“AI is the ‘new black'”

Simplytrak’s MD Ian Wood is featured in this month’s Fleet World Magazine. Read below what Ian has to say on the arrival of artificial intelligence in telematics solutions.

The phrases Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and algorithms are very often used interchangeably. However, it is important not to get caught up in the hype that often surrounds the adoption of new and existing technologies.

Different versions of the same tech

AI, ML and algorithms are all connected phrases but are in essence different versions of the same underlying tech. Whilst to the software and marketing teams this matters, to the end-user the focus should be only ever be on the suitability of the total solution provided to their business.

Algorithms can be very simple ‘if-then’ commands used throughout the software world and have been around a very long time. Awareness of them only became much more widespread as their use became more prominent when the likes of Google updates helped to create an entire industry designed around outsmarting the search engine giant.

All telematics hardware contains firmware which works on that very basis too. ‘If this panic button is pressed, activate this output’ is a perfect example. ’If this input becomes live, send an ‘ignition on’ message to the server’ being another.

Machine Learning on the other hand is often a collection of algorithms working together to perform a task or tasks without being programmed how to do so. This is more frequently used in data-mining telematics information to highlight inefficiencies in fleet use or bad driving behaviour/vehicle use.

AI is the ‘new black’

AI, however, is ‘the new black’. It differs from the above by its algorithms being able to cope with unstructured data and creating tasks essentially based on surprises. Whilst buzzy in terminology, in real terms it’s widespread use for our purposes is very limited at this time.

Business needs are individual and complex and telematics solutions should always have a focus on the end goal of increasing efficiency and safety in fleet use. The use of AI will happen soon enough. But for all the buzz, AI is still just a set of behind the scenes processes based on algorithms, data-collection and manipulation. The focus of the end user must remain on using telematics solutions to improve fleet and asset use and gain maximum efficiencies for safety and their bottom line.

Simplytrak are a no nonsense provider of advanced and often bespoke telematics solutions.