What technology initiatives would provide the greatest impact for your business? (Answer by Lindsay English)

Lindsay English

Developing rail industry standards.

There's a ton of investment right now -- new hardware (drones, GPS data from ELDs on trucks, remote monitoring units on railcars/containers), and new mediums (APIs replacing EDI, for example). And with new data science methods, including AI and Machine Learning, there is potential to derive meaningful insights from all the new transportation data. If every carrier/shipper/technology provider creates their own data formats and standards for what these data points represent and how they are triggered, there will be a significant workload to harmonize the data between all the logistics providers handling a shipment. These costs will ultimately be paid by the shipper, either directly or through increased cost to implement technology. As an industry, we should be working toward making it easier not harder, to do business by rail (vs other modes). The implementation of new technologies is an opportunity to correct some of these problems and set the path for our future, but only if our efforts are collaborative.