Telematics is the technology used to monitor individual vehicles or entire fleets and gather valuable data.

A telematics system will gather a wide range of data. Such as engine diagnostics, vehicle activity, and the locations a vehicle has been. This data allows fleet operators to optimise their resources and better manage their fleet of vehicles.

What Is Telematics and Why Is It Important?

The term “telematics” is formed from the words; telecommunication and informatics sciences.

Telematics usage can be traced back as far as the 1960s. The Department of Defense in the U.S started using GPS systems to track the movements of their army vehicles on the battlefield and improve communication.

There are many forms of communication that come under the umbrella of telematics today. Such as GPS navigation, automatic driving assistance, vehicle tracking, and hands-free phones.

Looking at telematics and its use and application with fleet management; in simple terms, telematics is an intelligent computer aboard a vehicle that gathers a wide range of data valuable to fleet managers and fleet software systems.

Some of the key data points telematics records and measures are:

  • Vehicle location and route mapping
  • Speed and acceleration metrics
  • Vehicle status (Engine running/idle etc)
  • Dashboard camera footage
  • Electrical power voltage
  • GPS and GSM signals

The data is collected via a device in the vehicle. This device then sends the information to a data centre to be decoded and sent to a fleet management software system.

How Does Telematics Work?

Fleet telematics works by collecting data from inside the vehicle and sending the data to the appropriate data warehouse.

The data is collected by a small device, sometimes called a black box. The device installed in the vehicle will differ slightly depending on what data is needed.

Generally speaking, they are typically capable of recording and monitoring the driver’s and vehicle’s performance through:

  • GPS (Global Positioning System) TechnologyGPS is a satellite-based tracking technology. It’s able to provide an accurate location, navigation, and tracking information. This enables fleet operators to understand where a vehicle has been. As well as other data like the speed the vehicle was travelling, and how it was being operated.
  • Engine Diagnostics – By collecting engine diagnostic information you can get a more accurate understanding of how a vehicle is being operated. Key factors like fuel efficiency, the status of various vehicle sub-systems, and you’ll be able to identify any potential issues.
  • Sensors – Sensors can be installed to measure just about any activity related to the operation of a vehicle. Such as erratic driving, how often doors are opening, and even the temperature in the vehicle.

How Does Telematics Help Fleet Management?

The data provided by telematics enables fleet managers to better optimise their resources. You can make real savings to your bottom line by reducing fuel costs, improve safety, and identify areas to improve on.

Here are some of the core ways telematics helps fleet management:

Integration – You can integrate your current CRM, fleet management software, and other systems easily to create streamlined processes.

Fuel Savings – By analysing the GPS tracking reports and engine diagnostics, you can plan more efficient routes for drivers, saving in fuel costs.

Compliance – Easily produce reports, gather vehicle inspection data, log hours, and so on.

Safety – The depth of the data collected through telematics enables fleet managers to identify speeding and dangerous driving. Live GPS locations enable quick recovery via accurate location coordinates, and communication with drivers is improved.

Reduced Admin – As with all good systems, there are administrative cost savings to be made. You can reduce man hours currently spent collecting and analysing data. As well as scaling up your fleet without adding more admin costs.

Some insurance companies offer discounts for companies using telematics to demonstrate safe and responsible driving too.