Mobile Resource Market Shows Largest Growth in Location Industry

August 28, 2013  - By 1 Comments

Mobile resource management has never been a sexy market full of buzz and excitement — we are talking tracking trailers and containers. However, it is on pace to see double-digit growth through 2020. Led by a handful of companies in local fleet, long haul, cellular and trailer tracking, MRM has never faced ups and downs like other location market segments. In fact, acquisitions and growth appear to be in the future for this market segment.

With more than 5.7 million tracking units nationwide, and 9 million more expected to be sold by 2015, the mobile resource management market continues to be one of the steadiest, and profitable, location businesses.

TeletracIn one of the bigger MRM deals earlier this month, Danaher Corp. purchased Garden City, California-based Teletrac, which was owned by Vector Capital. Teletrac, which offers a cloud-based software as a service (SaaS), has units installed in more than 200,000 vehicles in 87 countries.

In terms of segments within MRM, the local fleet market continues to be the largest, according to Clem Driscoll, president of CJ Driscoll and Associates, who is completing a multi-client study of U.S. fleet operators that is sponsored by two major wireless carriers.  Local fleet operators had more than 3 million units installed in 2012. In 2000, local fleet companies had about 250,000 units installed, according to Driscoll.

Another growing MRM market segment include cell-phone-based systems with 1 million units.  Long-haul trucking and trailer tracking both have less than 1 million units installed in 2012. The major players in long-haul trucking markets have included Qualcomm, PeopleNet and XRS (Xata), but Qualcomm just announced that it is selling its fleet management and tracking business Omnitracs to Vista Equity Partners for $800 million in cash.

Driscoll says the largest GPS fleet management company is Fleetmatics, which recently went public, raising $94.3 million. The company has 331,000 units installed worldwide, and had $127.5 million in revenue last year.

Driscoll has identified several MRM trends: hardware prices are declining, MRM service providers are bundling the hardware; leveling off of equipment purchases for local fleet markets as suppliers transition to third-generation devices; increased integration with Android; smartphones and tablets; and more acquisitions.

Speaking of acquisitions, the past year was a busy one for MRM. Telogis bought Maptuit and NavTrak. CalAmp bought Wireless Matrix, which is a GPS-cellular tracking company.

For long-haul trucking acquisitions, the biggest deals came from Trimble, which purchased TMW Systems, ALK Technologies and GEOTrac, an oil and gas monitoring company.

In Europe, the United Kingdom and France could see growth, but Spain has economic problems. Germany still is a strong long haul market, Driscoll says. In Asia, there should be 9 million potential units sold in the next few years, with China being the dominant player. Korea and Japan are maturing markets.

Overall, by 2020, MRM could achieve the same level of penetration as the smartphone market.  Today’s smartphone may be the ultimate telematics equipment, and future MRM equipment of choice, as the automotive OEMs have found out by listening to their consumers, Driscoll said.

Google Maps Already Using Waze 

In other location industry news, Google Maps this week is using Waze real-time traffic reports on its app for Apple iOS and Android, according to a blog post from Google. The announcement constitutes the first significant use of the Waze app since Google purchased the Israeli startup for $1 billion in June.

While Google Maps users will be able to use reports about accidents, construction and road closures, Waze consumers will be able to get access to Google search and Street View. According to published reports, more than 15,000 new map editors joined the Waze editing community this month, which is a 43 percent month-over-month increase.

Intel Shuts Down Telmap

Late last month, after our LBS Insider deadline, Intel announced it was shutting down Telmap, an Israel-based company it acquired in 2011 for a reported $120 million. The move signals the end of Intel’s navigation business, which had hoped to offer end-user tools and white label technology for developers.

Telmap employed 150 people at its development center in Herzliya, Israel, and had dozens of other employees at various Intel branches throughout Europe and the United States. Telmap rolled out a free navigation app called M8, which was launched earlier this year. The app drew revenue from advertising and was marketed to wireless carriers for rebranding.

In Israel, Orange, Cellcom and Pelephone, the country’s largest wireless carriers, all use Telmap’s white-labeled product, according to published reports.

According to published reports, some of the Telmap employees will be placed in other positions within Intel Israel. The reports said that Intel was too late with its free app and was way behind crowdsourced traffic providers such as Waze.

Telmap, founded in 2000, was viewed as an up-and-coming player in the location industry. It supported wireless carriers mainly outside of the United States such as Orange FT Group, SingTel, MTS, Vodafone, Vodacom, SFR, Telefonica-02 and others. Its U.S. partners included Nokia (Navteq), MapQuest and Inrix.

Is the Location Industry Conference Dead?

After working overseas for nearly a year, I have noticed that there are not a lot of industry events to cover, particularly pure location conferences. There may be a connected vehicle panel at the Consumer Electronics Show or a CTIA trade show.

However, the location-centric conference appears to have died in the wake of industry consolidation (and Google’s giving navigation away for free). Replacing these conferences are connected vehicle and insurance telematics conferences that feature an occasional wireless, or LBS, panel.

Kevin Dennehy

About the Author:

Kevin Dennehy is GPS World’s editor for location-based services, writing a monthly column for the LBS Insider newsletter. Dennehy has been writing about the location industry for more than 20 years. He covered GPS and location technology for Global Positioning & Navigation News for seven years. His articles on the wireless industry have been published in both consumer and trade magazines and newspapers

1 Comment on "Mobile Resource Market Shows Largest Growth in Location Industry"

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  1. Skyline NYC says:

    Great post Kevin!
    Mobile is definitely changing everything. As a company in the trade show industry, we are balancing more and more technology with our displays to make them even more attention grabbing and effective.

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