Gurtam: For Together

Fleet Management has become more important today for on-time delivery in an effective way. It helps to minimize most of unproductive time and activities. GPS enabled solutions give vendors and receivers a clear idea about the exact position of their fleet and assure accurate delivery timings and fleet safety. 

Gurtam is a provider of innovative fleet management and IoT software enhancing the overall productivity of the logistic industry. Aliaksei Shchurko is the CEO of Gurtam taking the company to the next level of success with his extraordinary ideas, strategies, and management skills. In the interview with Insights Success, Aliaksei has delivered insights about GPS tracking industry and his company’s contributions for making fleet management more advance and effective.

Please say something about GURTAM.

Gurtam is a global leader in fleet management and IoT software development. Headquarters is located in Minsk (Belarus) and offices are in Moscow (Russia), Boston (US), Dubai (UAE), and Buenos Aires (Argentina). Gurtam provides fleet management solutions for more than 1000 partners from 130+ countries. They work directly with end-users – fleet and business owners. Among them, we have a lot of big brands – Coca-Cola, Lukoil, Mobil 1, DHL, Shell, and many others. 

What kind of vehicle tracking and fleet management (GPS) solutions do you offer?

Gurtam is a developer of Wialon, a multifunctional fleet management system used to track mobile and stationary assets – currently control more than 1,800,000 units all around the world. To distinguish ourselves from other companies we constantly increase the number of devices compatible with Wialon (now 1,500+), offer 24/7 technical support, and help to adjust the platform to any kind of projects or units.

Gurtam offers both a SaaS version and server-based products, named Wialon Hosting and Wialon Local, respectively. We collect and analyze just any data that a telematics device can provide, including sensors data and CAN bus readings. Our own Wialon data center comprises over 300 servers located in Belarus, Russia, the Netherlands, and the US.

Other products are GPS-Trace, a free hosted B2C service for personal tracking with over 75,000 users in 159 countries, and the new-generation WiaTag which is a mobile tracking application used as an alternative to tracking hardware.

Wialon also offers niche solutions for entering different vertical businesses:

Logistics is a service designed to control all stages of delivery and field services operations. It offers a web interface for dispatchers and a mobile application for drivers.  

NimBus for fixed route vehicles control comprises the core functionality of the tracking system and specialized tools for passenger transportation management.

Fleetrun is a web-application for maintenance planning, control, and expenditure recording.

Another product is flespi – an innovative backend platform comprising three components:

  • Telematics hub to connect any types of tracking devices to fleet management, IoT, or BI platforms.
  • Device management platform to take more control over your GPS hardware — send commands to trackers via SMS or GPRS from a generic GUI, carry advanced device diagnostics at every stage, easily visualize GPS data on dashboards, maps, and third-party platforms.
  • MQTT 5.0 broker – a fast, secure, and free communications provider for your IoT infrastructure featuring private namespace, WSS, ACLs, and rich API. 

What is the present scenario of GPS Tracking Solution industry? How are you contributing to making it better?

Now, technology is changing on a daily basis in a way that almost any operation can be managed remotely. Any device connected to the internet can be managed from anywhere. Internet of things was just a concept a few years ago and is now becoming a part of our business and life.

We are changing our platform and improving it rapidly. Not only tailoring it to the existing clients’ needs but also thinking forward and providing the most cutting edge solutions you will definitely need in future – even if now they may look too complicated.

The platform brings together satellite monitoring and video surveillance in one place for you to reduce accident rates, increase fuel economy, and improve safety on the road. We provide access to video from the monitoring interface, allow to view footages in reports and save on mobile data with event-based monitoring. Moreover, we are now moving from control with simple MDVRs to sophisticated ADAS systems minimizing the role of the human factor.

The world goes green. We control driver behavior in all types of vehicles and even trains making CO2 emissions considerably lower.

We implement the platform for safety and security: guard patrol, anti-theft, human tracking, prisoner tracking, cargo security, etc.

