Telematics for Commercial Vehicles: Past, Present and Future

Long gone are the days when letters were used as a medium of communication. In fact, if you look at the current mode of communication – Smartphones combined with the Internet, it even makes telephones that are just a decade old look ancient. Technology never stands still. It is bound to evolve with time, and with innovation, has to keep on marching forward.

But it’s not just the mode of communication that has upgraded; everything around us today is a lot easier and accessible than it was just a few years ago. This is called evolving or upgrading. And the impact of such major developments has been especially witnessed in the fleet management industry.

Remember the tale of “Around the world in 80 days”, a tale written in a time where sailing through the waters was the most advanced medium and flying was under-developed. But today, it is said that just 8 days are more than enough to go round the globe. This is a true testament to the evolution of technology over the years gone by.

Telematics – Past/Origin

Well, that is some massive advancement. Fleet management is a vast term. Inside the fleet, it’s telematics solutions that have worked their charm and developed rapidly. But what is telematics?

The word ‘Telematics’ has French roots. In French, ‘télématique’ means using telecommunications to allocate data. It was a combination of two French words, which means telecommunication and information. Well, the name literally says it all!

Evolution

In fleet management, Telematics is the concept which makes it possible for the managers, drivers, and workers to share information from remote locations to undergo long-distance transmission. It is also known as Fleet Telematics.

As technology developed, telematics upgraded into evolving in Automation as a result of merging telecommunication and data processing. This further gave rise to many new facilities and inventions that were used, not just by the professionals, but by everyone in every industry in the market. These are GPS navigation, an emergency warning system for vehicles, wireless gadgets such as integrated hands-free cell phones.

Artificial Intelligence led to the development of automatic driving support. This is very useful in terms of vehicle operation and safety of the car and the driver. All of these features together fall under the broader term ‘Telematics Umbrella’.

Present

As of now, telematics is like a huge stream with several channels flowing in different directions. The technology continues to evolve every single day. With the development of the Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning and of course, Artificial Intelligence, it just gets better.

The present scenario in telematics brings to the table the following major benefits –

  • Efficiency

Due to organized performance of vehicle telematics solutions, the efficiency of the fleet increases.

–     Telematics gives both the driver and manager a chance to build a healthy work environment by allowing them to freely communicate with each other. This free flow of information also makes it easier to avoid any kind of confusion or chaos, thus making the relay of information transparent.

–     The precision and advancement of the mapping system helps the driver to save time, fuel and other resources by avoiding long roads which have traffic ahead. The live-traffic feature updates the driver with the real-time scenario of the road and also suggests to him which road to take to reach the destination faster.

–     Moreover, effective execution of the task will allow the driver to enhance his driving hours in daily hours of service (HOS). This will function as a reward system and will further motivate the drivers to perform better and therefore, improve efficiency.

  • Security

One of the most prominent reasons why telematics is so popular is because it enhances safety exponentially. This is highly recommended as well as useful in developing countries where transportation sector works endlessly due to accelerating progress and growth.

The security of the driver as well as the asset is the priority. The fleet management software combined with telematics solution makes it possible to keep them safe and secure. Let’s take a look at how this is done.

–    The only thing you can be certain about roads is its uncertainty. Yes, we’re aware of how unpredictable the roads can be. All we can do is prepare to the best of our ability to face any circumstances. That is precisely what the advanced features of the Weather Update do. It assists the driver in keeping a track of the climate and conditions of the area. This allows him to avoid getting stuck in bad weather, as it can be dangerous and harmful to the driver as well as the cargo.

–    The Driver Behaviour keeps a track of every single movement that the driver makes. All the data is collected and transferred to the manager. He will stay updates about what the average speed of the vehicle was, where all halts was taken, and if the vehicle was lying idle, along with many other things.

–    Being aware of the fact that their driving patterns and movements on the job are being monitored, keeps the driver in check and conscious of every move he makes. This further reduces the chances of mistakes or negligence and hence, enhances safety.

  • Job Satisfaction

What is a common thing between all successful companies? Well, don’t overthink. It’s actually a simple solution. They know how to keep their employees happy. But how do they do that? And why is that important?

