Mike Ogle may no longer be in the IT channel, but he is still dealing with advanced technology.
Formerly market development director at IT services firm Simpl, Ogle joined Navman in November as general manager of its Wireless Data Division.
He is now responsible for steering the success of the company’s fleet management systems, including satellite vehicle tracking and mobile data devices. The systems can be offered as total hardware, software and services packages, often as a managed service, says Ogle.
And the technology is catching on fast.
“The uptake is huge. There was double-digit growth in the first few years, and there is still significant growth now,” he says. “Companies are seeing the value of having visibility of their fleets.”
Vehicle tracking is provided through Navman’s Halo Qube devices installed in a vehicle. The devices contain GPS (global positioning system) processors to pinpoint the vehicle’s location. This information is then transmitted over the data networks of cellular operators Vodafone and Telecom to a Navman service centre, which users can access over the internet.
This system is also used to send messages to mobile data devices in fleet vehicles, while Navman also offers combined navigation and messaging units.
Resellers for the products tend to be those with existing links with the transportation industry, such as traditional two-way radio installers, as well as telecommunications providers, says Ogle.
In New Zealand Vodafone and Telecom resell the products, while in Australia resellers include companies that have originally sold mobile technology to the trucking industry.
While not strictly the domain of traditional IT resellers, the technology is increasingly merging with IT infrastructure and IT service providers can play a role in ensuring back-end systems are in place to support the technology, says Ogle.
“It is something anyone with clients in the transport industry should be talking about,” he says.
While the technology still requires some level of systems integration, it is not as complex as what IT services companies work with, says Ogle.
“It is not as much of a consultative sell. We have a solution and find customers for that solution. That is fundamentally the most obvious difference with the IT industry.”
Because it is a relatively young technology, there are still many untapped opportunities, Ogle says.
“There are all sorts of opportunities which people are just beginning to understand. New ideas are coming out all the time.”
Ogle’s background at Simpl suits the role at Navman well, as his division focuses on business-to-business sales.
“The company has been successful in the consumer market and has shown in a short time it can be successful in the business-to-business market too,” he says.
Ogle spent three years at Simpl and is still a board member and shareholder. He was attracted to Navman because of its impressive growth, he says.
“Not many New Zealand companies can say they develop hardware, software and run a services business — there aren’t many in the world who can say that.”