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Key Benefits

  • Accelerates time-to-market for new applications
  • Enables device connectivity for data capture
  • Supports Big Data and analytics

A taxi and a truck collide in New York City, and a passenger in the taxi is injured. Everyone disagrees on what happened and who is at fault. Now, with lawyers on all sides squaring off, a painful sum of money is at stake for the taxi’s insurer. Fortunately, the taxi was equipped with a package of sensors and data recorders installed under the guidance of AssureNet. using AssureNet’s ClearView software, the insurer can use the recorded data, including video and audio, and advanced analytics to prove exactly what happened.

AssureNet built ClearView on the InterSystems platform for breakthrough applications. ClearView guides the device installation process, collects, integrates, and manages all of the data, and provides analytics and reports for use by insurers and fleet owners to cut losses and improve safety and service.

An innovative application driven by automobile telematics

AssureNet’s founders had solved similar problems before, using vehicle-based telematics in the long-distance trucking market to cut insurance losses. In the process, AssureNet’s system reduced accident rates by 87% per million miles driven. But to successfully leverage it’s proprietary algorithms in the big-city livery market, with high volumes of data streaming in real-time from thousands of vehicles, AssureNet required new thinking on which platform technology to use.

“We needed to focus on what our value was. It wasn’t building a platform,” observes AssureNet Chairman, Chris Brogan. “Our value was in putting together device packages and creating a process for installation and setup, which is much more important than it sounds, and then integrating the data with our algorithms and analytics to offer services to our customers.”

Scaling up for Big Data

After a successful prototype reduced taxi accident rates by 50%, AssureNet’s first customer wanted the commercialized solution quickly. Under pressure and short on development staff, AssureNet turned to Ready Computing, a software services firm, for advice on the best and fastest way forward. Ready Computing assessed the technology and the market and proposed a solution architecture with:

  • An adapter framework to provide connectivity for devices installed in each taxi
  • A high performance integration engine and transactional database to store telemetry, audio, and video, and to irrefutably associate each taxi with its devices and unique data set
  • A real-time analytical database and AssureNet’s analytics to provide different views into the data, and actionable information for customers

The InterSystems platform was a perfect fit for this architecture with its single technology stack and capabilities for device connectivity and integration, high performance data storage, and real-time analytics. It had the added benefit of reducing complexity, as the transactional and analytic databases are one and the same. Few, if any, other solutions could provide the same speed, reliability, and capabilities of the InterSystems platform.

“We had used Oracle before but didn’t want to go that route again,” says Brogan. “Its event handling wasn’t good enough, it lacked many of the other capabilities we needed, and we projected a much larger development budget with Oracle, making it too expensive for our licensing model.”

A mountain of data, analytics to tell its stories

AssureNet now provides a comprehensive suite of technology-based risk management and loss reduction services to the commercial automobile insurance industry and fleet operators. The software enables insurers to look at a package of different sensors and data recorders in a taxi as a single unit. Sensors may include GPS, accelerometer, collision avoidance and lane departure indicators, audio, and video. So instead of creating an insurance program around a particular device, such as a GPS recorder, and hoping that the data helps reduce losses, programs can be created around a group of devices and services from AssureNet proven to deliver value.

“With ClearView and the analytics capabilities we get from InterSystems,” Brogan explains, “insurers have the data they need to manage risk and reduce losses. Fleet owners can use it to predict risk and to look at driver behaviors, and then begin to modify those behaviors to improve safety and the bottom line.” ClearView includes modules for:

  • Guiding the device installation process to ensure that each taxi is uniquely tied to its devices and the information they produce.
  • Tracking and managing claims, from notice of a loss to closing of the case. Now, an insurer’s claims manager can bring into court hard data and video, irrefutably linked to the vehicle involved, to settle a claim, often against an opposing claims manager without such data.
  • Analytics to find trends and predict risks based on historical data for an entire fleet or individual vehicles or drivers.

A fleet operator could, for example, drill into the data and see that, given these weather conditions, this time of day, and this driver, there’s a high probability that an accident will occur. So then it’s possible to act and take that driver off the streets, reducing the overall risk to the fleet. An insurance program built around this type of capability can result in lower premiums for the fleet owner, fewer payouts for the insurer, and safer taxis for consumers.

Big Data drives better taxis

The next time you slip into a taxi in New York City, and soon other metropolitan areas, you can relax knowing that its safety is improving thanks to AssureNet devices and software. With the telematics and analytics provided by AssureNet, insurers and fleets can even tell which drivers are texting (when they shouldn’t be) and which ones are too aggressive.

9158189_l taxi“We knew we’d be looking at lots of data, a Big Data problem with complex processing requirements,” says Brogan. “We looked at lots of ways to do it, using MapReduce, whatever. Ready Computing’s assessment sold us on the InterSystems platform, and we haven’t looked back for a second. It’s been incredible what we’ve produced and how quickly we progressed.”

Going forward, a key element of the ClearView architecture is that it is “third-party ready.” Through the services it exposes, other developers will be able to access the data and create solutions no one has yet thought of: maybe an app for passengers to choose the safest cab? Maybe helping good drivers earn more by allowing passengers to bid for the safest cabs? Cars on autopilot using sensor data for cooperative adaptive cruising? “We’re going to see a lot of exciting things in the next ten years,” Brogan says. “There’s a lot we can do with what we’ve created.”