Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Trimble adopts blockchain to alleviate logistics pain points

Steve Rogerson
May 1, 2018
 
Trimble Transportation Enterprise is using its new blockchain network and Hortonworks global data management with machine learning models to alleviate pain points across the transportation and logistics industry.
 
With Trimble's blockchain network, Hortonworks DataFlow (HDF) and Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) have allowed Trimble's customers to increase efficiency by modernising transportation industry systems.
 
Trimble is an enterprise software provider for more than 2000 transportation and logistic companies and claims to be the largest data science organisation in the industry, supporting thousands of customers, cabs and trailers on the road.
 
The freight and transportation industry relies on inherently manual systems, where spreadsheets and individual files are updated by each party every time a new action is required. This causes a lack of accountability and zero visibility into important data stored in file-based systems. Using a blockchain enterprise architecture approach, Trimble's data-powered services provide benefits across the transportation and logistics space. For example, Trimble is transforming contract freight RFP-bid-award-commitment tracking, farm-to-fork models, food safety and other complex logistics planning and execution scenarios.
 
"Our work with Hortonworks has allowed us to deliver next-generation tools to our thousands of customers in one easy-to-adopt platform," said Trimble’s chief technology officer Timothy Leonard. "We've provided enhanced analytics, real-time vehicle data, financial planning and logistics execution to allow for record provenance, security, faster payments and organisational visibility. Hortonworks' data management platforms have allowed us to elevate the freight bidding process dramatically."
 
A key challenge Trimble faced was to acquire data from multiple sources and devices across the transportation ecosystem. HDF made it seamless for Trimble to ingest, transform and route all the data smoothly into a data lake. Key data items relevant to the transportation and logistics processes are pushed by HDF into Trimble's inter-related collection of seven blockchains. While HDF enabled data provenance on its streaming data, the blockchains enabled auditability and immutability to the data powering its processes.
 
Currently, the transportation industry does not support new currency forms and has both siloed communications processes and disparate data storage systems that require actions to be performed manually. By using HDF, HDP and blockchain ledgers to manage the contractual process, data exchanged via Trimble's blockchain network will allow its clients to use Trimble coins. This in turn requires little manipulation, provides full audit capabilities and allows any authorised user to join the network and use industry standard integration models. As a result, Trimble customers have experienced a 50 per cent reduction in manual work required with old, antiquated systems.
 
By leveraging HDF, Trimble is providing transportation companies with the visibility they need to prevent problems before they occur via its in-production blockchains. Trimble has seen a double-digit revenue increase over the past year, enabling the company to create business intelligence products and analyse and monetise data using the same architecture. In addition, Hortonworks has allowed Trimble to implement a global data management strategy, which has helped:
 
• Provide continued support to its thousands of customers;
• Consolidate data sets for the 95 per cent of carriers without access to revenue-based opportunities to drive pricing around fuel and freight costs and lane analysis;
• Inspire new products, jobs and data science projects;
• Manage, govern and analyse data across its ecosystem to share valuable insights for key stakeholders; and
• Move the logistics and transportation industry's siloed, legacy products into the next generation with IoT and machine learning
 
"Trimble is at the forefront of its industry by bringing big data, machine learning and blockchain technologies to its transportation and logistics customers for superior business intelligence," said Michael Ger, general manager at California-based Hortonworks. "We are excited to be working with Trimble to transform the way it delivers value to customers and are pleased with Trimble's incredible business results."
 
Hortonworks is a provider of enterprise-grade, global data management platforms and services that deliver actionable intelligence from any type of data for over half of the Fortune 100.