Otodata is expanding into Europe with its launch of a European-specific product, and Margaret Major, managing editor Fuel Oil News, spoke with André Boulay, President of Otodata, to find out what the company is bringing to the European fuel distribution sector.
André takes up the story: We’re proud to say we design, develop, manufacture and sell our award-winning tank monitors, management software, and mobile app to businesses worldwide. All our monitors provide precise, extremely reliable data, carry industry leading warranties, and are compatible with all read-ready dial equipped tanks.
How did the tank monitor offering come about?
Otodata was a broad IOT service provider, and our tank monitoring solutions became extremely popular due to their low cost and robustness. So, we narrowed our company’s focus to provide unsurpassed tank monitoring hardware and software to our clients, domestically and internationally.
When did you realise the opportunity existed for large-scale implementation in the fuel distribution sector?
In Otodata’s early days, interest in tank monitoring was stronger than we initially expected. We met with 12 retail propane companies to identify the precise needs and levels of interest.
Initially the concern with tank monitoring was about helping companies avoid run outs, but we soon learned that tank monitoring had more uses than previously thought, like maximizing efficiency through a detailed understanding of each customer’s consumption. Existing solutions were expensive and weren’t very easy to roll out. We developed an affordable and easy to install solution, an offer that they just couldn’t pass up.
What did you need to change about your tank monitor to facilitate this implementation?
We already had an affordable solution, but we did add a HAAS (hardware as a service) offering for companies that didn’t want the upfront capital investment.
Why do fuel resellers partner with OTODATA?
Bottom line, the hope to achieve a rapid return on investment through improved efficiency, better forecasting and finally, improved customer service and retention.
Has the solution continued to evolve?
We are continuously evolving. We learn a lot by speaking with our customers. They all have slightly different needs depending on their size, location, product, service type etc.
In fact, our hardware, software and applications have been designed and enhanced, in a way, in collaboration with our customers, based on their needs and wants.
What geographical areas did you cover initially and where now?
Since we began as a Canadian-based company, we started in Canada but now our primary market is the United States and we have branched out into Central and South Americas.
This year we have released a European specific product to enable us to service all of Europe and beyond.
Why the European expansion?
After servicing all of the Americas, natural evolution was for us to move into Europe. We acquired two companies overseas and designed our European portfolio to service all of our customer needs in LPG, lubricants, industrial gas and solids.
Recent years have seen a rapidly accelerating uptake of tank monitors making it a commonplace solution now. What do you put that down to?
I’d say the industry is finally catching up to employing smart solutions. It seems that everyone today is using software, smart devices, and apps to keep tabs on things and make their lives easier. This was the inevitable next step.
With several options in the market is there anything unique you can highlight about the OTODATA solution or the way OTODATA works with customers?
Our hardware technology is unique, offering features that set us apart from the competition such as dual SIM, hybrid battery packs, dual cellular technology, longest battery life and many other advanced features.
What’s next for OTODATA?
We are currently very focused on the fuel industry, but we intend to service other industries that manage solids, waste material, and more.