in real-time. This information can then be used to optimize routes, limit fuel costs and analyze fleet performance over time.
  • Omnitracs – Omnitracs provides a comprehensive platform of fleet tracking tools that help companies manage trips, maximize cargo capacity, customize forms and travel plans and more. These tools can be leveraged to enhance fleet safety, improve efficiency, monitor drivers and assets and ensure continued compliance with regulatory standards.
  • Samsara – Samsara has a number of fleet management solutions ranging from cellular gateways and dashcams to wireless sensors and a robust mobile app. With an emphasis on safety, efficiency and quality, Samsara tools not only help track and monitor drivers and vehicles in real-time, but they can be used to reduce operating costs and expand fleet size by forecasting optimal vehicle usage.

Written by Bryan Rosenberger, Director of Operations, R and R manufacturing
Source: IoT For All