The telematics industry's efforts to benefit and make a difference in every business it touches are evident. Telematics has evolved rapidly in recent years, encouraging businesses to implement telematics solutions to improve safety, increase efficiency, and most importantly, reduce costs.
This sees a demand for innovative technologies, prompting more businesses to be curious about what telematics can be used for and how it can benefit them.
This blog will answer all your questions and give you the information you need to make an informed decision about telematics.
What is Telematics?
TELEMATICS (ALSO KNOWN AS FLEET TELEMATICS) IS A SYSTEM USED TO COLLECT GPS FLEET TRACKING DATA AS WELL AS A RANGE OF VEHICLE-SPECIFIC INFORMATION AND STORE IT IN A DATABASE. IT INTEGRATES WIRELESS COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (INFORMATICS) TO PROCESS, PROVIDE ACTIONABLE DATA AND COMMUNICATE INFORMATION EFFICIENTLY OVER VAST NETWORKS.
Telematics is often associated with fleet management and vehicle GPS tracking devices. With these fleet systems in mind, telematics can be defined as an in-vehicle communication system in which all fleet software can interact with each other and share important information.
Telematics can also be seen as a new way to integrate all types of data, from vehicle equipment to driver behavior.
How does a telematics system work?
For a telematics system to work properly, it needs a few items:
- Communication equipment (mobile phones, computers, laptops and/or tablets)
- Fleet communication software
- GPS tracking device
- Engine interface
- Input/output interface
- SIM CARD
TELEMATICS SYSTEMS WORK BY CONNECTING GPS FLEET TRACKING DEVICES OR OTHER DATA LOGGING TOOLS TO ASSETS. THE TOOL COLLECTS KEY PERFORMANCE DATA ABOUT ASSETS, SUCH AS REAL-TIME ENGINE DIAGNOSTICS, VEHICLE LOCATION, AND VEHICLE ACTIVITY.
Once collected, the device transmits the data to a data center, where it can be analyzed, interpreted, and compiled.
Once uploaded, fleet managers can access the uploaded data through the telematics system's software. However, the method of doing this may vary depending on the specific telematics solution.
How is telematics equipment installed?
TELEMATICS IS IMPLANTED THROUGH THE VEHICLE'S ON-BOARD DIAGNOSTICS (OBD) II PORT OR CAN-BUS PORT, USUALLY UNDER THE STEERING WHEEL.
GPS TRACKING DEVICES AND FLEET MANAGEMENT TELEMATICS ARE INSTALLED IN DISCRETE PLACES, MAKING THEM DIFFICULT TO LOCATE AND TAMPER WITH. HERE ARE THE THREE AVAILABLE UNIT TYPES AND WHERE THEY HIDE:
Plug-in: These devices can be easily plugged into the cigarette lighter of any fleet vehicle, such as Cartrack's compact mobile device. Since these devices must be plugged in to function, they are easy to spot.
Hard connection: These devices are installed directly in the vehicle and connected to the vehicle's power supply (battery). Since they are not connected to the OBD port, they can be easily hidden in the vehicle.
Battery powered: They have their own battery or solar charger that can operate independently of the vehicle, so they can be easily placed anywhere in the vehicle. These types of devices usually have powerful batteries that can last for months at a time.
WHEN THE TELEMATICS UNIT IS INSTALLED, THE DEVICE COLLECTS GPS FLEET TRACKING DATA AND A RANGE OF VEHICLE-SPECIFIC INFORMATION, WHERE FLEET MANAGERS CAN IMPLEMENT INTELLIGENT SOLUTIONS TO ENABLE, AUTOMATE AND IMPROVE THE FOLLOWING:
- Manage route optimization
- Ensure driver safety and compliance
- Helps identify and improve bad driving habits
- Receive preventive maintenance notifications
- Reduce idling, fuel and maintenance costs
- Manage asset utilization
- Help drivers comply with policies and regulations
- Reduce your carbon footprint
A CENTRAL SERVER RECEIVES INFORMATION FROM DEVICES VIA UNIVERSAL PACKET RADIO SERVICE (GPRS), 4G OR 5G MOBILE DATA, AND CELLULAR OR SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS, AND DISPLAYS IT THROUGH A SECURE WEBSITE ACCESSED BY A TABLET OR SMARTPHONE, TYPICALLY THE PLATFORM OF A TELEMATICS SYSTEM.
Telematics and vehicle tracking systems
Vehicle tracking is the most common telematics use in most industries, especially in trucking and transportation.
THIS TECHNOLOGY IS PREFERRED IN VEHICLES BECAUSE IT OFFERS SIGNIFICANT BENEFITS. BY USING A GPS SYSTEM COMBINED WITH ON-BOARD DIAGNOSTICS, IT IS POSSIBLE TO MAP THE EXACT LOCATION, SPEED AND MAINTENANCE STATUS OF THE VEHICLE.
