Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »
Kinesis Adds Alexa to Vehicle Tracking Technology
March 28th, 2019 by Susan Smith
Crewes, UK-based Kinesis has integrated its vehicle tracking technology with Alexa, the Amazon Virtual Assistant. The artificial intelligence addition allows managers to locate their mobile workers by simply asking Alexa where a person is by name – or a vehicle by its ID number. Alexa immediately responds giving the current vehicle location and where it is going, if traveling.
Kinesis believes it is the first telematics supplier to take advantage of voice assistance technology. The voice app works for any vehicle fitted with Kinesis trackers and is accessed using the Amazon smart speakers such as the Echo and Dot, as well as the Alexa smartphone app. It allows companies to assess the performance of their employees.
“Our customers typically run busy commercial enterprises and anything that makes their work easier will be welcomed” says Greville Coe, Group Managing Director – Telematics at Radius Payment Solutions, the company behind Kinesis. “Often managers and customer service staff just need to know whether a driver or engineer has arrived on site or is on route. By linking voice assistance technology to Kinesis, they get an immediate answer by simply asking Alexa.”
By utilizing voice technology, the Kinesis Alexa app adds another dimension to safety allowing hands free access to information while on the move, making journeys more productive for those in charge of operations.
The Kinesis development compliments the recently announced Alexa for Business which brings voice controls into the office as part of a fully managed service for multiple Alexa devices in the workplace. Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing industries that depend upon telematics and will compliment Kinesis road safety technologies with their enhanced system that monitors drivers and their driving performance. The Kinesis Alexa app using voice technology adds another safety feature by allowing hands-free access to vital information while driving. No longer do drivers need to refer to a computer screen to get important data.
Adam Partington, marketing manager for Kinesis, spoke with GISCafe Voice about the new Alexa addition to their vehicle tracking technology.
Who is the Alexa service being offered to currently?
It is a new service being offered to organizations who use the Kinesis GPS vehicle tracking system – about 100,000 vehicles are being tracked using the system, mainly in Europe but also in the US and South East Asia. Managers are using Alexa to locate their sales and service staff and find out more about performance metrics.
What is the Geospatial component to this technology? I can see where there is some location mapping going on.
Vehicles are fitted with GPS and communications so fleet controllers can view vehicle locations and movements on maps, for managing mobile operations. Customer locations are added (depots, delivery points and maintenance service locations for example) with geofencing to set up auto-alerts for delivery/arrival time notifications, divergence from route, restricted zones etc.
How facile is Alexa at identifying the location of a given individual or car?
It’s as precise as the data received from the vehicle, so ‘Heading west on Route 66, 5 miles east of Flagstaff’ or ‘Located at AutoPark, Tucson International Airport’. Normally the vehicle will have an ID reader installed to identify the driver on entry to the vehicle.
What is added to Alexa to make this identification possible?
Software integration between the Kinesis data feed and Alexa (Amazon) servers, matching the Kinesis database of vehicles, drivers and other data (so a geographic location could be described by customer location, such as at Ruska Laboratories, Houston rather than giving the street address)
Do you need a certain caliber of speakers and devices for this use in a commercial setting? If so, what are the requirements?
Currently just an Amazon smart speaker device, or app on a smartphone.
Can you give a use case example of where this would be a valuable technology to employ in a business?
It is really designed for business giving customer services, fleet controllers and managers quick answers to questions. Instant access to key information without having to do a search on a computer or smartphone. One simple voice query like ‘where is Joe Bloggs’, for example, will give a quick audible answer. When managers are on calls or in meetings Alexa can answer questions without having to work through menus to find the information (by manual intervention).
How does this product streamline the use of data?
It provides specific answers to questions in the simplest way possible, which is very typical of our solutions. We’re all about streamlining data and making fleet management easier for our customers.