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Uptake gears up for local fleet market debut

IT company combines AI and machine learning for vehicle uptime


IT firm Uptake Technologies has put its structure in place as it prepares to officially present its industrial artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) offering to the trucking market at this month’s Technical and Maintenance Conference (TMC) in Melbourne.

Much of the local heavy lifting for the Chicago-headquartered firm is to be shouldered by vice president, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia vice president Tom Fisher and Australia and New Zealand sales director Malcolm Thom.

The Uptake pledge is to give relevant machinery owners accurate planning insight into the state of their assets through the data that so many modern units collect to increase up-time and reduce breakdowns and unplanned or premature maintenance.

While the company has options already in use in a range of industries, the main event product-wise for trucking is dubbed Asset IO for Fleet.

The company describes it as amplifying “the existing telematics and workshop management systems of their customers.

“It leverages vehicle diagnostics and driver behaviour data to easily predict and prevent impending failures, helping fleet managers and transport operators improve productivity and reduce unplanned downtime.

“In order to provide accurate predictive insights, Uptake also leverages third-party and proprietary contextual data sources, such as weather and traffic data.”

Fisher has held Asia Pacific roles for more than a decade and has worked in the ‘internet of things’ (IoT) sector since 2011.

“We are excited by the opportunity across the Australia, New Zealand and SE Asia region, and in fact have had a number of valued customers in Australia since 2016,” he says.

“This investment in the region signifies Uptake’s commitment to being closer to our customers and offers Australian transport businesses access to our world-leading AI/ML and data science-driven insights used by some of the world’s most demanding fleet operators.”

Thom has been around trucks for more than 30 years, starting out as a sales cadet with International Harvester, ironically, another Chicago-headquartered firm.

He progressed to Rockwell International and the Tripmaster data recorder before moving into GPS and telematics, just as those advances were building momentum, and then to network provider Telstra.

“As I tell my customers, the last 20 years I’ve helped them collect data; now, I’m here to help them manage it,” Thom tells ATN.

“They are sinking under it.”

He believes the years working with other industries locally prepares Uptake properly to roll out the fleet solution

“A number of the major mining companies are users,” Thom says.

“Caterpillar dealers across the globe, with a number of the major ones in the US and here in Australia, are heavy users of the product.

“Experience with heavy-haul packs and heavy Cat trucks is substantial and on some of the private railroads with some of the biggest mining companies.

“The other area is energy and wind turbines.”

Read how DHL and IBM linked on artificial intelligence, here

In the US, the company has been building a profile and a war chest through the decade to fund innovation and expansion, raising the equivalent of A$350 million for those purposes.

This year sees CEO Brad Keywell, the serial entrepreneur probably most known as the founder of e-commerce marketplace take out the EY Global Entrepreneur of the Year award, recognising Uptake’s “innovative culture and fast-paced growth of the world-leading global Industrial AI company.

According to EY, the former Ernst & Young, Uptake has become the fastest start-up to reach a US$2billion valuation, since being founded in 2014.

With six start-ups under his belt, including transport management firm Echo Global Logistics, Keywell is a technology buff from the start of his career, so it appears familiarity has built insight into how to approach commercial vehicles.

“The data that we are using to power our AI models is all of the data that’s been collected by the engine control module [ECM],” Uptake senior sales director Braden Pastalaniec explains to ATN from Chicago.

“It’s being transmitted through a number of ways: prevalent over the past 10-12 years has been the installation of aftermarket telematics devices that initially were for GPS tracking but are being plugged into the ECM and they are collecting a lot more information.

“So, we work with a number of telematics providers to ingest that customer’s data from their Cloud environment into our platform.

“We’ve also begun to work with OEMs, both from a chassis and power train perspective, but also different componentry OEMs that are all connecting data initially as well, to take that into our platform.”


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