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What Is Telematics?

How Telematics Make Vehicle Monitoring Possible

September 27, 2021Paige Lichtenwalter

Telematics is the technology used to monitor and transfer information among vehicles and vehicle-related equipment. Especially in the fleet industry, proper telematics is essential for collecting and tracking accurate data, such as driver behavior, vehicle activity and location, and more. Leveraging telematic tools like GPS and onboard diagnostics helps streamline procedures and improves vehicle and driver performance.

How Does Telematics Work?

A telematics system can use a range of technology, but typically has three main elements: 

  1. a vehicle tracking device
  2. a means of cellular connectivity, and
  3. an application interface.

Vehicle Tracking Devices

Tracking devices for fleet vehicles use certain types of software and technology to keep track of and store a vehicle’s most useful data. This can include elements like:

  • GPS
  • SIM cards
  • OBD (onboard diagnostics) 
  • Input & output interfaces

Two of the most important elements for telematics are GPS and OBD technology. GPS technology monitors a vehicle’s location and provides important insights about things like fuel efficiency and route optimization. OBD is an automotive, computer-based system that regulates and reports on a vehicle’s performance. 

Especially between these two telecommunication tools, fleet managers can measure automotive metrics like idling time, driver behavior, vehicle activity, and the general health of the vehicle.

Connectivity & Application Interface

With the data captured, it must be transmitted from the installed tracking device through a cellular network, making the data accessible from any device. Cellular networks make instant and easily accessible monitoring possible.

Then, there’s actually putting the data to use. Fleets need innovative and interactive software, usually in the form of an app, to document and implement key performance information, especially for real-time activity and reports. 

Telematics in Fleet Management

Fleets are relying on telematics to the point that vehicles without such technology are becoming outdated and ineffective. The advantages speak for themselves.

Telematics Solutions

  • Real-time alerts: for driver behavior and vehicles
  • Exact data: for measurable idling time, excessive braking, speed monitoring, fuel management, and more
  • Maintenance tracking: for reliable and preventative automotive upkeep
  • Historical logs and documentation: for compliance and corrective action
  • Live visibility: for real-time fleet tracking and monitoring

The Fleet Benefits

  • Actionable reporting. Effective software designed to generate applicable fleet management reports can greatly improve driver performance and vehicle maintenance. This makes a manager’s job simple, convenient, and more exact.
  • Increased productivity. Digital monitoring and other telematics technologies provide optimized routes, faster delivery times, streamlined processes for employees, and general productivity improvement. Your drivers will be in the right place at the right time and truly reflect your brand.
  • Individual accountability. By actively monitoring every driver’s performance, managers can help their employees become their best, safest, most efficient selves. With data-driven evidence, there’s total transparency between management and drivers, for both top performers and those that need more support or correction.
  • Optimized vehicles. Vehicles are maintained as needed with precise notifications that alert fleets about immediate or preventative repairs. This results in less unpredictable circumstances, reliable delivery times, and improved confidence for drivers and managers alike.
  • Sustainability. With solutions like fuel management and efficient routing, fleets can lower their impact on the environment and contribute to a cleaner world.
  • Compliance. Speaking of saving, you will also avoid fees or charges related to compliance with rules and regulations, saving you money, maintaining your business’s reputation, and improving safety.
  • Safety. Driver coaching, real-time alerts, corrective training, and more greatly improves the safety of drivers, which is a top priority for fleet management. Plus, with tracking software, vehicle theft or off-hour use is easily avoidable. 

Industries Using Telematics Systems

A variety of fleet industries are taking advantage of telematics for its convenience and usefulness. From weather and road conditions to continual improvement in driver behavior, telematics is quickly becoming a fleet staple. Below are just a few of the most relevant industries.

  • Delivery companies
  • Towing companies
  • Trucking companies
  • Government agencies
  • Construction businesses
  • Food and beverage companies
  • Oil, gas, and mining industries
  • Police, first responders, and other public agencies
  • Landscaping companies
  • Waste management fleets
  • Car rental and leasing companies

The Future of Telematics in Fleets

Between increasingly mobile strategies and instantaneous data, the current state of telematics is only the beginning. The above industries are using telematics solutions because the competition demands it. As telematics advances, so will the rest of the fleet world. Businesses are creating more productive, more reliable, and more efficient services by embracing telematics innovations. Not only is it uniquely helpful in creating stronger workflows and better drivers, but as telematics becomes the new normal, businesses will fall behind without such technology. There are already advances being made, like video telematics, that are influencing telematics solutions in big ways.

Video Telematics

Video telematics is changing the way fleets are being monitored. In-cab notifications and real-time monitoring make identifying and adjusting unsafe behavior more accurate and more honest. Typically, multiple cameras are installed, both inside and outside of the vehicle, so managers have an all-inclusive view of driver habits, safety, and vehicle use.

A big step up from a dashcam, video telematics capture the entire story. Plus, by being connected to a reliable monitoring system, immediate remote video footage is easily accessible. Faster responses from management and total accountability from drivers create a more open and effective coaching environment. 

Your Comprehensive Telematics Solution

The exciting and groundbreaking strides that telematics is making is changing fleet and commercial management, and keeping up with advances can be challenging. Forward Thinking Systems makes staying up-to-date simple with cutting-edge technology and constant evaluation. 

Fleetcam, our all-in-one camera system, is a driving force behind modern camera monitoring, and our fleet management software is designed for integrative and convenient driver monitoring. With our extensive fleet management software, you also get real-time alerts that keep your fleet running with corrective reporting and quick turnaround times during unexpected roadblocks.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Get a free demo to get started and begin experiencing Forward Thinking fleet solutions.

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