Telematics specialist Airmax Remote has been reborn as a connected car data specialist as it steps out from behind the scenes to target fleet operators direct.
The Birmingham-based company has been involved with the vehicle telematics industry for the best part of two decades, having provided telematics services to the emergency services sector under a special vehicle programme, but has typically been hidden behind several leasing company’s white label solutions.
In fact, Airmax should be considered one of the longest-standing telematics providers you have never heard of, although it has earned many awards behind the curtain, including for its incredibly stable product and innovation from data-rich vehicle information.
However, following commercial changes, managing director Richard Perham (pictured) and his management team decided 2020 was the year to get out into the market and reposition the branding, which will see a fundamental step change to focus on vehicle data and hardware services.
All types of fleets will benefit from these changes, regardless of fleet profile or operational requirements. Enhancements within its digital set-up will enable organisations to absorb data from APIs to consume within back-office systems for requirements with SMR whilst corporate fleets will continue to benefit from the entire end-end solution with a web interface. Furthermore Airmax will continue to enhance its emergency services proposition.
Speaking to the Great British Fleet Event, Perham said: “This year we’ve repositioned the management team and our product development – we’re no longer a hidden outfit that sits behind arguably some of the biggest lease companies in the UK, if not the world, and are really starting to stand on our own two feet.”
Even the Covid-19 pandemic could not keep Airmax down. In fact, it turned out to be a unique opportunity for the company, as it gave the business the opportunity to centre in on its product development, strategy and service delivery.
Perham said: “The gap within this pandemic has allowed us to refocus on our product development, without the distraction from the data-led industry, and with that we have also been able to strongly focus on the electric vehicle aspect. We are launching several new hardware products for 2021, all with the context that the black box is just an enabler.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have noticed that where organisations have moved away from conventional bricks and mortar, there is a genuine hope that companies will now invest in data – which keeps their business moving forward, as there is a genuine necessity to consider the vehicle to be an extension of the workplace and one that will require remote management.
“It’s about the fact that if you can’t monitor it, you can’t manage it to a large extent. So where historically you may have had an office-based fleet manager monitoring vehicles coming in and out of their workshops and depots, today’s telematics market should be monitoring assets remotely.”
Adopting a digital approach, these datasets will provide the ability for workflows to be driven and automated.
It is a big shift for Airmax, with telematics providing a general perception of mapping and driver behaviour, which is just provided by default. These features can be easily configured to be turned off. Airmax development strategy has always been to obtain vehicle data via CAN with an OBD method. As a result, it can provide robust datasets such as speed, rather than relying on GPS which is the conventional method. Where Airmax is different is that it can control its product development and its embedded firmware. With its strong vehicle background, the business is able to get the richest information out of that vehicle.
“Airmax is able to provide a rich set of CANbus data. A general perception is that everyone proclaims that they can do it, by using broadcasted data from EOBD standards but not a lot of providers can provide vehicle-specific information. You must have a strong background in vehicle diagnostics, and you must be able to own the product IPR to develop it,” explained Perham.
Fleets’ migration to electric vehicles is also a strong point for Airmax; it has been focused on EV compatibility since the end of 2019 and recognises the importance of providing big data technologies to those fleets that are utilising the electric vehicles within their fleet. As such, Airmax is investing a significant proportion of its R&D capabilities into developing an EV telematics solution to provide tangible insight into EV performance.
So by becoming a connected car provider, a data aggregation point if you like, Airmax is positioning itself for all the challenges that standard connected manufacturer systems are going to be asked for by mixed fleets, with a view of bringing all that data together within a single architecture on a single enterprise platform.