Vehicles equipped with GPS satellite receivers track and transmit the location to a responsible person. There are a lot of providers in the field of telematics , so it is important to choose the right type of system for your company right from the start. Telematics systems range from simple, inexpensive, smartphone-based applications to sophisticated, multifunctional solutions.
Anyone who relies on vehicles to deliver goods or provide services – mostly van and truck fleets, but also company cars and systems. For private drivers and especially for younger drivers, some insurers offer reduced premiums for vehicles with telematics. By showing where a vehicle is located, the telematics offer real-time visibility for improved control, security and customer service. In addition, tracking data is logged to record movements, arrival and departure times, on-site times and data analyzes for the creation of management reports. Telematics is mainly used to improve efficiency and productivity, but also improves security.
There are two things to consider: the actual system and who supplies it. With the decrease in hardware and communication costs, the telematics industry has opened up to many other providers. This is good from a competitive and price perspective, but there are also pitfalls. Once you’ve set up telematics, it’s likely that you can improve your efficiency, productivity, and customer service. Telematics is something that will allow the company to change and stay competitive.
It is therefore very important to choose a provider that is and will remain financially secure; ideally part of a large, diverse and long established company with the resources and support you need. You don’t want to arrive at the office and find that your landlord has disappeared with all your data. Also remember that you have to choose a system that is professionally equipped; a company with a strong presence in the fleet sector will surely have the right references.
To some extent, you get what you pay for, and the cheapest options will have limitations. For example, a smartphone can be switched off or the battery can be empty and lost or stolen. Another inexpensive option is a plug-and-play device that is powered by the cigarette lighter and can be useful as a temporary solution. However, it is advisable to install a system that is actually firmly attached to the vehicle so that it is powered and automatically activated when the ignition is switched on and works without driver involvement. Since many of the advantages of telematics revolve around the data collected, the data exchange must be really uninterrupted.
You have to choose a telematics solution that meets your needs and is easy to implement and operate. The key is to get the basics right and not to buy something that turns out to be too complicated, with features you don’t need. If it’s your first telematics company, look for something that adheres to the basic rules; proven, accurate, reliable and in an affordable package with no hidden costs.
The basics are, of course, reliable GPS location and communication, but with a well-developed user interface. Look at the fine print for details, such as how often the vehicle position should be updated, for example, around 30 seconds. Accessibility and ease of use are important, so look for a modern system that was designed from the start as a cloud-based solution; something that offers easy online access and can be easily integrated with other fleet-related data such as fuel cards. Other important functions include a driver ID function or a linked smartphone app for driver communication and reporting.
The ability to see the location of any vehicle in real time, anytime, anywhere offers immediate benefits for operating and service customers. The office can see where the vehicles are and whether they are on schedule and on the route. Most systems can automatically generate email or text notifications to notify customers of arrival times, and geofencing can be set up.
A geofence is an imaginary line that is drawn to mark an area or a specific location. It can be a storage area, a low-emission zone, a pre-planned route or a border. When entering or leaving the defined geographical area, the system is automatically informed in order to either collect data for later use or to alert the inspectors, e.g. in the event of unauthorized movement of the vehicle, a deviation from the path or entering a protected area. A number of other locations can also be mapped, such as customer locations, depots, home addresses and low bridges, and dynamic data such as live traffic jams can be integrated.
You benefit from the integrated functions from day one. By defining customer locations, you can, for example, automatically monitor KPI service levels and reduce invoice queries – because you can see exact arrival times and length of stay on site.
