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Fleet managers face these challenges even in 5G

Fleet managers face these challenges even in 5G
While 5G can benefit fleet management in many ways, there are still various barriers that cause hesitancy among users to adopt. These include 5G infrastructure, cost and cybersecurity.
While 5G can benefit fleet management in many ways, there are still various barriers that cause hesitancy among users to adopt. These include 5G infrastructure, cost and cybersecurity.
Currently, the mainstream cellular technology is still 4G. While 5G adoption is growing, its infrastructure is not that mature yet. “Coverage will vary from country to country and will also have differing penetration between metropolitan and rural geographies,” said Andrew Rossington, VP of Next Generation Platform at Teletrac Navman. “5G is based on high-frequency utilization, which makes it highly applicable for high-density areas, but not as well-suited for rural or long-distance geographies.”
This, then, may affect the performance of fleet management solutions using 5G. “There’s a great disparity in terms of the maturity of 5G infrastructure, even in the U.S. and Canada. While 5G coverage is quickly growing, it’s still spotty at best, especially outside of urban centers, which severely limits its practical usefulness in fleet management solutions,” said Terrence Wang, Head of Marketing at FreightPath. “For example, at FreightPath we’re looking at 5G’s application for long-haul trucking. While the low-power benefits of 5G are exciting, the poor coverage across rural and remote areas is a major drawback.”

Hesitancy towards 5G migration

Meanwhile, upgrading to 5G can be a huge undertaking for fleet operators who are currently still using the current mainstream cellular technologies. Migrating to 5G will have to entail new equipment, hardware and service fees. “The question we should ask is whether fleet management is ready for the use of the 5G network. Majority of fleets are using 3G/4G networks in communication equipment, electronic logging devices and tracking systems, and it will take a considerable amount of time and investment for them to shift from 3G networks to 5G networks. Upgrading legacy technology across an entire fleet is a momentous task, so fleet managers should work closely with technology vendors and security consultants to ensure smooth, secure transitions and avoid service disruptions,” said Shaurya Singh, Industry Analyst for Security at Frost & Sullivan. “But the real question is at what cost? Are these nice-to-have or must-have services? Will these services remain as niche or will a small population of fleets subscribe it as it further increases the service fee.”
“Challenges for fleet and asset operators will include cost, hardware availability, current hardware lifespan expectancy and coverage. Additional considerations will center around the user experience – how to ‘hand off’ to lower-speed networks and how applications adapt to this,” Rossington said. “In line with historical trends, cost implications of 5G adoption will cause slow initial growth. The cost implications will include appropriate hardware to drive 5G solutions along with data costs. As growth and take-up occurs, costs will reduce to levels that are commercially acceptable to operators.


Finally, cybersecurity is another main challenge for operators seeking to adopt 5G. Without proper protection, hardware and equipment used in fleet management may be subject to cyberattacks or may be exploited by hostile actors who use these devices as avenues to launch further attacks, thereby jeopardizing fleets and worse, the lives of drivers.
“Attacks such as DoS/DDoS, remote access/taking control over the vehicle to carry out an attack, 5G infrastructure failure due to a hack leading to traffic congestion and database attack will hurt the fleet and overall transportation network of a country. Cybersecurity should be at the top of the mind for fleet operators; it will play an essential role in keeping the fleets secure and not attracting negative media attention,” Singh said. “Some of the measures one can employ are endpoint protection, 5G network hardening, investing in cybersecurity technologies, software encryption, following best practices.”

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