When most people talk about the Cloud, they talk about the concept of having computing resources located all over the world. These resources are rented, and require no upfront capital investment. This keeps costs low, as it allows a business and its technology investments to follow through typical cyclic phases of growth without overspending. Predicting the future is impossible, and using a true Cloud model allows business owners to not have to predict the future when making investments in technology.
The future of business is paying only for the resources you use and not laying out loads of cash for things you might need this year. The sharing economy is taking over, Air BnB and Uber have gone from being an underground fad to market players that are worth billions. A primary idea utilized by these companies is called the Sharing Economy. It is the concept of: Access not Ownership. No longer do you need to own something outright in order to derive value from it.
Before the Sharing Economy it was standard practice that you had to own something in order to benefit from it. But the advent of Cloud computing allow businesses to easily scale services up and down with the click of a button, ownership of an item or service is no longer a requirement to provide customers with what they need. New technology gives us instant access to resources for rent, without the costs and complexity of ownership. Access not Ownership gives businesses the ability to outsource resource ownership and all the headaches that accompany it. The outsourced owner deals with maintenance, failures, warranty claims, depreciation, and vendors while a client business pays to rent that item or service, while continuing to provide valuable services to their customers without the ownership overhead.
Looking forward to 2015 I see a lot of changes. For the last decade many fleet telematics companies have been battling it out over product features. They're constantly trying to cram more and more widgets into the same product, making it easier to sell the product, while making it harder for people to actually use once they've bought into it. They are re-inventing the same products to come up with exciting new marketing brochures to hand out to their sales teams. Ultimately they're missing the mark when it comes to creating a new kind of tracking product.
A cloud resource is so special because you only pay for what you use. The whole point of switching to the cloud is utilizing Access not Ownership. You use a resource for a month, you only pay for it during that time. Once you're done with it, you stop using it and no longer pay for it. Not a bad concept! At Carma we designed our cloud based tracking product so customers can start and stop tracking services on a vehicle or asset with the click of their mouse. The savings are immediate. When business is booming they can turn on more vehicles as required. During the off-season they simply turn down the number of active vehicles on their plan, saving big money with a single click on our website.
CarmaLink has realized that the vast majority of smaller fleets have very real seasonal flex periods. A municipality in our area had never signed up for a fleet tracking product because they only use all sixty vehicles for 2/3 of the year. They didn't want to pay for a product they wouldn't always be using. By using CarmaLink, and only paying for vehicles when they are being used, the Town was able to save more than $3,000 a year over the cost of a comparable fleet tracking product that didn't provide a Cloud based billing service like CarmaLink.
Here's a basic litmus test to determine if your current telematics provider is giving you a real Cloud based product: Do you have to pay to track an asset even when it's not in use? If you answered yes, your fleet tracking provider is stuck in the past. I have yet to find a single fleet that didn't benefit from Cloud Billing. Do yourself a favor and look into using a true Cloud based fleet tracking product. It's not free, but it's about as close as you can get!