Smart agriculture is also following the IoT mindset with complex solutions combining transport and field monitoring with harvest control. Gurtam is currently working on the agricultural application that would allow companies getting the precise analytics in a basic interface. 

Say something about yourself. What are the difficulties/challenges that have you faced from the beginning of your career till today and what inspired you to become a GPS Tracking Solution provider?

16 years ago, my father, my cousin, and I established a family-owned software development business. We had a single customer from the Netherlands and some spare time to play Counter-Strike. Playing over the web we got acquainted with the guys from Specialty Hardware Dept. of Atlant Motors, a major Volkswagen dealer in Minsk.

Just like our current partners, they had a project in the sphere of satellite monitoring services. Totally ready to install hardware but having difficulties with software. So, they offered us to create a tracking system according to their technical requirements.

In a month though, it was obvious that we didn’t fit the budget. But as the process got on the road, we decided to finish and try to sell the product. The development of the proprietary product inspired us. Slowly, we started selling the product but knew that we could achieve more.

Then happened the event that changed everything. In our small company, I was a developer and a system administrator at the same time. During the installation of a new Linux version, I lost all the source data. It was a disaster! The disaster that turned out to be for the better – we developed the software again. From scratch.

Now, I know that this failure became one of the most amazing things in my life: we created the product without the need to keep within any limits, we could leave the past. I rely on this approach ever since. We can put the development process on hold in order to create something new. In my experience, every innovative solution demands a brand-new effort.

At the same time, our partner from the Netherlands offered me the position of the CEO in the company he wanted to start in Minsk. My paycheck would be $3,000 which was a lot of money 16 years ago (I had $800 per month then). So, I had to decide what to choose: career opportunities and higher income or suspense and adventure.

We preferred the latter option and founded Gurtam. In the beginning, it was hard because of the lower income. Over time, we got first clients, hired the marketing and sales specialists, started visiting industry events, and eventually established the first office abroad.

What are the exclusive solutions and offerings that make your company stand tall among others?

16 years ago, we could generate revenue due to a number of factors. Firstly, we were offering the solution almost ten times cheaper than those of the competitors. At that time, you could pay €200 to monitor one vehicle, while we set the price at just €20. Secondly, partners could build a business and make money together with Gurtam. Each partner had 80-90% of the profit, not 10%.

And the most important thing, we took a groundbreaking step and developed the first web-based solution of that kind. The competitors were obviously not happy about it. A few years down the road, each client needed a web solution. Thanks to the ever-increasing number of partners, Gurtam was growing as well. On top of that, Wialon was designed as a hardware-agnostic platform – we started supporting different trackers from various manufacturers as opposed to when the equipment was inseparable from the software.

Now, the Internet of Things is the technology that caught our attention, and we are ready to offer flespi, our new solution. It is an innovative backend platform connecting telematics hardware of any type to various BI and telematics systems. With us, you can count on the best quality, help in business development, 24/7 technical assistance, and the support of a global partner community. We operate all around the globe, our partners live in different time zones and speak different languages. You won’t find a similar company in our industry.

What are the benefits your clients are experiencing?

All our partners are the members of the international Gurtam community:

  • Gurtam partners provide GPS tracking services in the corresponding regions.
  • Hardware manufacturers provide our partners with quality equipment that works with Wialon. We do not just integrate new devices with Wialon, but also build relations with HW manufacturers.
  • Software developers create their products extending Wialon basic functionality and providing new opportunities for Wialon system application.

The largest technology partners co-exhibit with us at the international exhibitions, such as GITEX in Dubai or MWCA in Los Angeles. We used this concept for the first time at the beginning of 2018, and it was a huge success. The idea is to bring together our partners, the developers of Wialon-based solutions, and hardware manufacturers so that a customer can get an out-of-the-box solution in one place.

Each year in summer, we also host Gurtam partner conference in Minsk. In 2019, we expect 500+ participants from all over the world.

Please give advice for the young entrants in the GPS Tracking Solution space?

They just have to identify and create their product, find their end user. Does it really matter in what world it happens? The main thing is to discover the right product.

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