Telematics is the intersection between telecommunications and information processing. By linking these two fields, telematics helps companies answer business questions related to motor vehicles and equipment.
Of course, there are some questions that pop up more than others, such as ‘How are my drivers performing in terms of safety?’, ‘What is driving up the costs of my fleet?’, and ‘How can we improve fuel efficiency?’. This knowledge is the key to maximizing return on investment (ROI). From waste management to food and beverage companies, transit fleets, and more – telematics is elevating insights and supporting fast, precise decision-making in most industries.
This article was written by the team at The Morey Corporation. We are experts in telematics systems and solutions, proactively partnering with our clients to provide world-class solutions. Our purpose-driven approach keeps us on the cutting edge of emerging technologies, ensuring focused, strategic, and results-oriented application of all telematics capabilities.
Read on for a comprehensive take on vehicle telematics for managers. Our hope is that by understanding the importance of telematics, how it works, and how to implement it, your company will be better equipped to answer the tough questions that come up every day.
What is Vehicle Telematics?
When dealing with the fleet industry, telematics essentially refers to vehicle tracking and monitoring. Vehicle telematics is made possible through device connectivity. Some of the telematics devices necessary for vehicle regulation include:
- GPS receiver
- Engine interface
- Input/output interface (expander port)
- SIM card
While there are a lot of moving parts involved, the concept of telematics is fairly straightforward: the process begins with data collection and ends with a final output ready for analysis.
How Does Telematics Work?
Telematics devices retrieve data from a vehicle and send it to the cloud. The first part of this process is capturing data through a sensor.
Sensors in Telematics
Temperature, pressure, vibration, and movement sensors capture data that fleet managers can use to better understand how the vehicles are operated. Bluetooth and wired magnet sensors also play a role in vehicle detection and conveying traffic information for vehicle fleet teams.
After the sensor captures the data, it is transferred to a terminal or a gateway, both of which play an important role in vehicle telematics as a whole.
Terminal or Gateway Telematics
A professional gateway unit is like the “master device” that controls the rest of the vehicle. Customizable gateways, like Morey’s MC4+, can offer IP69K rated housing, backup batteries, and a flexible interface to support light, medium, and heavy-duty vehicles. These gateways, placed between terminals and servers, allow for efficient service management.
Finding the right terminal is also important because there are certain features to look out for. For instance, Morey’s MCX301 professional terminal is suitable for a wide range of applications, due to its various third-party device support and dual SIM. Use cases can range from international logistics, refrigerated transport, agriculture, construction and mining, security and emergency services, and more.
After passing through the gateway, terminal, and server, the data enters the cloud via a cellular network.
Cellular Network Telematics
Cellular tracking system hardware is a more affordable option for many fleet managers, though they must purchase online data. 2G, 3G, and 4G cellular networks are typically sufficient to transmit data. While some might assume 5G is superior, this isn’t always the case. 5G also costs more and uses more power.
Once a company decides to integrate telematics devices, it’s time to look for the right Telematics Service Provider (TSP).
Finding the right Telematics Service Provider (TSP) network to manage telematics devices allows a company to scale a fleet tracking system.
To manage all components of the telematics system in a fleet, it’s important to find the best fleet management software.
Fleet Management Software
Morey is proud to be one of the best fleet management software providers in the market. Our end-to-end solution can easily handle small, medium, and enterprise fleet operators’ needs. The solution is user-friendly and also includes extensive, personalized support and training.
Must Know Information About Telematics
Here’s what you need to know to extract the most value from telematics devices and systems:
- Understanding Data Usage: When addressing a problem such as vehicle routing, collecting the data and tracking it is just the beginning. On the backend, engineers can use data to develop machine learning algorithms that can more quickly and reliably solve the problems at hand. For example, game theory is one approach that can be used for route optimization. In addition, fuzzy logic can be added to allow for alternatives when the best option isn’t feasible.
