What Is Telematics?

If you’re asking yourself “what is telematics?” then you’ve come to the right place. 

Our guide explains all the key details you need to know about this vehicle monitoring software, including: 

  • What telematics is 
  • What it’s used for 
  • What vehicles it can be used for 
  • It’s benefits to your business 

We’ve given you all the information you need to understand what telematics is. All you need to do is read our guide and then you’ll understand why it’s so good for businesses and fleets. 

What is Telematics software?

Telematics is software used to collect data on vehicles and transmit it over large distances. 

This data is used to monitor the performance of the vehicles and their drivers, helping to make them safer, more efficient, and more cost-effective. 

While telematics is best-known as being the black box that insurance companies use to monitor drivers, there are a number of other devices that use the technology – from mobile apps to tools that can be plugged into your lighter socket.  

To help improve fleet management, road safety, and individual driver performance, many vehicles are now fitted with telematics as a manufacturing standard. 

What is telematics used for? 

Telematics is tracking software that’s used for collecting data to monitor vehicles.  

What does that mean for your business? It means you can use the technology for helping you understand how your drivers and vehicles are performing. You do this by: 

  • Finding out the exact locations your drivers are going to 
  • Learning about the unique behaviours of your drivers 
  • Getting in-depth readings of your vehicles engine diagnostics 

grey transit van

Credit: Wikimedia

You can then use telematics for managing your fleet by:

  • Simplifying how you manage your resources 
  • Finding ways of making your drivers more efficient 
  • Pre-empting when to get your vehicles serviced 

And by doing a whole bunch of other great things that all result in one thing: your business being safer and more profitable. 

What data does telematics collect? 

Telematics collects an enormous amount of data on your vehicles and drivers, which we’ve listed below. 

Vehicle data collected by telematics 

The most important vehicle information that’s sent to the software is: 

  • Location 
  • Diagnostics 
  • Inspection reports 
  • Panic alerts 
  • Status 

Driver data collected by telematics 

The key driver data that you get from telematics is: 

  • Acceleration 
  • Braking 
  • Cornering 
  • Job despatch 
  • Speed 

What vehicles can my business use telematics for?

One of the best things about telematics is that it can be used for monitoring all the essential vehicles that your business needs, whatever the scale and unique travel requirements of your company. 

These are the vehicles that you can use telematics for: 

  • Cars
  • Vans 
  • Trucks 
  • Tractors 
  • Buses
  • Coaches
  • Heavy-duty
  • Specialist 

In the following sections, we explain how telematics helps you to monitor and maintain these vehicles.

How telematics is used for monitoring cars 

What telematics monitors:

  • Productivity 
  • Maintenance 
  • Mileage

How telematics is used for monitoring vans 

What telematics monitors:

  • Driver behaviour 
  • Site time 
  • Unauthorised vehicle use 

How telematics is used for monitoring trucks

A large red truck with a white haulage section

Credit: Wikimedia

What telematics monitors:

  • Job dispatches 
  • Proof of delivery 
  • Timesheet reporting 

How telematics is used for monitoring tractors 

What telematics monitors:

  • Route planning
  • Time management 
  • Fuel optimisation 

How telematics is used for monitoring buses and coaches

What telematics monitors:

  • Route scheduling 
  • Engine idling 
  • Arrival and departure times 

How telematics is used for monitoring heavy-duty vehicles 

What telematics monitors:

  • Site work productivity 
  • Vehicle maintenance requirements 
  • Fuel usage 

How telematics is used for monitoring specialist vehicles 

What telematics monitors:

  • Vehicle activity 
  • Power take-off 
  • Transfer of power between vehicles 

What devices can collect telematics data?

smartphone for telematics

Credit: Needpix

Telematics is most closely associated with the black boxes that are added to vehicles. 

However, the technology can be collected through a variety of devices that are simple to add to any vehicle and that can be used by any business. 

The devices that support telematics include: 

  • Black box 
  • Mobile apps 
  • Lighter socket tools

Due to the benefits of using telematics, many vehicles now come with the technology installed as a standard. 

What are the benefits of using telematics?

Telematics offers an enormous number of benefits that help to make your business more efficient and more profitable. 

Below, we’ve listed the 15 key benefits your business gets from using telematics.

15 most important benefits of telematics 

  1. Safety 
  2. Efficiency 
  3. Money-saving 
  4. Increased vehicle reliability 
  5. Cost-effective vehicle maintenance 
  6. Boosts customer service standards
  7. Fleet management 
  8. Location tracking 
  9. Monitoring driver performance 
  10. Monitoring vehicle performance 
  11. Reduced fuel costs
  12. Better communication
  13. Reduced admin
  14. Saves time 
  15. Helps with tax compliance 

What is the connection between fuel cards and telematics 

Fuel cards are a great way of monitoring the vehicles your business uses, along with getting access to cheaper petrol and diesel. 

Fuel cards keep an electronic record of how your vehicles and drivers perform and many of the best ones use telematics to make it easier to monitor them. 

Combining fuel cards with telematics makes it easier for you to manage the transport activities that your business needs to undertake. 

Because of this, we recommend picking a fuel card that uses telematics. Why? Because it makes your business more efficient and more cost-effective, helping you to provide a better service for your customers. 

What are the best telematics fuel cards?

Many of the best fuel cards use telematics technology. This is because fuel cards make it easier for you to monitor your business, make your company more efficient, and to reduce your fuel costs.

We’ve listed the best telematics fuel cards in the table below. 

Name of fuel card Why it’s a great fuel card for your business iCompario star rating
BP Plus Bunker Exceptional motorway coverage for haulage companies ★★★★★
TruckOne Access to a huge network of HGV fuel stations ★★★★★
Esso National Can be used  in 25% of the UK’s fuel stations ★★★★★
fuelGenie Covers 1,350 Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Morrisons stations ★★★★★
EDC Lets your business refill its vehicles in 21 European nations ★★★★★
Shell Multi-Network Allows you to refill at Esso, Texaco, and Shell, stations ★★★★★


Picking the best telematics fuel cards is about one thing – finding the ones that meet the unique needs of your business. 

We’ve created detailed guides that explain the best fuel cards for a number of vehicles and businesses: 

We recommend that you read each of these guides before deciding which fuel cards are best for your company. 

You can then head over to the iCompario’s fuel card comparison page, where you can enter the specific needs of your business and find the right card for your company. 

You can also find more information about the technology in our dedicated telematics guide section

European Diesel Card Limited, Trading Address: Unit 1, Floor 1-4, Chalfont Square, Old Foundry Road, Ipswich, IP4 2A, United Kingdom
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