Trucking faces greatest change since deregulation: Greer

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Ray Greer, the chief executive officer of Omnitracs, believes the trucking industry is undergoing its greatest period of change since deregulation.

“Every cab will have a computer in it, and that computer is going to lead to a convergence of connected devices,” he said, kicking off his company’s fourth Outlook user conference. “It’s in my mind one of the most rapid-changing, transformational times in trucking.”

The underlying technology has certainly changed, and not exclusively with a recent mandate for electronic logging devices in the U.S.

“The pace of acceleration is phenomenal,” Greer said, referring to changes that have come in the company’s history. Three decades ago just 60,000 computers were connected to the internet, 15% of households had computers, and digital cell phone technology was just emerging. “We’ve come a long way.”

Today, discussions focus on issues like autonomous trucks, and “omni channels” that will see e-commerce driving the supply chains between brick-and-mortar operations and shipments to homes.

While carriers have been matched to shippers and their freight for many years, it’s becoming increasingly digital through what has become known as the “uberization” of freight. And how is big data going to push us closer to artificial intelligence, he asked.

“The industry is — just in this period of time — under great change.”

Omnitracs has itself undergone some significant transformations since being acquired by Vista Equity Partners in 2013.

In December 2013 alone it acquired Roadnet Technologies, introducing routing, scheduling, and mobile resource management software to support last mile deliveries. The Omnitracs XRS platform came the following November, offering enterprise-grade options for mobile devices. In October 2013, it launched Omnitracs Navigation, pulling data from more than 300,000 vehicles on the road. Critical Event Video came in August 2016, and last February it joined with Peloton Technology to work on platooning.

Today it counts more than 12,000 customers in more than 70 countries, helping to manage about 1.1 million assets.

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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking,, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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