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Five predictions for an unpredictable 2021

January 25, 2021  By Paul Wilson, Senior Director Commercial Development, Industrial IoT Division, ZTR

Paul Wilson, senior director commercial development, industrial IoT division, ZTR

Milwaukee – What’s in store for the construction industry? How will OEMs and rental companies adapt to better serve their customers? How are customer needs changing? And in the face of a global pandemic – what does recovery look like? The even bigger question? Who will emerge stronger and how will they do it? Leading global telematics provider ZTR knows connectivity and technology adoption will play a key role.

No one predicted the onset of COVID-19 and the degree to which the pandemic would impact the industry. But in many ways, it catapulted us forward. Here’s what we predict for 2021:

  1. Touchless services will dramatically increase

The need to adapt and stay connected will be more readily accepted and expected. The COVID environment may persist well into 2022 and the demand for touchless functionality and associated solutions will become more widespread. More data will flow as a result of expanded services including:

  • Remote diagnostics
  • Remote control
  • Automated monitoring
  • Enhanced predictive and remote maintenance
  • More intuitive and context-driven user interfaces

Businesses that have already invested in remote connectivity enabled by telematics will emerge from the pandemic even stronger. Those who haven’t invested are going to need to catch up in 2021 and be ready for a different operating future.

  1. OEMS will shift from selling technology to unlocking and providing valuable services

Many OEMs understand the importance of technology how that translates to the addition of valuable services for the life of the equipment. Some OEMs are starting to recognize there’s a gap in the technology space that they need to fill. They’ll move beyond the technology sale to capitalize on the greater opportunity for long-term revenue. By leveraging telematics and the power of connection, they’ll provide improved machine design, greater safety, new services and expanded customer support that they couldn’t previously offer.

  1. Data brokerage, partnerships and APIS will rule

Businesses that embrace the power of data sharing will achieve greater maturity in their digital evolution – knowing that by doing so, everyone wins. There is a growing need for simplicity, which is possible only if implementation and integration are unlocked. Increased access to rich data insights is inevitable, and the complexity will demand a simple approach. It will be necessary for businesses to act pragmatically to serve their customers. When the industry works together, effectively combining their individual OEM, rental and general contractor strengths into a collective purpose, data sharing becomes a key model of what it means to operate stronger together.

  1. Sustainability will become a crucial trend

As we continue to use up more the world’s resources, recognizing our own inefficiencies and identifying ways we can operate with greater efficacy will become a central focus and tenet upon which many companies will operate. Businesses need to embrace a global perception versus a regional one and create sustainable products that in turn will generate revenue with sustainable services.

Data insights enable proactive equipment maintenance, fleet health monitoring and smarter machine designs. Companies will be looking to leverage telematics to reduce machine idling, better allocate resources, manage transport and service logistics and measure in-field performance data to meet elevated standards.

  1. Only the strong will survive

Established companies are moving up the digital maturity curve and face the threat of disruption from innovations offered by smaller technology companies and startups. Mature companies will need to have a team devoted to the new and innovative to stay relevant. Successful businesses will elevate the adoption of their digital strategy and re-evaluate their future technology requirements and the need for a strong provider/partner. Choosing a trusted and capable telematics partner – one that demonstrates both expertise and vision will be crucial. Telematics providers who are investing in the future will prove their value through seamless, efficient and targeted IoT innovations that help transform their customers’ business.

What it all means

Technology users in construction environments will see it is no longer enough to focus solely on the basics (run hours and location). Enhanced machine data and machine control is driving the future of the industrial IoT. The telematics industry is going beyond simple monitoring and moving faster toward configuration and control, not only to understand what’s happening but to control it, predict it and serve customers with remote or hands-off protocols. Those who emerge stronger will do so by recognizing that the importance of technology isn’t just about a tangible product or device, it’s what you do with it that sets you apart.

Paul Wilson is the Senior Director of Commercial Development for AEM member company ZTR’s Industrial IoT Division. ZTR is a proven off-road telematics company and leader in intelligent industrial equipment management solutions. For more information, visit

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