Linfox transports itself to Telstra IoT platform

Following its acquisition of MTData, Telstra has signed Linfox on as an IoT customer, providing solutions aimed at improving driver and road safety and information.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor
(Image: Telstra)

Telstra and MTData have announced signing a partnership deal with logistics company Linfox to provide advanced telematics and management Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.

Under the deal, Linfox's entire fleet of trucks will be enabled with IoT tech including mounted Samsung tablets for access to logbooks and safety checklists, which Telstra said will "deliver advanced transport and logistics data and quality benchmarking information" in an effort to improve road safety.

Some vehicles will be fitted out with in-cabin equipment that will record road safety incidents, Telstra added.

"Heavy vehicle safety is a key issue within our industry and community, and by partnering with Telstra to implement transformative technologies that allow us to better monitor and measure safety compliance throughout our fleet, we can work to reduce risk factors and enhance safe driver behaviour," Linfox CIO Conrad Harvey said.

"The technology will require our drivers to log on and complete safety checklists before they head off on the road, and will allow us to gain more accurate in-cab readings of speed and distance.

"The devices will enable us to coordinate our vehicles efficiently, reduce congestion on the roads, and above all ensure a higher level of safety."

Telstra had in November acquired Australian GPS and telematics fleet-management solutions provider MTData in what it said is a bid to increase its IoT business globally, particularly across connected vehicles.

Australia's incumbent telco last month also launched its narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) network during CES 2018 across all major cities in Australia, after its Cat-M1 network went live in August.

The telco said it already supports over 2 million active IoT devices on its combined IoT networks.

According to Telstra COO Robyn Denholm, the NB-IoT network provides connectivity for IoT devices with smaller packets of data being sent than the applications using its Cat-M1 IoT network, such as sensors in the transport, logistics, mining, agricultural, manufacturing, and industrial IoT industries.

"We're using both protocols," Denholm told ZDNet last month.

"The two cover sort of different use cases; the Cat-M1 is more devices that are on the move that need hundreds of kilobits per second, whereas the NB-IoT are very small packets of information."

Telstra CEO Andy Penn in January told ZDNet that the NB-IoT network is not yet as extensive as the telco's Cat-M1 IoT network, but that it will "ultimately be that sort of level of coverage".

Telstra in May also launched an open IoT research and development lab, which provides a space for students, startups, and businesses to use controlled Cat-M1 and NB-IoT radio networks to create, test, and prototype their IoT solutions.

The lab provides such researchers with electronic testing equipment, hardware, and diagnostic tools in order to assist them in developing prototype IoT sensors, hardware, and technology.

At the time, Telstra extended its autonomous vehicles partnership with the South Australian government and Cohda Wireless to conduct vehicle-to-everything connectivity trials in Adelaide during 2017.

Telstra is also looking to push connected vehicles in Victoria, Penn told ZDNet last month.

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