Below is a list of additional information obtained through telematics.
- Fuel use
- Maintenance issues
- Free time
- Demanding driving situations (e.g. hard braking or cornering)
- Speed and fast acceleration
To make the most of this information, telematics systems analyze data on certain events and patterns and create reports on specific drivers and fleet vehicles, especially for the convenience of fleet managers.
From fleet managers to fleet drivers
Integration of telematics with vehicles
TYPICALLY, TRUCKS, TRAILERS, AND OTHER FLEET VEHICLES ARE SOLD WITHOUT A TRACKING SYSTEM AND HAVE GPS TRACKING DEVICES INSTALLED SHORTLY AFTER THEY ARE SOLD. IF THE VEHICLE IS NOT PRE-EQUIPPED WITH THIS TECHNOLOGY, MANY AFTERMARKET OFFER GPS AND TELEMATICS UNIT INSTALLATIONS.
Some car dealerships also partner with telematics vendors or vehicle tracking companies such as Cartrack to provide a seamless end-user experience and sell vehicles that already have Cartrack tracking units installed.
How to actively use telematics in your fleet
It's great that you now have a basic understanding of telematics software and decided to implement it into your business! To properly use this technology game-changer, here are a few key areas where telematics can boost your business.
- Secure tracking
Fleet Telematics allows you to track vehicle location, speed, seatbelt usage, and driving behavior. You will receive a digital record of every aspect of fleet vehicle operations that provides insight into what improvements can be made to prevent accidents and improve driver safety.
- Better payroll management
Telematics solutions can help you reduce overtime and timesheet fraud by monitoring your fleet's electronic time logs and allocating resources based on real-time information. You can optimize the driver's route so as not to waste driving time. You'll also know exactly how long and how far the vehicle has traveled, making payroll calculations easier.
- Trailer and asset tracking
TELEMATICS CAN NOT ONLY BE USED TO MONITOR VEHICLES. YOU CAN ATTACH GPS TRACKING UNITS TO TRAILERS, EXPENSIVE EQUIPMENT, AND NON-MOTORIZED ASSETS TO PREVENT THEM FROM BEING LOST AND HELP FIND THEM FASTER IF THEY ARE STOLEN.
You can also create alerts to send to you when a trailer or other non-motorized asset moves without your permission.
- Insurance risk assessment
With the owner's permission, insurance companies can use telematics to monitor driver behavior, allowing them to better identify risk factors and adjust insurance premiums accordingly. If you need extra help putting together your insurance, Cartrack helps motorists find affordable insurance by looking at the insurance packages currently in use and giving you 14 quotes and better prices.
How is it used in everyday life?
The telematics solutions market is expected to reach $600 million by 22, up from an estimated $2.9 billion by 2025. With so much money, it's safe to say that it's not only the transportation and freight industry that benefits from this system. There is room for almost every industry to integrate telematics into their business, and some of them use this technology in slightly different ways than others.
Here are the industries that take full advantage of telematics today.
- Heavy machinery: Maintain heavy equipment and prevent theft by using telematics and asset tracking security features.
- Public Security: Monitor the location and speed of emergency vehicles to improve personnel safety and increase response times.
- Fleet: Trucks and various fleet vehicles are monitored to ensure that cargo arrives at its destination safely and on time.
- Construction: Performance diagnostics, fuel usage, and maintenance schedules are all reported through the use of telematics.
- Oil & Gas: Monitoring oil and gas extraction and transportation activities to improve efficiency and worker safety.
- Refrigeration: Monitor the temperature of cold- or heat-sensitive products to reduce spoilage and ensure safe consumption.
- Executive Fleet: Improve maintenance of luxury vehicles to reduce breakdowns, unscheduled repairs, and parts replacement.
- Landscaping and Lawn Care: Monitor the performance of employees and equipment to improve productivity and customer service rates.
Generator: Monitor generator conditions such as fuel level, battery voltage, and coolant temperature to ensure it is healthy and can run longer.
How can telematics benefit fleet operations?
TELEMATICS IS DEDICATED TO HELPING FLEET MANAGERS DRIVE THEIR VEHICLES, DRIVERS, AND OTHER FLEET EMPLOYEES. WITH TELEMATICS, GPS DEVICES CAN SUCCESSFULLY TRACK YOUR VEHICLES, TRAILERS, AND ASSETS, WHILE ALSO COLLECTING VEHICLE DATA, SUCH AS THE VEHICLE'S COMPLETE TRIP HISTORY AND OTHER ACTIONABLE INSIGHTS THAT FLEET MANAGERS CAN USE TO IMPROVE VEHICLES AND DRIVING CONDITIONS.
Other significant improvements that telematics can make in fleet management are as follows:
- Improve fleet efficiency
With actionable insights from our telematics and fleet data, you can track driver progress, improve communication, and streamline workflows.
