It’s an exciting time for the transportation and freight industries. New technologies are transforming how drivers, mechanics and supervisors are doing their jobs and future fleet managers could be more skilled and adept – possibly even bionic – than we ever imagined.

One of the first beacons of this exciting new age is Boston’s commuter rail.

All Aboard for the Future

Keolis Commuter Services, the company that manages the commuter rail system in Boston, gives us a terrific example of cutting-edge workplace technology. This organization will soon supply some of its field mechanics with pairs of bionic, augmented reality (AR) glasses. AR combines virtual reality and the real world. If you looked through these glasses, you’d see text, videos or images layered over your surroundings. The Boston mechanics will use those glasses to talk via video chat to colleagues. Right now, it’s an experiment within a small sample in Boston. But someday soon, AR could help future fleet technicians receive information more easily and make their repairs faster, helping companies face fewer delays. Who says that train transportation is old-fashioned?

The Unique Benefits of AR

Using AR glasses rather than phones to converse with colleagues provides several advantages. If one of your technicians encounters a problem that he or she doesn’t know how to solve, an expert from inside or outside your company could connect via AR, examine the situation in three dimensions and offer step-by-step instructions for fixing the issue. For the technician, it would feel as though someone were actually looking over his or her shoulders. With AR, your hands are free; you needn’t hold a wireless device in the air. Plus, the headphones that are included filter out atmospheric noises. And AR headsets can be equipped with apps that instantly translate words from one language to another. AR is totally immersive. Other people can feel as though they’re going through what we’re going through. Indeed, AR is poised to take the world by storm just as personal computers and smartphones have done.

How Software Solutions Can Help You

Your company might not be ready to implement AR just yet, but there are other exciting ways in which old and new technologies are merging. Fuel, fleet and rail management software solutions are terrific examples. Fuel software can tell you how much fuel each of your vehicles is using, and how much it can cut back. It can also predict your fuel costs and track how much your drivers are spending each time they refuel. You get the data to budget fuel costs accurately with additional insights to coach on bad idling. Similarly, a railcar management solution can detect railcar defects and hazardous materials. It tracks train cars, monitoring their speeds and accurately calculating their departure and arrival times. Also, it will send supervisors alerts if cars are braking or accelerating too hard. On top of that, the software lets engineers driving hy-rail vehicles update their logs quickly and easily while still maintaining the standards that the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) has set forth. Who knows where all of this technology is headed? Sometime soon, you might be able to put on a pair of bionic glasses and examine any truck, railcar or piece of cargo that you’d like, with previous inspection logs and maintenance schedules accessible in the blink of an eye. Maybe you’ll even be able to use those glasses to view your future fleet vehicles from a distance. Tomorrow is like the open road; it appears to have no limits.

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BSM Technologies – A leading player in the M2M industry for 20 years, BSM continues to grow and has proven its sustainability in the GPS asset tracking and telematics industry. Our location-smart platform is ideal for managing the health and compliance of assets vital to your organization. Covering a wide range of industries from construction and rail to tanks and even HOS, BSM is your committed partner in assisting with all your fleet management solutions. Today, our solutions are used to optimize and manage over 70,000 assets across 40 countries by some of the largest rail, construction, and commercial fleet organizations in the world. Experience our enterprise-focused solutions, robust capabilities, and customer-oriented culture.

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