A Chat with Aliaksandr Kuushynau, Head of Wialon at GPS Monitoring Company: Gurtam

Gurtam is a global software company creating IoT (Internet of Things) solutions that enable hundreds of thousands of fleets all over the globe to optimize their performance. We have offices in Lithuania, UAE, the USA, Argentina, Belarus, and Russia, with about 300 employees working there. Our flagship product is Wialon, a multifunctional IoT platform.

With its flexibility and open API enabling powerful integrations and ERP, Wialon is used in various business spheres, starting from long-haul transportation and cold chain to public transportation and waste management – just to name a few.
Wialon is a hardware-agnostic platform with a continuously expanding list of compatible devices. We once started with conventional GPS tracking devices and fuel and temperature sensors.

But now, we are able to integrate Wialon with far more sophisticated equipment, including video monitoring solutions employing machine learning and artificial intelligence.

This universality makes it possible for our partners – Wialon service providers – to smoothly implement Wialon to fleet management systems and come up with new solutions in addition to what was initially requested. For instance, the initial task for optimizing corporate fleet routes can be developed into a more business-oriented scenario, opening new opportunities for a customer like vehicle loading control and transportation safety enhancement using data analytics technologies for data coming from video devices.
 
 
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How did the idea for the company come about?

 
Gurtam is a family-owned business founded in Belarus in the early 2000s. It was clear almost at once that designing a unique product, and growing expertise within a certain domain has more potential than custom software development which was quite typical back then (and is even now).

Initially, the majority of our customers came from Eastern European countries since it is there that the issues our software was intended to solve were most prominent: control of route and schedule adherance, misuse of corporate fleets, fuel theft. However, moving forward, we realized that, on the one hand, businesses from different regions have similar problems. On the other hand, our solution enables us to cover even more issues than we initially planned.

Since then, Wialon has been commonly thought of as Lego: one can build anything out of its blocks following the guidelines and instructions. And what is more, there are plenty of alternative ways to create something unique, a product tailored to a certain task or a certain fleet, using Wialon.

Today Wialon is a global leader in terms of the number of vehicles connected among all the universal IoT platforms dealing with fleet management and vehicle tracking.
 

 

How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

 
At the beginning of 2020, we were present in more than 130 countries all over the globe, and I stated at our partner conferences that neither economic nor political obstacles could affect us as we are operating on all the continents. But as we witnessed how lockdown literally stopped transportation here and there, we realized that this would affect not only Wialon but also the entire transportation industry and related businesses.

Just an example: in Malaysia, before the pandemic, we tracked 20,000,000 km mileage per week for the vehicles connected to Wialon. By April 2020, the numbers decreased by 10 times, and we had only 2,000,000 per week. The same scenario unfolded in numerous countries, although the dynamics were different.

Observing this tendency, we realized that traditional shopping and shipment would be soon replaced by new services and means of delivery and transportation. This is when we decided to focus on the further development of Wialon and add features for dispatching, routing, and courier services.

Alongside these new tools enabling us to enter new business areas and new markets, we developed a full-fledged complex of protective measures for our partners.

● It included the possibility to “freeze” or “park” units within the system and, consequently, not pay for the vehicles that could not be used due to the pandemic limitations.
● We also launched an interactive map to monitor changes in the mileage of commercial vehicles globally.
● To help our partners maintain their market positions, we compiled a guide with recommendations on making good use of the lockdown time.
● With the transition of all interactions to online, our company initiated a series of online meetings – Gurtam meetups – to keep the partner community united and knowledgeable.
● As lockdown provided more free time, we encouraged our partners to educate themselves and made Wialon certification completely free. Regular certification ensures their proficiency and high quality of their services.

All this resulted in new projects which might have never happened but for the pandemic. What is more, we managed to preserve our global partner community. Consequently, both 2020 and 2021 brought us a high level of profitability without any outside investment.
 

What can we hope to see from Gurtam in the future?

 
Gurtam will foster its development in the IoT area, focusing primarily on transport telematics. Apart from our flagship product Wialon, which is already the market leader, the company will keep promoting our relatively new product flespi, a backend solution for aggregation and normalization of data from various IoT and telematics sources.

It can manage devices over the air, apply custom algorithms to real-time data, create live dashboards, and much more. flespi’s API significantly surpasses the API functionality of both Wialon and other platforms of that kind.

At the same time, we will continue to further grow Wialon’s versatility and make it relevant and applicable for more and more business areas and IoT fields. We will avoid diving into only a single realm. We’d rather develop Wialon in such a way that our value-added resellers, service providers, and partners who use Wialon all over the world can embark on any project and be sure that Wialon would make a perfect fit for their business needs and upcoming opportunities.