- Eliminate toll and fuel card fraud
Telematics will automatically validate fuel card payments each time a card payment is made by matching fuel sensor data, vehicle location history, and fuel card recipes. Ensure that each driver is using their authorized card at all times.
- Always know exactly where your assets are
WITH OUR GPS DEVICES, YOU CAN NOT ONLY KNOW THE EXACT LOCATION OF YOUR ASSETS, BUT ALSO ENSURE THAT YOUR GOODS ARE CONSIDERED FROM SHIPMENT TO DELIVERY. FOR ADDITIONAL SECURITY MEASURES, YOU WILL RECEIVE ALERTS AND VIDEO RECORDINGS WHENEVER THE CARGO DOOR IS OPENED AND THE CARGO ITSELF.
- Actionable insights into fleet conditions
FROM GASOLINE INTAKE TO DRIVING BEHAVIOR, TELEMATICS GIVES FLEET MANAGERS ALL THE INFORMATION THEY NEED ABOUT THEIR FLEET. THEY ALSO RECEIVE INSTANT ALERTS TO RESOLVE MAINTENANCE ISSUES IMMEDIATELY BEFORE THEY ESCALATE. THIS ALLOWS YOU TO KEEP YOUR VEHICLE RUNNING LONGER, SAVE SIGNIFICANT REPAIR COSTS, AVOID SERIOUS SAFETY BREACHES, AND PROTECT YOUR COMPLIANCE, SAFETY, AND ACCOUNTABILITY (CSA) SCORES.
- Real-time tracking
Automatically update job status via SMS or email, and easily track delivery progress with emails and photos for a small layer of assurance and secure delivery.
- Accurate scheduling to ensure on-time delivery
Easily transfer information from fleet managers to fleet drivers using the Cartrack communication app. Say goodbye to incorrect customer information and ensure faster delivery and satisfied customers.
- Simplify communication
Fleet telematics can greatly improve communication between drivers and fleet managers or administrators in an enterprise. Improved communication, combined with accurate vehicle location, can help you accurately estimate arrival times and increase customer satisfaction.
- Reduce fuel costs and operating expenses
Telematics can help spot waste areas, such as vehicle idling or fuel leaks, and allow fleet managers to quickly correct them, improving fuel efficiency and the bottom line in the business. It also helps management plan the most efficient route for each driver to save wasted miles.
- It improves driver safety
Accidents are always harmful to businesses, and the health and safety of drivers can be worse. Telematics can be used to improve driver behavior and promote overall road safety. Fleet management software collects telematics data about your team's driving habits and ranks your drivers based on their safety score. You can then teach your drivers safer driving habits and improve the overall safety of your fleet.
- IT AUTOMATES IFTA REPORTING
Telematics and fleet management software can automatically calculate distance, drive and fuel costs for different drivers in different jurisdictions. They can also automatically calculate the International Fuel Tax Association's reports, improving management efficiency, reducing calculation errors, and reducing the chances of a company being audited.
How does telematics work with other fleet software?
Businesses are increasingly relying on telematics and fleet management software to help them manage their fleets.
Fleet management software is a branch of telematics that is popular among modern companies as a way to manage the vehicles they own. Fleet management systems give them a comprehensive view of the health, profitability, and productivity of their entire fleet.
Many fleet managers use both fleet management systems and telematics to streamline and efficiently compile the information collected.
What is fleet management software?
Fleet management software is a large database of information where you can track everything related to your fleet. These records may include:
- Purchased or leased vehicles
- Vehicle information
- Maintenance plan
- History of parts and service
- Compliance documents (insurance, licenses, taxes)
- Fuel Transaction Log
- operating costs
- Financial data
The purpose of using both telematics and fleet management technologies is to reduce the management processes associated with managing all fleet lifecycle information. This helps you understand your fleet in terms of operating costs and total cost of ownership, and ensures you operate legally, comply with regulations, and maintain assets effectively.
As a result, these fleet systems often have fairly comprehensive reporting tools that can set up alerts and send emails, while integrating perfectly with third-party systems that provide financial solutions, such as Cartrack's SARS-compliant logging capabilities.
Do you need both systems?
If you ask yourself if you really need to use telematics and fleet management software to optimize your business, the answer is yes. These systems work together to improve fleet efficiency and productivity and provide several benefits that can be easily observed once the technology is integrated into the business.
- Create risk analysis by combining driver behavior information with accident rate, medical history, and fines data
- Security monitoring
- Eliminate costly idling
- Improved travel routes
- Streamline processes by eliminating administrative time
- Improve accuracy by eliminating redundant data entry
By integrating telematics and fleet management software into your business practices, you can reduce investment and operating costs in areas including fuel procurement, leasing, maintenance, incident management, and accounting.
Gain fleet insights with Cartrack
Use Cartrack's fleet management solutions and telematics technology to keep your entire fleet under your control and monitoring. Stay informed about all the traffic in your fleet.
Contact us on our website to take the first step towards fleet efficiency.