You may have heard the term „big data“, that’s what we’re talking about here. You are right, a telematics system generates huge amounts of data. As such, this data is of little value. It is therefore important to choose a system that uses this data effectively and presents the required information simply and clearly so that you can use it to improve your company. Some telematics providers offer other fleet-related services and have a standard platform on which everything is managed, such as fuel cards. Here, telematics data are processed and output as columns, diagrams and graphics in addition to the telematics data, a very practical option. To make it even easier,
Yes, it makes sense to link fuel card data with telematics data. First, you can track your MPG without manually comparing bills to the mileage for each vehicle, so you can identify any fraudulent use of your cards. There is always a possibility that the cards will be used improperly for vehicles outside of the company. The fuel fraud warnings allow you to monitor fuel abuse by comparing the location of your vehicles to the location where the fuel card was used. Even if you do not have fuel cards and your personnel claim a mileage allowance, the telematics data can help to identify incorrect mileage claims.
A professional installer should come and install a small GPS device and ideally a driver’s card reader in the vehicle. You have to make sure that the vehicles are available for a few hours. As for the tracking software, it’s probably a cloud-based system that doesn’t require any special software or installation. Everything online – Once the security access levels are set up for each user, the system is immediately available and receives the vehicle data as soon as the Trackers are installed. Plug-and-play systems that operate with the cigarette lighter offer a simple solution if the wiring of a vehicle is not sensible, for example a rental vehicle or if the driver changes the vehicle regularly.
A telematics system can trigger an alarm in the event of unexpected movements, for example if the driver has not been identified or if he leaves a safe zone. Telematics cannot stop the theft, but it enables the vehicle to be recovered quickly. If the vehicle is insured for business use only, the system can alert management to unauthorized use.
Due diligence has become increasingly important in recent years and telematics play an important role. Many insurers cut premiums for fleets equipped with trackers. The data can also be used to combat damage in the event of an accident or fraudulent claim, to demonstrate the location of a vehicle and the fact that it was not driven too quickly and safely. Telematics can improve driving because the systems monitor how safely someone drives by using algorithms that measure everything – from heavy braking and acceleration to speed and excessive idling. It is important for due diligence and for identifying drivers who need additional training. Also remember
This is the main benefit for most companies – telematics provides a clear view of your operational performance and what was not previously visible. With the data on kilometers driven, travel time, time on site, covered routes and covered areas, you have a number of actual data that can be compared with your existing „pre-planned“ data. With this transparency, you can access your operating costs and make improvements to routes, schedules, resource allocation and many other operational variables. Companies can achieve up to 20 percent fewer kilometers and similar profits.
Yes, first, you should be able to reduce CO2 and other harmful emissions by optimizing routes to reduce unnecessary kilometers. Telematics data provide real data about the trips so that you can access planned routes, timetables and areas again. Second, improved driving can significantly reduce fuel consumption and telematics can identify drivers who need additional training. In addition, the monthly ranking of the „safest drivers“ offers drivers an incentive to improve.
You are likely to have paperwork on the go, such as proof of delivery or a service report. If these tasks can be performed on a device connected to the telematics system, the reports can be completed on the device and also used for navigation and two-way communication. Back in the office, you benefit from real-time paperless reports that are automatically linked to vehicle location data as evidence of service, time and location.
Commercial vehicle drivers are obliged to carry out safety checks on their vehicles. A smartphone app that performs the checks will be very practical and provide instant electronic data for complication reports and maintenance planning to remedy defects. Telematics data also provide a useful additional check of the driving hour registration in order to ensure compliance with the regulations, in particular for truck drivers.
To ensure that uninterrupted data is received by the telematics device, there are some important functions that should be integrated. This includes tamper-proof connections and automatic warnings when trying to tamper with the device. Secondary internal antennas are also important as they allow the device to continue collecting and transmitting data when external antennas have been deactivated, and an internal rechargeable battery allows the device to continue normal operation if the supply voltage is interrupted.
Some telematics providers pay particular attention to data security, especially if they are active in the financial services sector or have customers from the security industry. Therefore, check that the data is stored on secure servers and that the company complies with the highest data protection standards and laws for the protection of personal data such as GDPR. Typically, you can set up login access levels so that users can view their data and their exact access level with the appropriate login security.