Streamlining transportation with tech

A transportation company with a long history in Kamloops is the latest success in the city's emerging technology sector.

Community leaders gathered Friday at Kamloops Innovation Centre to celebrate the growth of an offshoot of Arrow Transportation Systems Inc., whose signature yellow rigs are a common sight on B.C. highways.

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Streamline Transportation Technologies is a decade-old company gathering momentum in the field of truck transportation navigation and data gathering, leading to an increasingly automated system that can slow a truck down to 30 km/h in a school zone, for example. The company's main product is called Navistream and is making an impact in a crowded field, what it calls the "Internet of moving things."

Dan De Palma, the company's vice-president of sales and marketing, said development of the growing technology firm grew out of Arrow's use of competing systems in its fleet of several hundred trucks.

Its supplier went bankrupt, causing Arrow to decide to develop its own system. That system, tried and tested on its own fleet, is now available to partnering companies. De Palma said one of the key aspects is driver logs, which are traditionally kept on paper. That record-keeping is now kept electronically, allowing a driver to more easily understand how many more hours he is allowed to drive before required rest, for example. It also allows better compliance with other government regulations for trucking.

The company has located in the floor of the Kamloops Innovation Centre on Tranquille Road, where about 25 employees are located.

Arrow recently purchased two competing firms and is using those acquisitions to gain momentum. De Palma said the Kamloops office is the centre of the technological development.

"You have an idea and they make it happen."

About 2,300 trucks are now using the technology and De Palma said the company is exceeding its targets for growth. Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone said Streamline is another example of a growing technology sector, which now has an estimated 100,000 employees in B.C.

Calling Streamline "one of the success stories," Stone, who founded a tech firm before going into politics four years ago, said the local sector has growth from 12 to 15 companies in Kamloops to an estimated 160.

Mayor Peter Milobar said he was pleased to see Streamline take up the space vacated by ITel, another local technological success that recently moved to the former Weyerhaeuser head office building in Mission Flats.

"There was a worry we were losing jobs and energy from the North Shore," he said.

De Palma said transportation technology is moving from recording and gathering data technologies to automation that allows control by algorithms stored in the cloud in two-way communication with transport trucks.

© Kamloops This Week


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