Telematics is the unity of data technology and telecommunications. It encompasses GPS tracking, fleet management, and the strategy of running a mobile workforce.
What began as a simple dots-on-a-map solution and theft deterrent quickly evolved into a big data solution for managing a fully functional, safe, and efficient business
How telematics works involves GPS tracking devices installed in vehicles and assets to gather data such as speed, idle times, and harsh braking and acceleration. Other telematics hardware could include in-cab cameras and sensors for monitoring temperature and auxiliary vehicle equipment usage like on trucks.
These devices gather vast amounts of data which is then sent over wireless networks back to servers where it is stored. Telematics providers use their software platforms to visualize this data in the form of reports and dashboards.
Now that you know what telematics is, we can explore what it does and how it can help solve your fleet challenges.
What Telematics Does for You
Telematics is a powerful, robust tool to help you achieve organizational initiatives like improving safety or reducing your company’s carbon footprint.
Business owners and fleet managers all face unique challenges. The most common one is fleet visibility.
As previously mentioned, telematics started as a way for people to view where their vehicles and assets were at all times. This newly attained fleet visibility meant easily tracking down stolen vehicles and equipment, and, in some cases, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars.
However, as the needs of fleets and the challenges they faced evolved, so did the technology.
Organizations began looking through a strategic lens at telematics thinking about high-level initiatives such as safety or reducing their carbon footprint. Starting with your initiative rather than features makes it much easier to find the perfect solution for your business.
How to Approach Telematics
The conventional approach to telematics is to either look for the best price, or feature shop to maximize the investment without first identifying the specific need for the technology.
If you’re thinking about implementing telematics into your workflow, start with the challenges you currently face to reveal what feature requirements you will have.
Let’s look at an example involving a safety initiative:
- We need to improve safety.
- Our drivers are involved in too many collisions and receiving speeding tickets.
- These collisions increase our insurance rates, which negatively impact our bottom line and endanger the public.
- Our vehicles are moving billboards, and when drivers speed, it negatively impacts our organization’s image, potentially hurting our bottom line.
- We need a system that not only monitors the speed of the vehicle but tells us what causes their collisions.
- An ideal system will provide in-cab cameras showing the driver during a collision and what’s happening in front of them.
By starting with your goal and what you want to achieve and work your way down, the type of solution you will require to accomplish these strategic objectives becomes much clearer.
In the above example, a traditional telematics system that gathers vehicle data, including speeding, and also offers a front and rear-facing camera is required to achieve the safety initiative goals.
Some other strategic initiatives that telematics help achieve include:
- Improving customer service.
- Reducing high labor costs.
- Improving organizational efficiencies.
- Reducing carbon footprints.
Telematics: The All-In-One Solution
As time progresses, more and more tools are created to help solve different challenges. However, this progress inherently creates a new problem – managing multiple software applications and data points. It can be time-consuming to login to various platforms to view the different data that is collected. This is why having a telematics solution that integrates with these other platforms can be of great benefit.
For example, a telematics solution that integrates with fuel card platforms is hugely beneficial in reducing high fuel costs. The telematics solution displays where the vehicle was when the fuel card was swiped. So, if a vehicle is parked at the driver’s home, but they used the fuel card 10 miles away, it’s most likely an indication of fraud.
Another powerful integration is between telematics and third-party map overlays. For example, if you’re an electric co-op and use ESRI maps, you can overlay this data on top of your telematics map. This way, you can dispatch the closest vehicle to a power outage location.
There is a myriad of other examples and software platforms that integrate with telematics that help you achieve your objectives.
Finding the Right Telematics Solution
Finding the telematics solution that’s best for your organization means finding one that meets your requirements checklist to accomplish your fleet initiatives. It also means finding a telematics provider that meets your customer service expectations. There’s no worse feeling than buyer’s remorse after you invest time and money into a solution to not get the level of service you expect. So be sure to test out potential telematics providers in a pilot phase before moving your chips all in.
If you’re ready to start down your path of finding the right telematics solution for you, then fill out the form below to get quotes from top-rated providers.