How does PeopleNet’s IoTT technology work to bring information from the cab to you?

Randy Boyles, PeopleNet

By Randy Boyles, PeopleNet Senior Vice President, Tailored Solutions

This post is the second in a series explaining the Internet of Transportation Things™ (IoTT) and how PeopleNet plans to change the fleet management industry based on this platform. In our first post, we explained, “What is the Internet of Transportation Things™ (IoTT)?”


M2M is not a new concept.  The term was first used in the mid-nineties to describe technology that allowed wired and wireless devices to communicate to other like-devices.  At the time, M2M systems tended to be “hub and spoke” models – closed systems in which communication tended to be one to many and many to one.  Most telematics companies fit this model. Today M2M has been recast as the foundation for the Internet of Things (IoT) that Mark discussed in the previous post. Now it refers to the interconnection of uniquely identifiable, embedded, computing-like devices within the existing Internet infrastructure. Significantly, the new model supports “many to many” communication and is supported by simple, powerful, and open source development tools.

At the center of IoT and specifically IoTT (the Internet of Transportation Things™) is a message broker. Devices communicate with one another by publishing and subscribing to a message broker. In PeopleNet’s case, there are two kinds of message brokers.  One resides in each truck equipped with the PeopleNet Mobile Gateway (PMG).

PeopleNet Mobile Gateway Graphic

The second resides in the Internet “Cloud”.  This means that sensors on the vehicle, such as tire pressure, speed, RPMs, etc. will have their data published to the message broker on the PMG. That broker will in turn publish the data to the broker in the cloud.

PeopleNet Mobile Gateway Cloud Graphic

Theoretically, any other device in the vehicle (tablet, cell phone, auxiliary computer) can subscribe locally to all the data available and other devices and systems (dispatch systems, maintenance systems, etc) can subscribe to the same data in the Cloud. In the case of PeopleNet, vendor partners and customers will not only find it simpler to access vehicle data, but will have greater control in the selection of the data they want. Opportunities for phone and tablet-based mobile applications will arise as well.

PeopleNet Mobile Gateway Cloud Graphic with Smart Devices

Data published to the PMG is immediately published again to the Cloud and subscribers in the truck and elsewhere are immediately provided the information.  Subscribers include not only customers but also partners who add value to that data. Vusion Analytics, dispatch and maintenance software providers are some of the subscribers who will provide added benefit for PeopleNet customers.

PeopleNet Mobile Gateway Cloud Graphic with Analytics Layer

Thus, in the IoTT world, tire pressure sensors, weight sensors, ABS brake information, and engine data, are all published first to the message broker in the PMG and thence to the Cloud. Where there is data that does not currently fit the publish/subscribe model, such as engine control monitor data, that data is first obtained traditionally on the PMG and then published to the broker.

PeopleNet is adding its own spin to information available via publish/subscribe by adding “Video Intelligence”, our own solution for liability, safety, and surveillance around the tractor and trailer.  Look for a deeper dive on Video Intelligence as it relates to the Internet of Transportation Things™ in Part 3 of our IoTT series.

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