IAA interviewed Evgeni Makarov, COO, BaseRide Technologies on the company’s direction and the importance of key partnerships for IoT development. By Mark Johnston
IAA: Introduce yourself and tell me about your company?
Evgeni Makarov (EM): I am the COO of BaseRide Technologies. We were established in Singapore in 2013, but we are originally from Russia. We have worked for several years in the areas of fleet management systems for public transit, commercial logistics and mobile workforce. Right now we are developing in Southeast Asia.
IAA: How long has your company been around?
EM: We started maybe more than five years ago. Originally we had projects in several stages for the public transit and different applications for passengers, different applications for dispatch centres, etc. We did projects in the US, and in Brazil. We then decided to move into commercial logistics and transportation, and especially to Asia because it is pretty much booming.
IAA: Where you founded as an IoT company?
EM: We originally started to work with data from different devices that are connected to the vehicle, so it was an initial step that we worked from the very beginning. We are not a hardware manufacturer. We are more a data analytics company that has worked with many hardware manufacturers and system integrators, and analyse this data and provide transportation companies with measurement tools to plan, dispatch their operations and improve their operations. The basis of course are devices that can be connected to trucks, cars, buses, etc.
IAA: Who are some of your customers?
EM: We are more originated to provide a subscription based service to the companies. We have customers like leasing companies, we have bus operators, we have delivery companies as a client, we have dispatch centres, and we have partners like systems integrators. We are more focused on the solutions that can be applied as soon as possible and then the company usually uses a subscription based service rather than we do some custom project.
IAA: What was the motivation for starting the company?
EM: Originally we create only business to customer applications but we saw many requests from companies that require better analyse of data and public transit. Then we expanded our scope to also commercial logistics and the connected car. Initially we saw the gap.
IAA: How do you compete with your bigger competitors. What is your value proposition?
EM: Of course fleet management has been developing for more than 10 years so initially from a simple GPS tracking system. I would say that our value proposition is first that we combine several industries.
We provide right now three main products as a solution for public transit, a solution for commercial logistics companies, and a solution a mobile workforce. One of our customers is a very large retailer and we provide them a solution to management mobile people. We combine both devices and also we combine managing people. Not a lot of companies combine the two. Usually companies specialise in one of these directions. We also have some interesting technologies like traffic jam calculations. If you have an updater in the city, we can calculate some interesting things like traffic, historically patterns of traffic and things like that.
IAA: Who are some of your customers in Asia?
EM: Initially we started from Singapore. In Singapore, one of our customers is a system integrator that works with shuttle buses and we provide them APIs for estimated time of arrive. Another customer is a leasing company that provides a service to many companies. They want to improve their quality of service with customers so they are not just providing the trucks but also provide the service and also if you lease the truck you also have an online and mobile interface that you see in real time. You analyse it, and see how your driver is behaving. It also improves their maintenance, so in real time they understand different troubles with the truck. This is so they can better monitor the situation and better provide the repair service. Right now we are also working with several delivery companies in Singapore and Malaysia.
IAA: Tell me more about your business model?
EM: Our business model is that customers actually pay per connected device per month. The price we give to the customer depends on the number of devices, and the number of services they would like to purchase. They pay a subscription fee bases on that.
IAA: What are some of the unique challenges associated with IoT when being applied to fleet management?
EM: I see there are several. First of all in each specific area, whether it is fleet management or maybe it is infrastructure, etc. There are many manufacturers of hardware, first of all if the company does not have the experience they even do not understand what hardware is different from another. In the initially stage it is hard to choose what hardware to use. The customer perhaps needs some kind of consultant who understands what his needs are.
Another is that after the hardware there are many providers of platforms. Who is actually better is not evident. It is hard to understand what is better for you. Also, maybe a company expects results too early. They ask once we implement what we will have next month. They need to understand their practice in a longer scope. Maybe half a year.
IAA: How do you see IoT changing fleet management in the years ahead?
EM: I think there are several ways IoT can change fleet management. First of all is maintenance. IoT allows us to remotely monitor vehicles and have a real time understanding of the condition of the car. Another interesting use case that IoT is providing to fleet management is the interaction with the client.