Navman Wireless ditches co-lo for cloud

Fleet-tracking company struck deal with AWS to migrate the infrastructure running its Director application

Navman Wireless’ December launch of Director represented not just a new name for the company’s GPS fleet-tracking application but also a shift in the IT infrastructure used to deliver its capabilities.

Navman Wireless Director is the successor to the company’s OnlineAVL2 offering (itself an update to OnlineAVL, which launched in the Australian market in 2003).

Director has a brand new look and feel and improved usability, said the company’s APAC vice-president Ian Daniel, but its headline feature is the addition of its Safety Analytics tool.

“It’s pretty special,” Daniel said. “Safety Analytics is where we have a look at how a vehicle is getting driven and relate that to the posted speed on the road that it’s getting driven on.”

“In a nutshell we can understand if you’re in a 50kph zone or a school zone and we can understand how you’re driving that vehicle around the corner and how fast you’re accelerating or braking,” he said.

Data derived from the GPS-enabled device in the vehicle, which includes a three-way accelerometer, is rolled into a scorecard that can give a business an indication of how safely it is being driven.

“You want to understand if people are breaking the posted speeds and you also want to understand if they’re not breaking the posted speed but they’re going round a tight corner way too quickly,” Daniel said.

Behind the scenes, the infrastructure used to deliver the Web-based application also underwent a change with the release of Director.

In APAC, Navman Wireless had previously co-located the infrastructure that ran its fleet-tracking system inside Telstra’s network. However, with Director the company struck a deal with Amazon Web Services, and moved to the cloud.

“We hadn’t been using cloud, but we wanted to scale and you need the agility [of cloud] when you actually want to deploy pretty quickly,” Daniel said.

“It seemed really logical to work with somebody like Amazon, and obviously creating that kind of global relationship with Amazon as well, so we can get really good leverage across the globe rather than just on a regional basis.”

The company initially decided to go with cloud-based infrastructure for Director and assessed the state of the cloud market before negotiating an agreement with AWS.

“There’s all these really good niche players in market, but at the end of the day we are a global business, so it was very logical for us to have that relationship with someone that was a global player — because where are we going to be in two, three, four, five years? What’s our reach? What’re our growth aspirations?” Daniel said.

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“If we want to get into Japan, we can get there in a heartbeat because we know Amazon Web Services are on the ground in Japan. So we thought for the strategic advantage, you’re better of going with the global player,” Daniel said.

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