cleantech insights

Shiply – don’t come back empty handed

Stephen Marcus

If you’re like me and spend many a late night perusing eBay in search for the latest gadget that I don’t need but will endeavour to find a use for, you may understand me when I say that often, the only thing standing in between me and that “BUY IT NOW” button is the prospect of high or uncertain shipping costs.

UK-based Shiply obviously felt my pain and came up with the idea of creating an online goods delivery market place where people list items thy need delivered and then receive bids from transport companies to carry out the work. The cleantech twist? The platform allows transporters to monetize journeys that they may be travelling anyway with spare capacity, particularly return journeys after single trip drop offs.

For a detailed profile of Shiply as well as a host of other leading innovating cleantech companies, see Cleantech Group’s new i3 platform (for subscribers only).

The user experience process works as follows. The “deliverees” (as I like to call them) first post up their item to be delivered including the description, weight, dimensions, pick up and drop off locations. If the item is listed on eBay, the information can be automatically ported …


FleetMatics – the real time where, when, why and who for fleet managers

Stephen Marcus

Running a fleet is becoming an increasingly expensive endeavour. Vehicle operation and maintenance costs are reaching record highs. Further, unsafe and inefficient driving costs $500 billion in the U.S. and EU alone. Fleet management solutions can provide immediate relief from the pressures of these rising costs by giving fleet managers the tools to run more fuel efficient, effective, and safe vehicle fleet. Many vendors can offer ROIs in just a matter of months with fuel savings of c.10%.

One example of a leading vendor is Fleetmatics. The company has developed a GPS tracking system that gives fleet managers real-time fleet and vehicle information. The information is tracked using in-vehicle tracking units and then transmitted to FleetMatics servers via GPRS wireless networks. Fleet managers can then access the information and create customizable fleet and vehicle reports using a proprietary FleetMatics web tool. Over the years, the company has continuously enhanced its product, which now encompasses a comprehensive range of reinforcing features including: a fleet tracking dashboard, geofencing and landmarking, route replay, tracking alerts, and fuel card integration.

For a detailed 9 page profile of FleetMatics as well as a host of other leading innovating cleantech companies, see Cleantech Group’s new

GreenRoad – Driving the change with driver behaviour change solutions

Stephen Marcus

Much money has been spilt on developing more fuel efficient ICE vehicle engines, lighter and stronger materials, and more aerodynamic designs in attempts to obviate the need for that last drop of oil while driving. Driver behaviour, on the other hand, has frequently been left out of the equation, even though it accounts for an estimated 33% of total fuel consumption. California-based GreenRoad Technologies is filling this void.

Since 2003, GreenRoad has been developing software, hardware and change management solutions to optimize driving behavior from a safety, fuel efficiency, and vehicle stress point of view. Its flagship commercial service – GreenRoad 360 – monitors 120 separate driving events in five categories: speed handling, cornering, land handling, braking, and acceleration. The technology analyses a driver’s movements and recognizes unsafe or inefficient driving that then feedbacks back to drivers immediately and enables them to improve their driving fuel-efficiency and safety. GreenRoad engages with drivers on a long term basis through its online web portal which aggregates driver behaviour over time and provides individual coaching. The company also works closely with fleet managers to implement sophisticated change management solutions.

The end result, GreenRoad believes, is larger and more sustained fuel savings for clients. …

Smart Transportation – innovating in a market worth 20% of GDP

Stephen Marcus

Mobility is one of the most fundamental and important characteristics of economic activity. We all have the basic need of going from one place to another – whether you are a business exec travelling across town (or even internationally) for a meeting, a manufacturer moving its product from the factory to the shop floor, or a parent dropping their kids off at school.

The extent to which mobility has shaped and changed society is not thought about enough. The development of the early rudimentary transportation networks was arguably the catalyst that led to the formation of the first multinational corporations, as well as enabled the major flows of international migration that has occurred since the 18th century. Today, transportation has become so integrated into our economies it accounts for 10-20% of total GDP spending in many major economies.

Whilst there is no doubt that more efficient mobility networks will continue to be a major contributor to future wealth creation and social welfare, it is quite clear that parts of our transportation networks are used above their designed capacity resulting in associated costs such as congestion (see: 2 week traffic jam on China expressway), accidents, and harmful urban air …