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Wednesday , 10 April 2024

Interview: “Our strategy is to offer a strongly differentiated solution to complex transportation”

Vipen Malhotra

Vipen Malhotra

In an Interview with TrafficInfraTech, Vipen Malhotra, President, Arya Omnitalk Wireless Solutions Pvt Ltd says that with both its in-house designed hardware (GPS units) as well as state-of-the-art web platform offerings, the Company has an enviable list of happy customers from the industry’s reputed players

Arya Omnitalk is the market leader in many areas — the main ones being vehicle tracking systems and mobile radio services. Can you tell us about the evolution of mobile radio services in the last two decades?

Our first venture was to provide shared mobile radios as a service provider (Omnitalk), licensed by the Department of Telecommunications (called Public Mobile Radio Trunking Services). After a few loss-making years, in 2002, we decided to merge with our competitor (Arya) as a 50:50 joint venture and through sharing towers and other resources. The company turned profitable as a result of almost doubling our operating margins. Today, we enjoy undisputed market leadership across 18 cities where we provide this mission critical service to a host of industry verticals such as public utilities, municipal corporations, airlines, oil & gas, security, construction and retail industries.

The application areas are centred around managing money, men, materials and machines on the move through frequent, short bursts of instant yet mission critical city-wide voice communication at the press of a button. No dialling, no congestion, one-to-many push-to-talk instant city-wide communication.

As BPOs (business process outsourcing) started gaining traction in the early 2000s, we were compelled to provide a solution to overcome their employee transportation challenges. Thus, was born our telematics business, which over the last 15 years scaled up to a leadership position with installation of over 100,000 GPS (global positioning system) units across various industries such as oil & gas, public safety, coal mines, BPO employee transportation, hazardous chemicals, cash transportation, electronic toll collection, public transport, taxi cabs, RMC, public safety & smart city integrated transport management as well as solid waste management.

Telematics 1

Fleet management is an essential component in the transport sector especially in the logistics segment. What are the special features of your technology? What is your strategy to expand the market reach?

Our strategy is to offer a strongly differentiated solution to complex transportation problems with customized applications and dashboards, and through offering an integrated IoT (internet of things) platform through our time-tested and reliable tracking devices. This supports a multitude of analog and digital sensors for almost all industry verticals and high-availability web portals with industry best uptimes.

Our systems integration expertise, certifications (MIL 810 C/D/F, IP 67, EMI,AIS 140), industry-standard security of the web platform, ability to rapidly customize for ongoing innovations, value addition for the end customer, industry best uptime for both the hardware & Fleet Vigil web platform, GPS E-Lock and implementation of large complex installations involving the integration of multiple technologies are the special features that have helped us in projects like Mahanadi coal fields , Surat smart city solid waste management and Vadodara smart city integrated transport management system. The projects have earned us the reputation of being India’s leading player in the telematics space.

What are the challenges for the telematics segment in India? How is IoT being incorporated?

While it is true that the Government has mandated an AIS (Automotive Industry Standard) 140 GPS tracking unit for all new commercial vehicles, the states have been unable to implement it for existing commercial vehicles (already plying) because the state-wide control rooms are still not coming up to receive emergency alerts–the purpose for which the mandate was conceived. As a result, the exponential growth anticipated by industry players has not materialized even for new commercial vehicles which, because of the economy slowing down, have witnessed a 45% decline, leaving many companies saddled with huge unsold inventories.

The GPS industry still continues to be very fragmented with a large number of local players, and several angel investor-funded players pushing the price points down for both hardware and subscription charges. Anticipating a huge upsurge in demand, many companies got certifications from Government-registered agencies viz. ARAI & ICAT for their AIS 140 GPS units, without going through the due diligence of either putting a large enough number of units in operation in diverse geographies for a year or subjecting the web platform to the rigours of handling tens of thousands of vehicles sending location updates every 15 seconds, with the expectation of better than 99.9% platform uptime required by serious fleet management customers. This is likely to cause many unsuspecting customers to get disillusioned with the GPS industry when they actually buy without due diligence having been done toward a field-proven and reliable solution.

Another important solution you offer is the highway/toll management system. With the incorporation of FASTag, has there been any change in the tolling scenario in India? What exactly are your solutions for highway toll management?

Having built our own toll management solution and an advanced traffic management system through first acquiring domain expertise in the field through deployment of overseas solutions in India, we have garnered a significant share of the Indian tolling & ATMS (advanced traffic management system) industry through implementing it across 750 lanes as on date (and still counting) and some path-breaking ATMS projects implemented on a wireless backbone in place of the conventional optical fibre platform. Both our TMS (transportation management system) and ATMS solutions have found industry-wide acceptance as we continue to enrich them with new technology-based functionalities and customization based on unique end customer requirements.

You are also implementing transport management solutions for smart cities. Urban traffic management & road safety is one key area of smart city projects. What are the solutions from Arya Omnitalk?

Our smart city portfolio includes:

  • ITMS (integrated transport management system)
  • SWM (solid waste management)
  • Traffic & surveillance solutions
  • Smart parking solutions
  • Emergency response systems as part of city ICT (information and communication technologies) upgradation

During the pandemic, many solutions for traffic/transport have been finding applications in Covid-related areas…

We built a mobile workforce management platform as a mobile application to not only track employees but prevent them from entering Covid containment zones.

From 2002 to 2021. The journey has been long. What are the key factors that have influenced the company’s growth?

We have been focussed on delivering an industry best TCO (total cost of ownership) through offering a digital, high-availability management platform and field-proven integrated solutions, tailor-made to deliver the best value for an end customer’s investment. We have grown at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 20% plus since inception.

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