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Geotab launches innovative new transportation analytics solution on Google Cloud

About Geotab

As a proven leader in IoT and connected transportation, Geotab securely connects commercial vehicles to the internet, providing advanced web-based analytics to help businesses worldwide better manage their fleets and make data-driven decisions. Geotab was named a 2021 Google Cloud Customer Award winner for technical excellence and transformation in the Google Cloud.

Industries: Transportation, Technology
Location: Canada

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Geotab uses Google Cloud products to launch an innovative new solution combining analytics and access to massive data volumes so municipalities can make better transportation planning decisions.

Google Cloud results

  • Provided tools to innovate on new solution
  • Scales easily to handle analyses of multiple petabytes
  • ML capabilities deliver extraordinary detail
  • Increases competitiveness with new market opportunities

“By going with the Google Cloud stack, we can stay hyper focused on our customers’ challenges instead of diverting valuable internal resources to manage a complex IT infrastructure behind the scenes.”

Mike Branch, Vice President of Data and Analytics, Geotab

Geotab is an innovative telematics company that provides connected-transportation solutions to more than 49,000 organizations around the world. Its fleet management products and services combine IoT, software, and data analytics capabilities for many use cases and industries. These range from utility and public safety fleets, to global delivery and logistics companies, to regional and state governments that use its solutions for sustainability, safety, and compliance initiatives.

Geotab has experienced enormous growth since its founding in 2000. Today it ingests and analyzes data on more than 2.4 million commercial vehicles that generate over 50 billion data points daily.

The sheer volume of information that it handles, along with a need for highly scalable and flexible tools to manage, store, and analyze that data, led Geotab to invest in Google Cloud technology.

“We made a strategic decision to go with a cloud platform that would continue to grow with us,” says Mike Branch, Geotab Vice President of Data and Analytics. “By going with the Google Cloud stack, we can stay hyper focused on our customers’ challenges instead of diverting valuable internal resources to manage a complex IT infrastructure behind the scenes.”

The decision was a prominent factor in Geotab’s evaluation of a large, new market opportunity: providing transportation planners in cities and government agencies with highly detailed, contextual-driven insight into the movement of commercial and consumer vehicles for smarter traffic planning and management.

“Street-level transportation is the largest mode of travel around the world, and governments of all sizes are faced with costly and complex challenges when trying to improve the efficiency, safety, and sustainability of their roads and transportation infrastructures,” says Branch. “We have one of the world’s largest organically grown transportation datasets paired with a strong data science team and saw an opportunity to make transportation networks more efficient, more streamlined, and more productive and sustainable.”

Delivering rich analytics on petabytes of transportation data

Geotab decided to focus entirely on Google Cloud products to help create and operate a new line of business currently available for the US and Canadian market—the Geotab Intelligent Transportation Systems (Geotab ITS).

At the core of Geotab ITS is Altitude, a platform that provides a modular, open approach to accessing large volumes of aggregate data insights in a way that preserves privacy. It combines data that is generated by sophisticated in-vehicle sensors and other measurement tools with rich data analytics services. This allows transportation planners to find specific information for decisions on increasing traffic throughput, identifying and eliminating bottlenecks, and increasing the overall efficiency of their transportation infrastructure.

Geotab uses a number of Google Cloud products for Altitude. These include Cloud Composer, a fully managed workflow orchestration service; Dataflow, a serverless solution for stream and batch data processing; and Google Kubernetes Engine, a managed environment for deploying, managing, and scaling containerized applications.

Branch says BigQuery—a fully managed, serverless data warehouse that can scale to support analysis involving multiple petabytes of data—is a foundational element of Altitude.

“BigQuery plays a very large role for the back end of the solution,” he says. “It’s incredible what you can do with BigQuery, especially with the complex geospatial analyses that we provide.”

He says older or alternative solutions often fall short on data quality and the level of precise detail that transportation planners need.

“For example, some products on the market might spot a truck, but it will show it as traveling along a highway, when in fact it’s a service road running parallel to the highway,” Branch says. “This might seem like a minor example—that is, just snapping a vehicle to the right road. But when you’re operating at scale like we are with 2.4 million vehicles, it’s critical to get those small details right and in near real time. That’s just one of the things that BigQuery allows us to do.”

Working with Google Cloud and SpringML—a Google Cloud Public Sector Partner specializing in digital transformation projects using artificial intelligence and machine learning—Geotab can add further context to the data in the solution, such as classifying specific types of vehicle behaviors. This can help transportation planners dig deeper into the exact causes of specific conditions, such as traffic bottlenecks that might be caused, for example, by “last-mile” delivery vehicles driving through congested urban areas.

Solution makes inroads into new market opportunities

Following its launch in September 2021, the unique functionality of Geotab ITS led to a lot of interest and rapid adoption by municipalities and the engineering consulting firms that partner with Geotab to deploy solutions for individual customers.

“We have engineering firms and government agencies telling us that they have not been able to access this level of contextual detail in the past,” says Branch. “They are looking at initiatives such as master truck plans—what they thought was the reality—and compare that to what they are seeing in near real time with the voluminous data, rich analysis, and the context provided by Geotab ITS. They’re saying, ‘Wow, we didn’t know this was a popular route for freight travel,’ and this allows them to make changes to optimize traffic pathways that make the most sense for vehicles and neighborhoods.”

Branch adds that the partnership with Google Cloud is helping Geotab make inroads into new market opportunities, creating more global expansion for the company.

“By investing in Google Cloud, we not only get a leg up on the competition, but we have the confidence that the platform will continue to grow with us,” he says. “It allows us to tackle the business challenges of our customers while Google Cloud takes care of the infrastructure.”

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About Geotab

As a proven leader in IoT and connected transportation, Geotab securely connects commercial vehicles to the internet, providing advanced web-based analytics to help businesses worldwide better manage their fleets and make data-driven decisions. Geotab was named a 2021 Google Cloud Customer Award winner for technical excellence and transformation in the Google Cloud.

Industries: Transportation, Technology
Location: Canada