I am a big fan of niche Big Data applications. Here’s one focused on the trucking industry!
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with some introduction about yourself as well as Vigillo.
Steve Bryan: The Latin word vigillo means vigilant. That is the backbone of what we do for our customers. We are just past our seventh year in business. I founded the company in 2007. Essentially, what we do is help trucking companies manage the vast amounts of data that are generated by and collected about them and their operations. We deal mostly with the trucking companies that operate the large 18-wheeler commercial motor vehicles that haul the nation’s freight up and down the nation’s highways. We have several thousands of them who subscribe to various analytics and reporting services that we offer to the industry.
They focus on a couple of key areas. The legal and regulatory compliance that face motor carriers are staggeringly huge. There are thousands of regulations that they have to adhere to. We help them understand that many of them are data driven. They are programs from the US Department of Transportation, the various State Department of Transportations, DMVs, and from law enforcements all over the country. All of these generate a lot of data. We help them understand that.
The other major area of data that we assist with is generated by the vehicles. A modern 18-wheeler today is a lot closer to a jet fighter than you’d perhaps think. There are GPS, engine monitoring, and fuel monitoring. There are satellite communications. There are forward and rearward looking radars, proximity detection systems, lean departure systems, and all kinds of safety and efficiency technology that exists not only on the tractor but on the trailers, and even embedded within the freight. There are huge clouds of data that are generated around every single 18-wheeler that’s running down the road. If you multiply that by the 5 million large trucks that operate every single day around the country and operating over 400 billion miles a year, you begin to start to imagine the volume of data that we deal with. That’s what the company is about.
Sramana Mitra: How does the data get generated? What are the touch points of the actual data generation?
Steve Bryan: Good question. They’re separated into two: what the government does and what the company itself does just to make itself better and more efficient. From the government perspective, think of law enforcement. We all see the state troopers who are out there driving around. In each of the 50 states, there is a segment of state patrol that has been specifically trained to do law enforcement on large commercial vehicles. They have a different level of training. They understand what to look for when they see an issue or a problem with a large truck. Whenever you see a large truck pulled over alongside the highway by a state patrolman, you can be well assured that the patrolman is not just an everyday trooper. He has gone through federal training to understand what to look for in those trucks.