What Is Telematics?
If you’re researching GPS vehicle tracking, you’ve probably scratched your head at least once wondering what telematics is. The term shows up everywhere in discussions of fleet tracking, but almost nobody defines it. Let’s do that now.
The word telematics is actually a combination of two terms: telecommunications and informatics. In other words, it describes the process of gathering data from one source and transmitting it to other sources over a network. That’s really it.
What is telematics in fleet tracking?
One of the most common commercial applications is vehicle telematics. A vehicle telematics system is typically comprised of the following:
- A device installed in each of the business’s vehicles (or other assets, such as trailers and heavy equipment), which uses GPS and other technology to capture and record a wealth of information about these assets.
- A network to transmit this data to the company for real-time use, as well as to store the data for review later and for documentation and compliance purposes.
- A centralized online dashboard where company managers and executives can review both real-time and historical information about the company’s fleet.
The data captured by a vehicle’s GPS tracking device can include real-time information such as:
- an asset’s location and/or route,
- current speed,
- whether the vehicle is in motion or idle,
- if the vehicle has any unanticipated fault codes and should be brought in for maintenance,
- and even whether the driver is aggressively braking or accelerating.
This data recorded by the onboard device can also be used over time for:
- documenting hours or days at a job site,
- recording a driver’s hours worked for timesheet accuracy and proof of service,
- electronic logging device (ELD) for compliance with trucking-industry regulations.
Businesses even use fleet telematics systems to monitor the health of their vehicles and other assets over time, and to more effectively track timing for regular vehicle maintenance.
What telematics means for your business
Now that you know what telematics is, here are a few of the ways it can benefit your fleet and your business in general.
- Improve customer service
- Automate and improve the accuracy of your drivers’ timecards
- Reduce fuel expense
- Improve driver behavior
- Get more ROI from your vehicles
- Reduce insurance premiums
- Increase your chances of recovering stolen vehicles and other assets