- What are Video Telematics? By leveraging cameras as part of vehicle telematics, fleet companies can do things like assess driver risk levels based on a video of a collision or manage security features. It’s important to note that video telematics goes beyond a standard dashcam or even a dual dashcam by incorporating data analytics and data science. For instance, by combining the data from a dashcam with cargo monitoring it’s possible to improve safety, lower costs, and reduce accidents.
- GPS Tracking vs. Telematics: You may hear some interchange between the terms GPS tracking and telematics, but there are important distinctions. The main thing to remember is that vehicle telematics can utilize GPS tracking devices, but telematics collects so much more than just a vehicle’s location. In fact, telematics can capture data that doesn’t directly relate to location, such as:
- Trip Distance & Time
- Idling Time
- Harsh Driving
- Fuel Consumption
- Vehicle Faults
- Engine Data
What are the Benefits of Vehicle Telematics?
While collecting data is inherently useful, vehicle telematics offers a host of benefits to the fleet and automotive industry when analyzed appropriately. Some of the greatest benefits include:
- Increased Productivity – By collecting data in real-time and analyzing it, managers and analysts can draw insights about resource utilization, communication trends, and even develop their own algorithms for optimizing routes. In the end, this all comes down to improving ROI by running the company more efficiently after understanding the data.
- Improved Safety – Perhaps a fleet company was neglecting its maintenance schedule. With the power of vehicle telematics, managers can track maintenance intervals, preventing equipment from failing or malfunctioning. Another way that vehicle telematics can improve safety is through driver behavior monitoring. By recording a driver’s behavior, it is easier to understand the risks associated with specific actions and intervene before something goes wrong.
- Compliance – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration operates within the United States Department of Transportation and regulates the trucking industry. According to the FMCSA, Electronic logging devices (ELDs) must meet the following criteria to be compliant:
- Powering on and working effectively levels within one minute
- Hardware is synchronized with the engine
- Meet data transfer standards
- Sustainability – By monitoring and analyzing a fleet’s carbon emissions, managers have the chance to make changes to reduce the fleet’s environmental impact.
- Mitigate Theft – Main and backup telematics devices are used to mitigate theft. The main can include a wired or wireless trigger output, while the backup should be a small, self-contained entity. Together, it’s possible to geo-fence the stolen vehicle and recover it quickly.
With all of these advantages that vehicle telematics has to offer, it’s no wonder the market has grown exponentially since its humble beginnings, which surprisingly enough, date back to the 1800s.
The History of Telematics
The beginning of vehicle telematics can date back to 1844, with the invention of the tachograph. Max Maria von Weber, a civil servant, engineer, and author developed the then-simple technology to record irregularities in trains. However, since then tachographs have been adapted to record driving activities.
The goal of an automotive tachograph is to ensure the correct number of breaks are being taken by drivers for safety, as well as monitoring driving time and miscellaneous work. By beginning the process of coupling data informatics and telecommunications, the tachograph opened the door to vehicle telematics as we know it today.
The term telematics was officially coined in 1978. In the 1980s, the European Union commissioned research into vehicle telematics to improve safety outcomes. Next, In 1993, the U.S. government offered free access to GPS in cars, which is crucial to the development of telematics as it relies on GPS monitoring.
In the 2000s, vehicle telematics really took off. Fleet management systems have adopted telematics as a key component of the industry and the motor insurance industry uses it for User-Based Insurance (UBI). In addition, machine-to-machine communication (M2M) improved in the early 2000s, leading up to the Internet of Things (IoT) that is well-known today.
The Future of Telematics and Your Next Steps
From improving safety, productivity, and compliance, to sustainability and mitigating theft – it’s clear that telematics changed fleet management for the better. An understanding of how vehicle telematics works is crucial to furthering its growth in the future.
It’s important to understand the different telematics devices, as well as the steps involved in capturing, transferring, and analyzing data. Once data is analyzed, it can be used to develop complex machine-learning algorithms that are capable of tackling problems like route optimization and facial recognition.
Dating back to 1844, the history of telematics is vast. Even though it started as a device for monitoring railroads, it’s obvious that telematics will continue to grow across industries.
The question becomes – what’s next? The answer is simple – contact Morey to find out what a partner in IoT can do for you and your business!