‘Coopetition’ Continues in Truck Tech Sector
This story appears in the November 14 print edition of iTECH, a supplement to Transport Topics.
The trucking industry’s technology sector has long been characterized by a galaxy of partnerships and integrations connecting various vendors’ systems. Through these integrations, fleets have been able to assemble the technology components of their choice to build an enterprise system tailored to their operations.
Vendor partnerships have tied together different types of complementary systems, including transportation-management software, telematics and mobile communications platforms, routing and navigation, and business-process automation.
However, consolidation in the technology arena in recent years has raised questions about whether this approach will continue.
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The most prominent example is Trimble Navigation Ltd., which acquired PeopleNet in 2011 and then purchased TMW Systems and ALK Technologies in 2012, bringing three of the trucking industry’s largest technology suppliers under common ownership.
That has created a situation where these Trimble companies offer integrations with outside firms that compete directly with a sister company. TMW, for example, integrates its TMS software with telematics technology from Omnitracs, a PeopleNet competitor. At the same time, PeopleNet integrates with McLeod Software, a rival to TMW.
Nevertheless, executives at these Trimble companies have shared a consistent message over the past four years: Integrations with outside partners will continue, because joint customers demand it.
But that doesn’t mean Trimble is ignoring the obvious opportunities to more closely unite the capabilities of its own properties.
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|By Seth Clevenger|
© 2016, Transport Topics, American Trucking Associations Inc.
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