Last month, Navistar (NYSE: NAV) announced several technology providers could now use its OnCommand Connection platform through its Gateway Integrations program that allows International and IC Bus customers to continue using their provider of choice.
One of those providers is Zonar Systems. But the integration goes much deeper, according to Zonar officials, and is actually a two-way street for its customers. While Navistar customers that use Zonar’s technology solutions can access that data through OnCommand Connection, Gary Schmidt, senior vice president of OEM solutions at Zonar, told FreightWaves that customers using its V4 telematics control unit (TCU) can now access data from Navistar’s OnCommand Connection within their Zonar platform.
Schmidt said the goal of Zonar is to erase the pain points for customers, regardless of whether the customer is accessing Zonar/OnCommand Connection data through its V4 (and the earlier generation V3) or through Navistar’s onboard hardware.
“Look at it as a big lake and then you take that lake and put your services on top of that and pull the information you need,” he explained.
The goal is to pull the data and provide that data and context to customers in useful ways.
“We are excited to extend our partnership with Zonar,” said Sean Slyman, director of connected services business solutions for Navistar. “It enables Navistar to create even greater value for customers by enabling seamless access to our industry-leading remote diagnostics solutions and Zonar’s powerful fleet management and compliance solutions through one factory-installed device.”
The V4 can be installed as an aftermarket device on most vehicles, and IC Buses can also come prewired from the factory. Schmidt said Zonar will continue to offer the V4 as an aftermarket solution because “we understand there might be a subset of customers that [factory-installed solutions] are just not going to work for [because] maybe they are not buying vehicles as often.”
Ultimately, though, Zonar is interested in streamlining the process for the retail customer, something on which vehicle manufacturers are not as focused.
“Without our app on that vehicle managing that flow of [data] traffic … we can’t guarantee the OEMs will make the data [we need] available to us,” Schmidt said. “It’s been a constant nurturing of the OEMs” to make sure they understand what the retail customer needs outside of the dealership environment.
The integrations, though, provide access to more data and more complementary data that can help Zonar improve the overall customer experience.
“I think it will open up some new products and services, but what I think it does right away is if we can get better resolution of data … I think it allows us to [improve products],” Schmidt said, specifically noting maintenance data that could help Zonar catch vehicle fault codes before they sideline a truck.
“We’re testing some of that artificial intelligence and algorithms in a pilot … and we’re seeing some pretty promising results coming out of that,” he added.
Zonar has a similar integration arrangement with Daimler Trucks North America. Schmidt said that for each OEM, the framework is in place that allows them to create the level of connectivity for customers that provide value.
“In theory, what you can do is start pulling all that data from vehicles [and give back to customers the data/context they need],” he said, to eliminate the pain points, streamline the process and eliminate unnecessary hardware.