The increasing number of truck hijackings in South Africa has resulted in its telematics market maturing at a rapid pace.
Telematics technologies ensure full visibility of fleet vehicles at any time to allow for the early detection of potential theft and are, therefore, one of the biggest advances in combating crime, comments global fleet and mobile asset management solutions provider MiX Telematics.
MiX Telematics (Africa) product and marketing director Grant Fraser says South Africa’s crime statistics indicate that reported truck hijackings increased by 5.1% from 2012/13 (943 cases) to 2013/14 (989 incidents). However, in the past year, 1 279 cases were reported, an increase of 29%.
Thus, Fraser suggests a direct correlation between the country’s economic downturn and crime levels. With road transport the most popular form of transporting goods in South Africa, high-value products are, therefore, guaranteed to be on the roads and are subsequently targeted, he adds, citing the Road Freight Association’s 2014 report, which states that truck hijackings cost companies and insurers more than R1-billion a year.
Fraser believes that the increase in telematics demand is evident when reviewing MiX Telematics’ subscriber numbers, which increased by 13% year-on-year, increasing to more than 523 000 subscribers at the end of June this year.
Researchers at consulting firm Frost & Sullivan estimate that South Africa’s commercial vehicle telematics will grow at a compound yearly rate of 12.5% from 2014 to 2021, with the telematics market penetration expected to reach about 17% by 2018, he notes.
“The primary drivers for this increase in demand include the growing concern for driver and vehicle safety, the need for efficient, reliable fleets, as well as fuel efficiency and vehicle maintenance,” he highlights.
Therefore, technology plays a key role in reducing risk and driving new developments in telematics solutions, offering live information streams and a real-time view of assets. “Integrated fleet management solutions equip fleet operators to actively manage their mobile assets and driver behaviour, resulting in a guaranteed increase in profitability, enhanced safety and reduced risk,” Fraser asserts.
MiX Telematics’ offering includes the Eyes-on-Screen solution, where routes are plotted and trucks are scheduled to those routes. Any deviations trigger immediate action in a centralised control room. Another solution is MiX Vision, a highly configurable video recording system that can interface with MiX Fleet Manager, a software solution to effectively manage any size fleet.
MiX Vision, which includes a tamper-resistant camera unit, simultaneously captures video footage of the driver and his/her view of the road. When an event occurs, the system triggers the automatic upload of a video recording, assisting with the investigation of accidents, theft and hijacking.
Further, the company’s Fleet Management solution consists of in-vehicle hardware and on-demand software services, as well as accessories and applications that enhance the overall performance of MiX Telematics’ solutions.
Fraser stresses that key benefits of the company’s fleet solutions, regardless of the size of the fleet or industry, include increased efficiency through improved fuel consumption, driver behaviour and safety, and fleet utilisation, as well as reduced maintenance costs and accident rates. Users can save between 7% and 15% on fuel costs while accident rates can decline by up to 70%.
The solutions further enhance security, with real-time and historical tracking, stolen vehicle recovery and trailer tracking.
“With hijackers becoming smarter . . . MiX Telematics will continue to develop solutions that assist the logistics industry in ensuring vehicle and driver safety, as well as reducing risk,” Fraser concludes.