What Is Telematics And How It Can Help Businesses

According to the statistics gathered by Software Advice, approximately 70% of field service companies don’t use any specialized fleet tracking software. Such state of affairs can be considered as disheartening, to say the least.

Source: Software Advice

To change things for the best, we’d like to shed some light on such term as telematics. This interdisciplinary field that combines telecommunications, vehicular technologies, electrical engineering, tracking devices, and computer science, we believe, can provide some significant benefits to any company that deals with a fleet of cars or any other type of moveable assets. To do so, we’ll take a look at how telematics works, what benefits its implementation can provide, and check a real-life example of a telematics software system.

How Telematics Works

In simple terms, telematics is a combination of mobile and stationary devices that along with specialized software allow monitoring the location and state of such assets like cars, trucks, construction equipment, ships, or even helicopters. If you work with any of these things or rent them out, telematics can become an excellent addition to the used business processes.

It’s necessary not to confuse telematics systems with simple GPS fleet tracking apps. The whole thing is far more complex than marking the position of the car on a digital map. Besides that, a properly designed telematics system can record such data as:

  • Average speeds
  • Accelerations
  • Tracking info
  • Braking tendencies
  • Tire pressure
  • Speeds at which turns are taken
  • Fuel usage
  • Idle times

Further analysis of this info can enable you to achieve a better understanding of your fleet state and develop insights irreplaceable for gathering competitive advantage at the market.

Uninterrupted gathering and transfer of tracking information are performed by telematics devices that may come in various forms. Whether you’re an owner of small fleet vehicles or a manager in a large transnational company, it won’t be big trouble to find a telematics device that covers your requirements and matches your financial capabilities. The most common options (in order of increasing value) are:

  • Mobile telematics solutions of general purpose that are relatively inexpensive. Such devices have 12V connectors and can be easily transferred from one vehicle to another
  • Onboard Diagnostic Devices or OBD can be connected to the OBD port on the underside of the steering column. Such solutions can be considered as a more expensive alternative to the previous option. But, as regard, you’ll get Bluetooth or cellular networks support which will enable to gather a broader set of data to be used. OBD can be considered as a golden mean that provides the best ratio of price and functionality
  • Professionally installed devices and OEM systems are the most expensive options that are permanently connected to the vehicle

Info collected by these telematics devices can be sent to a data center where it gets decoded. Nowadays, such information is usually stored in the cloud. A fleet management software system can provide access to this information from a PC or mobile device. Such tracking and management apps can represent raw data in an easy-to-understand way. To help extract essential information from collected data, modern business intelligence solutions are usually used.

That’s how telematics works in a nutshell. The next question is how all these technologies put together can help a particular person or organization. Let’s find out!

How Telematics Can Help Your Business

Telematics can be suitable both for a small business company and a large corporation. Any company that uses any means of transportation can benefit from adopting a telematics system for efficient tracking. Delivery companies, construction businesses, food companies, emergency organizations, waste management fleets are just a few examples from an almost endless list.

When you’re running a fleet of vehicles, you have a lot of different complex needs and concerns. You have to balance between the need for maintenance and availability of your cars for clients. Besides the state of the fleet, another essential part of your job is to improve the efficiency of your company by learning about the driving habits of your employees. The use of telematics systems provides the possibility to use data gathered by onboard diagnostic devices to achieve all these and many other goals.

A properly designed telematics system can get access to databases that store info on vehicle locations and statistics. Then, such tracking apps can represent available information as a combination of graphs, charts, data tables, and interactive maps that are easy to analyze. Using this data, fleet managers can develop an accurate and relevant understanding of the current state of affairs. Such an approach helps to simplify the solving of quite a different scale of tasks. Whether there’s the need to schedule the maintenance for extensive fleet or discuss the dangerous driving habits of a particular employee, a comprehensive telematics software solution can become pretty helpful.

The adoption of a telematics system can provide the following benefits:

  • Real-time fleet tracking allows avoiding traffic jams, ensure timely delivery, and increase the overall productivity which will lead to better customer satisfaction and higher income
  • The automated notification system will let you know about risky driving behavior, accidents on the road, and other issues. With instant access to this info, you’ll be able to reduce harm from unwanted consequences or even foresee them and eliminate in advance. As a result, the safety of your business will increase significantly
  • Predictive maintenance abilities and remote diagnostics features can extend the life of your fleet
  • Excessive speeding and braking lead to fuel wasting. Telematics systems with built-in messengers can inform drivers about fuel-wasting driving behavior and ask them to correct it. This feature will help your company to reduce fuel consumption and decrease related costs

To help you understand better how telematics systems work, let’s take a look at how described features find their embodiment in a real-life tracking application. A multi-modal transportation management system that we’re going to discuss is an excellent example of a full-featured telematics app for efficient fleet management:

This system consists of several modules that work alongside providing users with reliable fleet tracking and monitoring features. For example, fleet managers can access vehicle data, trip data, a map that displays locations and pickup points, costs and time analytics, individual trips database, and other info. Financial analysis features include interactive visualizations of income, revenue, delivery time, and a number of clients. This telematics system helps to cut costs on fleet maintenance by using service warnings displayed on drivers’ mobile devices.

The system provides some useful features for clients as well. For example, each client can estimate time and cost from the future trip, calculate the approximate time of arrival to the pickup point, and make online payments for ordered services.

Conclusions

The use of telematics systems for fleet tracking and monitoring the state of the fleet can provide various benefits both for a business company and its clients. Real-time fleet tracking functionality allows optimizing business operations and reduce operational costs. Collected statistics about the fleet state and driving records help to save costs on fleet maintenance and improve drivers’ behavior on the road. As a result, your company can ensure the safety of its assets, increase customer satisfaction, and achieve a competitive advantage at the market.