Telematics is a science that is essentially a blend of two sciences – telecommunications and informatics. Aspects picked up from telecommunications include phone lines and cable systems while from informatics such as computer systems. This collusion is generally referred to as telematics systems in the vehicle telematics industry.
Telematics devices and technologies collect and transmit data on various data points like vehicle use, automotive servicing, maintenance needs, etc. Businesses use this data in tandem with fleet management software to interpret and derive useful information about each fleet vehicle and the fleet as a whole.
How does telematics work?
At its central core, a telematics system includes a vehicle tracking device installed in a vehicle that captures, stores and sends telemetry data. It also collects GPS tracking information like the coordinates of the vehicle. The data is then transmitted using a wireless network to a server. The server interprets the data and allows it to be displayed in a comprehensible and presentable way for businesses to see.
The telematics data captured can include vehicle information like speed, braking behavior, idling, locational information like coordinates used to calculate the duration of the journey, the route used, etc. It also captures data on internal engine operations by running diagnostics on fuel consumption, ECU, etc.
What is the use of a telematics system in my fleet?
Telematics solutions can be used as a standalone system or can be integrated with various other applications and devices to provide an array of solutions for businesses managing fleets of all sizes. Some of these problem solving capabilities include:
Vehicles can be located and tracked using a combination of GPS satellites and receivers. GPRS systems are used to transmit location through a wireless network and store in a cloud computing software. The GPS receivers download this information and process it so that it can be displayed for consumers though an application like a GPS navigation system.
It is used by businesses to transmit information via GPRS to individual fleet vehicles about dispatch information or any new developments that may alter its pre-defined route.
Businesses that operate commercial fleet vehicles invest a large part of their capital in these vehicles and hence it is imperative for them to protect them. Businesses can attach GPS tracking devices to fleet vehicles and other non-motorized assets like trailers that carry cargo to keep a digital eye on them at all times.
It is used by businesses to plot routes for drivers directly to stationary trailers. Drivers can also tag locations at specific places to mark them as events such as unhitching a trailer and these coordinates can be easily passed on to other drivers for pick-up.
GPS telematics system can also be used to set up provide alerts to a mobile device in case a vehicle is moved or leaves a pre-defined area without proper authorization.
The length of the lifecycle or the optimum use phase of each vehicle can be extended using vehicle telematics. It can be used to plan and schedule maintenance checks for each vehicle at optimal times. It is also used to store data like Hours of Service (HOS), fuel consumption, engine diagnostics, etc. for statutory pre and post trip maintenance checks.
It can also be used to keep track of each vehicle and its newly installed part’s warranty, engine hours used and servicing records. This is helpful for planning and businesses can greatly reduce expenses due to avoidable breakdowns and keep the vehicle in peak operating condition by staying on top of each vehicle’s needs.
Some important engine diagnostics that vehicle telematics systems capture include coolant temperature, battery voltage, powertrain status and malfunctions, oxygen sensor use, intake valve issues and host of other important metrics.
Businesses can use vehicle telematics to monitor vehicle speed and location as well as safe driving habits like seat belt use and not using mobile phones while driving. Telematics data provides intricate reports not only on vehicle operation but also on driver behavior. This helps businesses tackle any behavioral issues at the fleet level or deal with each driver individually.
This data can be used to provide review and training to allow your fleet as a whole to be a safer body of vehicles.
Vehicle telematics data is a great way to ensure you pay a lot lesser for insurance. With telematics data, you have solid information about how safe and well managed the fleet is. Insurance companies can then more accurately determine risk factors and adjust insurance premiums accordingly. This is a major expense reduction and can save businesses tens of thousands of dollars each year.
Popular Add-ons for Vehicle Telematics Systems
The most popular add-on for vehicle telematics systems is a commercial dash cam. With all its benefits, vehicle telematics data lacks the ability to showcase the context within which the driver or vehicle performed. For example, a driver may overspeed to avoid a potentially dangerous accident but a telematics system will only show that the driver has driven dangerously fast.
Similarly, a few more major benefits od installing commercial dash cams in each fleet vehicle to compliment a vehicle telematics system include:
- A Silent Witness – A dash cam acts as an impartial accident witness that is with your vehicle at all times.
- Fraud Prevention – With a dash cam, businesses can gain useful evidence when drivers are involved in ‘crash-for-cash’ scams. This evidence is useful in a court of law or dealing with insurance fraud.
- Improved Driving Habits – Dual-cam dash cams allow you to keep an eye on driver behavior as well which can be used to monitor unsafe driving habits like no seat belt or unauthorized drivers driving the vehicle.