Paul Ludwig, the CEO of HED® mentions, “Without CANect® Telematics, the technical specialist would have been on the phone for two hours trying to diagnose the issue with no resolve, and ultimately having to go onsite to troubleshoot. It would take the technician another two hours once onsite to resolve the issue, returning the crane back into service three days after the failure. This failure would have resulted in the crane being out of service for 30 hours, costly travel for the technical specialist, and would take the specialist away from the office for the better part of three days. By working with our OEM customers to quantify the costs of these pain points, we create a telematics solution that brings real ROI to the end-users.”
With three decades of experience in developing and implementing vehicle control systems with off-highway equipment OEM’s, HED® brings a unique viewpoint as compared to many other telematics providers. “We have deep roots in understanding how these control systems work and we have been able to develop our telematics offerings with extreme levels of configurability,” states Ludwig. The company has built upon on its control systems’ unique configuration to each customer’s needs and developed a portfolio of telematics products that can scale across the various machine, market, channel, and end-user requirements.
A Natural Progression toward Telematics
For HED®, telematics has been an instinctive move from controlling the vehicle to monitoring the vehicle, repurposing the same Controller Area Network (CAN) data to effectively monitor critical vehicle parameters, gain insights into the vehicle and operator performance, and quickly and remotely troubleshoot any issues. “We have been using the CAN system to control the functions of the vehicle and are collecting the same CAN data to monitor the health and performance of vehicles,” says Ludwig.
We partner side by side with our customers to create a value proposition that will resonate with their customer base
HED® delivers a Platform-as-a-Service methodology, which is built with toolsets rather than predefined solutions. Through this approach, the customers are allowed to “pick and choose” what they need and configure how that tool is integrated into their overall solution. “Our customers serve a broad variety of vertical markets, including fire and rescue, construction, cranes, utility trucks, agriculture, and a wide variety of specialty markets such as trucks that vacuum sewers. Each customer needs a telematics solution that is suited to the needs of the users in their market, and that’s what we deliver,” informs Ludwig.
A Consultative Approach to Optimize the Vehicle Control System
The machines that HED®’s customers build range from cranes to state-of-the-art fire trucks, each having their own level of intelligence and capabilities. Keeping the varied client demand in mind, HED® has designed the CANect® embedded software to be completely configurable. Whether the customer wants to write their own applications or use HED’s, they are able to define what CANbus messages are to be collected, its frequency, and where the data is stored. The configurability that HED® provides along with its on-device web experience—CANect® View® used for onsite experiences and remote real-time troubleshooting—gives OEMs nearly unlimited feature options.
Further, through its web portal tools, HED® has built out a framework that can be utilized in nearly any vertical and with a wide variety of potential users, which is where configurable dashboards come into play. Ludwig gives an example, “Imagine a whiteboard that allows you to place charts, tables, graphs, and images where you want and then define what values you want to be shown. Once you have your dashboard experience built, lock it down and publish it to all users of your portal.” That’s where the CANect® portal comes into the picture and provides a way for OEMs to build out their custom portal experience and push it out to their dealers, distributors, and customers, in a rapid and simple manner.
"We have deep roots in understanding how these systems work and we have been able to develop our telematics offerings with extreme levels of configurability"
Focused on Customization and Growth
By putting a strong emphasis on the OEM, HED® creates a customized telematics experience for its clients. Ludwig says, “We partner side by side with our customers to create a value proposition that will resonate with their customer base, and we work across the customer’s organization, including sales, finance and the exec suite, rather than just with engineering.” HED® employs a phase-gate development process that follows APQP standards and focuses on capturing customer requirements early on in the process and keeping the customer informed at each milestone of the project. This approach ensures the clients get what they envisioned and instills confidence in them that the risks are minimized as well. The company’s application engineers also act as telematics advisors, helping the customer identify what CAN parameters on the vehicle are worth tracking in order to build a solution that end-customers will enjoy. “We also help to decide where each piece of data should reside—datalog on the module, store in the cloud, or forward to end user,” adds Ludwig.
For HED®, a legacy has been established in developing and implementing vehicle control systems; moving forward, the company aims to grow organically while continuing its success streak. Plans to expand their position with OEMs in the U.S., both directly and via their distribution partners are in the pipeline. In addition, they are also planning to introduce controllers with next-generation microcontrollers and increased memory, and open platform software tools to their existing family of controllers, displays and telematics. HED® is closely watching the autonomous and AI space as its telematics competency will definitely play a part in both. The question is a more of “At what level?” Ludwig answers, “Our customers will help us define the next capabilities they need in order to add more functionality to their vehicle offering.”