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Geotab: Why the #1 telematics company in the world chose Ontario

This article originally appeared on Invest in Ontario. To view the original post click here.

"We chose Oakville, Ontario because we can access the specialized pool of talent we need from several world-class academic institutions."

Geotab is using big data to help define the future of mobility


Geotab is a telematics firm serving more than 40,000 companies worldwide, with 1.7 million vehicles operating its fleet management technology – and the company continues to strengthen its position as a global leader, having delivered 40% year-over-year growth for five consecutive years.


Geotab differentiates itself by providing an open platform solution that allows customers to add capabilities to their telematics data, with further customization available through the integration of mobile apps, software add-ins and hardware accessories found in the Geotab Marketplace. In 2018, Geotab introduced a new tool, data.geotab.com, allowing data to be utilized to improve city-wide efficiency.


Changing the public’s attitude towards telematics


GPS usage was confined to the military and was made available for consumer applications in the 1990s. This powerful new technology had many uses but Neil Cawse, Geotab’s CEO, saw an opportunity to leverage position and data analytics for businesses in a way never before used. This application today may look obvious but back then the best applications were not very clear. The original goal of the platform was “to help businesses boost productivity, increase efficiency and improve driver safety,” says Cawse. And although ‘vehicle tracking’ was first met with skepticism due to its association with ‘Big Brother,’ the powerful benefits for businesses and drivers soon won over the critics.


Geotab’s persistence has indeed paid off, as the company now provides fleet management solutions to top Fortune 500 companies and was recently ranked the #1 telematics company in the world by ABI Research. It’s also the first telematics company to receive FIPS 140-2 validation for its cryptographic library. This designation has put Geotab under a spotlight, helping the company secure the largest telematics contract in history by the Government Services Administration (GSA) fleet, which includes more than 200,000 U.S. government vehicles. Geotab also landed another large contract when the State of California took notice.


Ontario’s diverse talent and ecosystem


The success of the company is supported by more than 1,000 Geotab employees across the globe, including nearly 450 who work out of the head office in Oakville, Ontario. Looking at Ontario as a whole, Cawse sees it as a magnet for top talent from all over the world:

"Toronto and the surrounding cities have become a huge draw for immigration, which allows Geotab to attract highly skilled employees who are not necessarily born in Canada. [And] we are also directly connected to the tech ecosystem of the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, and Waterloo."

The company has taken advantage of its proximity to academic institutions, establishing a university research and development program and sharing its aggregate data for courses as well as data/AI challenges. Cawse says Oakville’s family-friendly environment was an added bonus. Since then, the company has expanded its presence in Ontario with the addition of its Waterloo office.


As the world changes, Geotab looks ahead


Geotab boasts one of the biggest diagnostic data sets in the world, processing more than 40 billion data points every day. This data constantly flows into computers running its AI-driven algorithms, which continues to deliver products that assist customers in optimizing their businesses. Beyond Geotab’s fleet customers, “AI is being used to generate additional value for municipalities for everything from predicting hazardous driving areas, intersection congestion and road quality -- all organically through a network of connected vehicles,” says Cawse.


As vehicles continue to be more connected to city infrastructure and the volume of electric vehicles increases, Geotab is looking ahead, building technology that will power the future of mobility. “Geotab is leading the way by leveraging transportation data to bring life-changing benefits to society,” adds Cawse.

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© 2019 Centre for Integrated Transportation and Mobility.

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