The Big Easy for Sale or Rent

Hundreds of people marching up and down crowded streets.  Beads of all sizes and colors. Food and music being consumed by people from all walks of life. No, this wasn’t Mardi Gras, that happened the week before, it was the annual ARA Rental Show. The venue this year was of course New Orleans at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center located on the Mississippi River. The event was highlighted by future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning delivering the keynote address.

Telematics has clearly become more standard as most of the larger manufacturers such as John Deere, Caterpillar and Komatsu offer their own version of a telemetry product for heavy equipment. What happens if you’re a rental company with multiple lines? That’s where the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) comes in. The AEMP, in partnership with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), has created a standard API that all manufactures can utilize so whatever telematics application the dealer or end-user chooses to use can accept data from any number of manufacturers. That being said, not all companies have jumped on board, though many feel the market will eventually push towards a standard.

Walking through the endless aisles of equipment, I was reminded of the OTC (Offshore Technology Conference) held annually in Houston. At OTC, attendees are greeted by towering masses of equipment across multiple buildings. Although not quite that scale, it is no small feat to see everything at the Rental Show without devoting a couple of days to talking and trying out the wares of the hundreds of exhibitors. My personal favorite was the Lollywaffle, a device that makes waffles on a stick, (anything is better on a stick) that you could dip in a chocolate fountain for a delicious and messy treat.

Next year, the show moves to Atlanta, which means a more East Coast flair versus the jazziness of New Orleans. I expect to see additional evolutions in the OEM telemetry world and an increase in adoption of the technology among rental companies. The shift towards a connected rental fleet only grows stronger as companies continue to push towards better business intelligence to drive their decisions. Data is quickly becoming the new currency that feeds the growth of the global economy.