–     How? By making sure that the employee is valued and he is satisfied with his job. When the employee is aware that his safety and satisfaction is under consideration, he will strive harder to be better at his job.

–    Why? Because reports have suggested that if an employee is happy, he works more efficiently. This, in turn, increases the chances of a company’s success.

  • Reduction in Operation Cost

–     Reports have suggested that an average fleet spends around 20-40% of its time doing nothing i.e. being idle. Now, one must remember that fleet management is carried out for a large quantity of fleet. While dealing with such large numbers, if one is able to save even a few idle minutes per vehicle, the cumulative end result would be huge. At the end of the day, this saves a lot of money and resources. These savings can be utilized more efficiently.

–    Advanced mapping and precise routing system help the driver avoid unnecessary traffic or bad weather. This is very helpful in preventing excessive fuel consumption, which ultimately saves a lot in terms of operating costs.

  • Monitor Safety Habits

–     Every company has a set of standard requirements. The driver behavior feature helps monitor all the movement of the driver including how fast the vehicle is going, acceleration rate, braking time and other factors.

–     This helps the system evaluate and find out whether the driver is meeting the standards.

–     Based on the result, the driver is rewarded if he is performing well or counselled if he lacks in some aspects.

–     Finally, this helps in improving the overall output of the company as the drivers are essentially the backbone in the transportation industry.

  • Optimize Vehicle Performance

–     How often have we heard about, ‘Health is wealth’? Well, for the fleet industry, the vehicle’s health is all the wealth they need.

–    Hence making sure that the vehicle is performing well and is not facing any trouble is a major step to ensure proper productivity and optimised vehicle performance.

  • Boost Customer experience –

–    Due to the efficient implementation of telematics solution, the fleet is able to deliver the assets safely as well as on time. This keeps the customer happy and satisfied.

–     A happy customer does the promotion of the company by word of mouth, which is regarded as the best and most impactful form of marketing. In other words, a satisfied customer helps to bring in multiple other customers.

  • Enhance Data Security

–    The use of telematics enables managers and drivers to store data by utilising cloud computing. This not only saves time from a hoard of paperwork but also enhances the security of the documents in case of emergency.

–    The tech allows the drivers to have some entertainment or communicate with family in the relaxation period without compromising the security of the fleet.

That’s how the telematics has improved over the years. Now that we know about the current scenario, let’s take a peek into the future.

Future of Telematics

No matter from which direction you look at the stream of telematics, one thing is certain – this stream is here to stay and there is no way that it will dry up anytime soon. But there are certain aspects of technology in which telematics is likely to improve further.

These aspects have been divided into 3 major categories:

  1. Data Insight

–    The era of might is right is over. Today, it’s the era of information. The free flow of data makes it possible for the fleet to enhance its functioning.

–    The insight into collected data increases transparency. This, in turn, builds customer trust and ultimately improves customer experiences.
–    Collecting the data is just the first step. Understanding the art of analyzing the raw data to make something useful out of it is the real deal.

–    Once the raw data is properly channelized, it will allow people to precisely account the total cost of ownership as well as check whether the key performance indicators (KPIs) are being met.

  1. Cybersecurity

–   With more and more freightage companies realizing the importance of telematics and adopting it, the need for cybersecurity grows as well.

–     Considering the fact that most of paperwork has been replaced by uploading the data in the cloud and hence increasing flexibility, one also needs to understand that if the security is not properly maintained, confidential and crucial data can be leaked which will lead to a massive loss.

Therefore, in order to deal with this, Deep learning will play a big role in terms of security as it will use AI to enhance safety.

  1. Enhanced Integration
  • Eventually, in some way or the other, every sector is integrating to help and evolve with each other. Telematics, for example, is the combination of Telecommunication and information.
  • Currently, it is combining with the Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things to give a boost to its progress.
  • But it is expected that telematics will combine with various other sectors as well in the times to come. This integration will prove to be a symbiotic relationship which will help all stakeholders enjoy mutual benefits.

A major change in the field of telematics will be highly dependent on the needs of various industries. Advanced technology such as Deep Learning and IoT will play a major role in developing telematics. There is an endless possibility that comes with fleet telematics. But the only question is, are the current fleets ready?

This post was last modified on May 24, 2019 12:00 PM