AEMP Advances Industry Telematics Standard

Members of the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) and representatives from across a wide spectrum of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are putting their heads together to develop key fleet management information and an automation plan to standardize how it is migrated into maintenance management or enterprise software.

The aim of the AEMP Technology Committee is to allow fleet managers an easier, more efficient way to access basic fleet information from multiple OEMs and to integrate their telematics systems’ data into their business management software.

After two Technology Summits, representatives from the AEMP and OEMs have agreed upon solutions for several issues of standardized data and data delivery.

“Working out these kinds of details takes a true equipment triangle approach: manufacturer, dealer, contractor,” said Stan Orr, CAE, AEMP’s executive director. “We are pleased to report that all of the participants attending our second summit in February expressed a willingness to make progress on these issues as quickly as possible. Considering today’s business environment, we’re seeing a tremendous commitment on the part of the OEMs and telematics suppliers.”

“End users had expressed some frustration with the lack of standardization and integration of telematics information," said AEMP President Dick Brannigan, CEM. Brannigan also pointed out that although that concept is relatively simple, every OEM and/or telematic provider has a unique collection of data points, different definitions, different polling methods, and time/date stamps.

“The steps involved in completing this initiative are complex,” Brannigan said. “First, the process of developing standards is not at all simple. Then you realize that every advance or tentative agreement reached requires further internal study by each OEM to determine the feasibility of the proposed solution, the resources required, and the time needed to implement. The industry must remind itself that every OEM’s robust telematics solution is unique. It’s going to take time and patience.”

The idea for the committee came up at a fall 2007 AEMP Asset Management Symposium. By August, 2008, representatives from AEM, Caterpillar, John Deere, Komatsu, Manitowoc, Qualcomm and Volvo attended an initial AEMP Technology Summit, working with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). Committee members and OEM representatives identified a few key data points such as machine location, machine identification, time stamp, date stamp, fuel usage, and hours and subsequently agreed to provide this non-proprietary data in a standardized file format. A second Technology Summit was held Feb. 24–25, 2009. The meeting was attended by 12 manufacturers, six telematics suppliers, and six end users.

At the second summit, the committee considered the feasibility of adding accumulated idle hours to the list. In a revealing look at the complexities facing the industry on the telematics issue, the discussion revealed that customers, OEMs, and regulatory bodies all define “idle” differently. Attendees agreed that one way in which AEMP could deploy this metric at a future date would be to create a common, industry acceptable definition. Ideally, end users could then establish performance metrics to help them reduce the percentage of idle time, thereby increasing efficiency while reducing emissions.

The summit yielded a tentative agreement on the computer interface: data will be delivered in a standard XML format. The initial delivery method will be HTTP, although the Telematics Standards Subcommittee hopes to add support for other delivery methods in order to improve interoperability with a variety of legacy software systems.

AEMP, Glenwood Springs, Colo., is a membership organization comprised primarily of professional fleet asset managers. Its members are responsible for every aspect of fleet asset management for leading corporations and government entities that utilize heavy, off-road equipment.