Ian Daniel – Teletrac Navman

Friday, December 1, 2017

Ian Daniel Teletrac Navman 

Ian Daniel may have started out in sales for shipping companies Blueport ACT and Strait Shipping, but feels he found his niche when he moved into the telecommunications industry.

In the 1990s Ian worked for Teamwork Telecom, progressing from selling radios to managing the Teamwork Fleetlink network dealer channel. Following the divestiture of that company Ian was working in Auckland.

“I had good relationships with people inside Telecom, so when an ex-senior executive called Jamie Macdonald, who was an executive vice president at Navman, told people he knew there that he needed a good go-to-market, channel development person, my name popped up and the rest is history.”

Navman Wireless had been launched in the UK in 2001, and a year later Ian was hired to get New Zealand going.

“In early 2005 I was made vice president at Navman and was responsible for the wireless division for all of Asia Pacific and Latin America. Today apart from the fact the Latin America part is run by my counterpart, my involvement hasn’t really changed.”

Ian says there have been many points of interest during his time with Teletrac Navman.

“In 2007 there was the divestiture of Navman, it was broken up into three parts and sold off. MiTAC picked up the navigation division, Navico acquired the marine piece, and a core group of senior managers got together and in June 2007 there was a management buy out of the Navman Wireless and OEM entities.

“The acquisition was backed by a boutique Chicago-based private equity company Prairie Capital. We successfully ran the business globally for about five years and then in December 2012 the business was divested to Danaher Corporation, an American Fortune 150 Company.”

In 2016 Danaher separated off a new entity called Fortive (listed FTV), which Teletrac Navman rolled in to.

“Nothing really changed for me and nothing really changed for the business day to day; it was a very smart play by Danaher to break Fortive out so Fortive could focus on its growth strategy aligned to key global verticals it focuses on.”

Ian says he loves the industry and has been lucky to have mentors like Teamwork Telecom’s Lance Lisette.

“When you think about it, mobile radio was taking over the planet. It was a good business solution that solved a great problem. If you wanted to call someone on the landline from Auckland to Wellington, it cost you a lot of money, and cellular was positioned nicely to solve that problem. As soon as mobile radio came along, rather than talking locally, you could have a linked network like Fleetlink and you could call someone up on an RT from Auckland to Wellington. Mobile radio solved the price problem; cellular was extremely expensive back then.”

Ian says it was logical that there was going to be a big uptake, and even in the early days they were coming across people trying to send data over mobile networks.

“That’s where I first got exposed to GPS, and I could absolutely see the logical conclusion of what GPS could do for the business. Before, a vehicle left the yard at the start of the day, you didn’t know where he was going, how fast he was travelling, the route he was taking and the time the vehicle spent at a specific location. Having the ability to tell a customer exactly where a vehicle was at any given time was gold dust! The only way you could have got hold of them was either calling them on the mobile phone or calling them on the RT. And then you were taking them at their word.”

Ian could see the challenges of how much data could be transmitted over crowded radio networks and limited bandwidth, and how the costs could outweigh the benefits.

“When I was interviewed for the job at Navman I was pleasantly surprised; they had cracked a key sticking point for the industry and the price of the data was going to be cheap, and it was going to be real-time. So for me it was a no-brainer, it was simply a matter of getting customers across that adoption chasm, and building out the solution.”

The widespread adoption of GPS and telematics technology is no surprise to Ian, who says he could always see the potential.

“From my perspective, I could tell that for anyone who did work out on the road, in a vehicle, there was a business requirement to put GPS in that vehicle because it drives great outcomes. Certainly on the frontline, I’ve watched the technology evolve.”

Ian says today Teletrac Navman is an extremely successful business, one that dominates the Australasian market from a technological base. He is excited for the future of the industry and what that will mean for users.

“I think the IOT and connected car world offers amazing opportunities. It’s what you can integrate into the technology from a data aggregation perspective. That’s the beautiful thing, there is a lot of technology that has come along that complements telematics. Telematics gives you a good hub into the vehicle to feed other information through, and it’s also great in the back office because it gives you exceptional accurate dashboard or scorecard data that you can use to incrementally improve your business.”

Ian says as people come up with more ways to define and solve problems, companies like Teletrac Navman will be there to blend that technology into their offerings.

“We track the vehicle, and people in the vehicle. And at the end of the day, understanding what that vehicle does, when it does it, how it goes about its work, and anything else that could be related to that vehicle, and being able to aggregate that data, is very, very powerful. And obviously that’s very much about the person who’s in the vehicle as well. It ticks all those other boxes from a health and safety perspective as well.”

For Ian, the biggest thing is what he calls the light bulb moment, watching the realisation on a customer’s face when Teletrac Navman is able to solve a problem they have.

“We’re always talking to customers and helping them to solve problems, and being a global company means we can take those solutions worldwide. I have to say that getting really good outcomes and solving problems for customers using technology is pretty fulfilling for me, that’s for sure.”