Product Insight: Trailer Telematics

There’s a big difference between trailer tracking and trailer telematics. Trailer telematics offers far more information about a trailer than just providing a dot on a map. The big enabler is the Microlise Trailer Telematics unit. Specifically designed for use in trailers, our unit is IP69K rated, ATEX approved, has a 4G modem and offers a gateway to a host of additional trailer information.

Because it can spend a good portion of its time unpowered, it has variable settings but its default when unhooked is to enter sleep mode, only awakening every 12 hours to report its location before returning to sleep mode which greatly conserves its power.

The Microlise Trailer Telematics unit differs from many other units on the market by way of its multiple inputs which allow for much more information regarding a trailer with data including door status, temperature status, refer information and EBS information which can be relayed to the Microlise system.

Within the Microlise Fleet Performance product, the information taken from the trailer via the trailer telematics unit along with information directly input from users can help to increase trailer fleet efficiency.

Trailer dimensions can be input to support truck specific routing and can be utilised through integration with other parts of the system including the routing engine for planning routes, satnav and into our Driver Hazard Warning app which aims to reduce bridge strikes.

Within the map screen, specific icons can be assigned at a profile level with different colours and styles to indicate different vehicle types of varying heights that have different equipment installed.

When connected to the trailer’s electronic braking system (EBS), whether it’s Knorr Bremse, Haldex or Wabco, much of this information can be gathered automatically. The unique trailer ID can be passed through the suzi to pair the tractor and trailer within the Microlise system, automatically changing the vehicle icon to represent a coupled trailer on the map screens. Connection to the EBS also allows the system to automatically gather profile information for a specific trailer.

For chilled fleets, the temperature of your loads can also be monitored via the telematics unit offering that all important third party view of temperature integrity. The Microlise temperature monitoring solution can either plug directly into the refer unit or loggers or alternatively, offer a completely independent system with our own temperature probes plugging directly into our telematics unit. The system can offer live trailer compartment monitoring and be configured to prompt an alert should temperatures stray outside of the agreed minimum / maximum temperature parameters. Full temperature audit reports are also available.

Door sensors offer a useful addition to your temperature monitoring solution informing you when trailer doors are opened and sounding an alert should this have a significant adverse effect on the internal temperature of the trailer. For further information, you can check out our recent temperature monitoring blog post here.

Load security is also a significant concern for any operation towing high value goods as criminals continue to devise new ways to empty a trailer! Once again, door sensors can also offer a level of security, sounding an alert when trailer doors are opened outside of a geofence or even whilst the vehicle is moving. When coupled with load facing and rear trailer cameras, an internal view of the trailer and an external view of the trailer doors can be downloaded over the air in the event of a hijack.

With trailers darting up and down the country being dropped off in various locations, it is all too easy to lose track of what belongs where. With Microlise, an owning depot can be assigned to a trailer making it easier to search for your trailers and where necessary, identify which depot is responsible for servicing and maintenance.

What’s New?

We’ve continued to make various improvements to our trailer telematics offering… this year we’ve focused particularly on the usability of the system.

We’ve implemented a series of enhancements to our administration pages which are focused on getting your dataset correct from the outset as this underpins much of the subsequent trailer information feeds. Categorising trailers correctly upfront can save time and effort in the long run and make map screen filtering more effective as trailer profiles, vehicle type, additional equipment such as tail lifts, etc. will all feed into areas within the system such as the vehicle overview page (which also shows live information around the trailer telematics unit battery levels and the last known location), map icons or reports.

The earlier addition of a concertina side panel to the map screen allows for more trailer information to be displayed from data drawn from the administration pages. Information such as vehicle type, VOR status, hooked status (either through the EBS or via journey association), door sensor status, telematics unit battery levels and any active vehicle alerts can all be displayed directly to the user within the main map pages.

We’ve also added a handy ‘trailers on site’ function which shows you which trailers are at a particular location along with their hooked status. More detailed information is also made available under same tab listing all trailers, their name, type, profile, last used information, owning depot and additional equipment.

The additional information added in the administration pages also enables advanced allocation of resources within our Journey Management product. This function allows users to list all assets on site plus those that will be available at the beginning of a journey, filter them by specific attributes and potentially assign those with the lowest battery levels to the longest journeys where possible to allow greater recharging potential.

Extensive reporting allows for more information to be included and filtered giving users more rounded information on trailer usage and journey utilisation and the ability to drill down into detailed information.

The Benefits

Most transport personnel have had some experience of losing a trailer only for it to turn up a month later… or of finding a trailer without any idea where it came from or have been liable for servicing a trailer from another depot. And there is the perennial problem of either having too few or too many trailers! Microlise gives you the tools to manage your trailers and their utilisation levels far more efficiently.

But our trailer telematics solution goes beyond this as you can gather intelligence directly from the trailer itself to minimise errors and automatically know which trailer is being towed by which vehicle without relying on drivers to input the correct information. Temperature compliance becomes easier when you can deal with issues instantly before a trailer load of food has to be scrapped. The additional level of security offered can be the difference between losing a load of high value goods and apprehending the culprits. Plus, through integration with other Microlise systems – like our Driver Hazard Warning app and our blind-spot trailer cameras – a level of enhanced safety can be added to your fleet.

Above all, by managing information input and using that information in your day-to-day trailer management and reporting you’ll greatly enhance decision making – both routine and strategic.

With a considerable annual spend on R&D, Microlise constantly pushes boundaries – our future development roadmap makes for exciting reading too – more on that soon.

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If you'd like to find out more about our Trailer Telematics solution, please contact your account manager, or contact us today to book a demonstration

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