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Published: 9 February 2017      

VTG to implement telematics system

Hamburg-based VTG Aktiengesellschaft (VTG AG) is to install monitoring devices from Nexiot AG on its fleet of 80,000 rail wagons.

The deal is a key part of VTG AG’s digitalization strategy, outlined by the company last November. “Over the next three to four years, the company will equip its whole European wagon fleet with a telematics system. Digitalizing every single freight car will lay the foundation for its new VTG Connect service, one aspect of which will involve supplying the operator with location and event data from all wagons. This will facilitate faster, smoother and more efficient maintenance and logistical processes in the future”.

At the device level, VTG AG is calling the telematics units “solar-powered VTG connectors”, with GPS for position data, supporting geofencing and wagon management, and an accelerometer to detect shock or impact events. 

Nexiot’s range includes an IP67 rated unit for intermodal assets (including containers). Using solar power, and ultra-lower power embedded technology, says Nexiot, enables it to overcome battery problems for non-powered assets such as rail wagons, and it markets the intermodal unit as “totally self sufficient”. They can be installed in under five minutes, and paired to a data centre using a smartphone. 
“The modules relay updates including location, impact events, and border crossings. Geographical and historical information is combined with the raw sensor data, so the customer can see the wider context of their assets, including estimated times of arrival, detection of cargo loading, or recognition of intermodal changes, for example,” explained Nexiot.
Telematics data is processed in the Nexiot Cloud Engine, and Nexiot emphasised that both “VTG and other rail customers can use it to add value to their business”. For VTG, this includes supporting condition-based wagon maintenance as well as improving fleet management. 
“Nexiot’s wider expertise in complex systems and Big Data algorithms makes us much more than a hardware provider,” said Daniel MacGregor, Director Marketing and Sales, Nexiot AG.
“Our company focuses on providing full asset visibility to enable the customer to make informed decisions. We are a young company, but we are taking the market by storm because we provide cutting-edge technology and an innovative business model, which brings the entry barriers right down”.
For VTG AG, taking the initiative and installing a fleet-wide telematics system is a key part of its strategy to take the leadership in making rail freight more attractive in Europe. "This pan-European telematics system and the resultant services will create the transparency that rail freight transportation so desperately needs," said Dr Heiko Fischer, CEO of VTG AG.
"Essentially, we are offering the entire industry the chance to realise further effective improvements. We are also strengthening rail freight's position as the backbone of smart and sustainable logistical solutions."

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