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New Vigillo product aims to make ‘big data’ usable for fleets

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A newly launched Athena service uses the tagline “Fall in love. With what big data can do for you and your company.”

PORTLAND, Ore. — A newly launched Athena service uses the tagline “Fall in love. With what big data can do for you and your company.”

No, it’s not a dating site and no, big data isn’t always very loveable. However, the new service, provided by Vigillo, aims to change that by providing a user-friendly way to interpret, visualize and distribute useful reports derived from big data.

Data mining company Vigillo gained prominence in the trucking industry with its CSA platform, which allowed carriers to monitor their performance through easy-to-interpret dashboards. It has spent the last year developing Athena, which company president Steve Bryan says addresses the four main challenges related to the interpretation of big data. Athena is named after the mythical goddess of wisdom, and Vigillo’s aim is to “deploy wisdom” derived from big data, which few companies understand or know how to manage.

In a Webinar, Bryan explained that today’s trucks generate enormous volumes of data as they run down the road – everything from hours-of-service, GPS location, acceleration/deceleration, lane departures, etc. Unfortunately, most of this data is generated by vendor products and resides in individual silos.

Vigillo’s aim with Athena was to find a way to consolidate vast amounts of data and to present it to customers in a format they can use.

According to Bryan, there are four barriers that have to be overcome when trying to utilize big data. These challenges include: How do I get the data? How do I analyze and make sense of it? How do I use it to solve problems? And how do I communicate it out to the field?

Vigillo spent a year trying to overcome these challenges.

“We built this from the ground up,” Bryan said. “It’s a distinct and separate platform than the CSA platform we’re famous for.”

The Athena that was launched this week is Web-based, with no software required. It can be run on any device, using any browser, Bryan said.

Vigillo has created 12 initial data channels. They include things like: commercial motor vehicle miles travelled; crash stats; enforcement cases; GDP data; FMCSA’s motor carrier management information system (including 25 million inspection and violation records); private and publicly-available CSA records; census information; vehicle populations; and inspection histories.

From these, customers can generate their own reports, combining data from any of the channels. For example, they can analyze crash stats for the various lanes they run, and drill down to common crash causes in various geographic regions. They can determine the demographics and average incomes for residents in an area where they may be considering setting up a terminal. They can measure the economic impact of trucking in a given region. They can also set up pre-scheduled reports, so that the information that’s deployed is up to the minute.

Bryan said Vigillo’s data scientists have developed and integrated the channels. Customers then have the ability to generate their own reports and display data in whichever format they prefer (ie. PDF or Excel spreadsheet, and using whichever types of charts they prefer).

Users can easily send the reports out to executives, drivers, customers – or whomever else they choose.

Analyzing big data can be a costly proposition, however Bryan said Vigillo is using the pricing model it adopted for its popular CSA platform. Existing customers can add Athena for 35 cents a month per truck. New channels will soon be added, Bryan added, including freight management, legal updates, recruiting, freight volumes, EOBRs, etc. The goal, said Bryan, is to allow fleets of all sizes to cost-effectively tap into big data.

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