6 Trends in Telematics

TrendsTelematics is an ever-evolving industry that incorporates the instant transfer of data by way of telecommunications with the “Big Data” potential of informatics. So far telematics has made managing fleets much simpler by integrating routing, geo-fencing, navigation, two-way communications, vehicle diagnostics, and many other invaluable features that provide critical data about vehicles and drivers. Trends in the telematics industry point toward change at an exponential rate.

As the fleet industry’s understanding and use of telematics grows, so too will its application to vehicles in general, including the ability to trend out data and come up with predictive as well as responsive analytics models. These solutions will provide more ways to reduce time spent and labor costs, increase operational efficiencies, further emphasize safety and make more automated decisions.

Trends in the telematics industry will not only impact fleets, but also the general public as more consumer-facing programs hit the market from insurance providers and OEMs. Fleets may be expected to implement basic features that increase the safety of the communities they work in as the public becomes more familiar with telematics as well.

In a 2015 survey of more than 1,000 commercial and government fleets, just over 52% of respondents currently use telematics within their operations. That means there are still millions of fleet vehicles running without this beneficial technology. As the ROI becomes clear to the rest of the industry and as the technology improves by making it easier to implement and manage the data, the adoption rate will continue to increase.

Faster Networks & Hotspots

With the fall of AT&T’s 2G network coming by Jan. 1, 2017, any technology using this network will need to upgrade to 3G and 4G networks. While telematics providers are already making this move to ensure devices are up to date and compatible with 3G or 4G networks, for fleets it means that you’ll benefit from greater bandwidth and faster data transfer rates. In the past, many customers have only utilized GPS tracking alone; however, with an upgrade to a faster network, they can expect new benefits such as real-time driver safety coaching, improved transparency over vehicle maintenance, video functions, and other productivity tools.

To put this upgrade into perspective, the difference between 2G and 4G technology is the difference between barely being able to send a text message and being able to stream full-length movies on your mobile device.

This move also addresses a newer but increasingly common fleet request, which is to turn vehicles into a Wi-Fi hotspot. The telematics device serves as the hotspot, using its 3G or 4G connection so that a driver or field worker, for example, can use mobile devices and ensure online connectivity when at a job site or going out on a service call.

Integration and APIs

Perhaps one of the strongest benefits of telematics comes from integrating with other systems, allowing it to automatically push out data to other software. As more software companies in general use open platforms and offer an Application Programming Interface (API), it’s making it easier to integrate information across each program. The ability to integrate programs and share data across these once disparate systems allows fleet management software to team up with telematics, for example, creating transparency between systems and alleviating manual reports or data entry.

GPS data and vehicle diagnostics from telematics combined with a company’s dispatching software can allow businesses to automatically dispatch the right vehicle for the job, time and time again, without hesitation or mistakes. Integration helps to streamline data and gain a more complete picture of operations. For example, integrating with a CRM or HR program can help make sure the information gets to the right place faster and more accurately.

Demand for direct integration between a company’s fleet solution and other software systems continues to grow. Once reserved for the largest, enterprise fleets, now mid-size and even small fleets can start to take advantage of this ability. While still in its infancy, expect to see more and more integration possibilities with other software.

Mobile Technology

The genesis of the tablet revolution began in 2010 with the public release of Apple’s iPad. What was first thought of as a fad has quickly evolved into a business staple that allows managers and employees to do their job on the go. Telematics companies picked up the next logical course of action, integrating the two modern technological titans with each other. Because the majority of people have smartphones already, many providers now offer an app that allows fleet managers to monitor and control their fleet from a tablet or smartphone on the go.

Although still a novelty, eventually you may even see integration with wearables.

The Role of OEMs

As telematics devices have become a necessity in fleet management, some OEMs have responded to the change in market by offering vehicles with them already installed.

The downside of this is data standardization across a mixed OEM fleet and overall depth of information received, which varies from each OEM-provided solution. Plus, OEM telematics aren’t available in every vehicle so at this point is not likely a viable option in terms of fully replacing a fleet’s aftermarket solution. For a fleet to get the most out of an OEM solution, a third-party provider would need to consolidate and standardize the data. This will be an area to continue to watch as the OEM-provided solutions grow.

In-Cab Video and Alerts

Through in-cab video recording devices, fleets are using this video as an additional method to coach drivers on poor driving behavior. The benefit coming from these types of coaching methods is the ability to put this footage right in front of the driver, allowing them to watch their own behaviors versus being told about a behavior.

Another benefit coming from video integration with telematics is driver exoneration. Through in-cab video, fleets have potential evidence to clarify any faulty claims against their drivers and helps speed up the accident investigation process. Video integration allows managers to pinpoint the exact incident to get a better understanding of what happened.

Outside of video, other in-cab telematics features are also helping fleets with driver coaching, such as audible feedback after a harsh braking event.

User Experience

The overall improvements to usability really surround automation and how easy it is to identify the data you need. Improved and customizable dashboards, event notifications and reports via email are all examples of how fleets are getting a more user-friendly experience. Telematics companies are continuously trying to make technology easier for the end-user by making systems more autonomous.

While dashboards are becoming more visual than ever providing powerful mapping and graphs, analytics and benchmarking are also becoming a larger part of the package. Telematics companies are providing more analysis and industry benchmarks for fleet customers, taking some of the load off the fleet and giving them a better idea of key performance indicators both within their own fleet as well as compared to other operators.

Telematics providers are also trying to cut back on the time a driver spends navigating on their interface by keeping the clicks to a minimal. Voice recognition options are also becoming more commonplace as well.

In the social aspect of telematics through the likes of gamification, incentives and rewards programs, it’s important that fleets can extrapolate what they need from the data and move on. Some telematics providers have even integrated multiple gamification techniques into dashboards and reports so that fleets don’t have to gather this information.

With an initial setup, a telematics solution today can run on its own whether it is sending out alerts or scheduling reports or pushing data to another software system — the current evolution in fleet telematics.

4 Ways To Reduce Accident Rates and Costs

AccidentReducing accident management costs and making long-lasting changes in a fleet operation is hard work. But, it can lead to substantial cost savings as well as the potential to save the lives of fleet drivers and the general public.

Accident costs saw a modest increase in 2014 vs. 2013 figures, with the percentage of preventable accidents remaining mostly flat, according to Element Fleet Management, The CEI Group, Corporate Claims Management (CCM), and Fleet Response.

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Mental Distractions

Mental Distractions Potentially unsafe mental distractions can persist for as long as 27 seconds after a driver dials, changes music or sends a text using voice commands, according to new research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The study results raise new and unexpected concerns regarding the use of phones and vehicle information systems while driving, the foundation said. This research represents the third phase of the foundation’s investigation into cognitive distraction. Results show that new hands-free technologies can mentally distract drivers even if their eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel.

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Improve Fleet Safety with a 4G DashCam

Would the ability to view the inside of your delivery truck, while it is on the road, give you a better idea of what the driver is doing?
Think of it this way. Every driver in your fleet is a sales rep, company rep, or just a traveling billboard for your company.

Improve Fleet safety
Distracted Darryl

Are they a Distracted Darryl?

Flipping off drivers, cutting off drivers, or just not paying attention while they driver.
You could get GPS tracking system. Some even have driver behavior attached to them. Some even give you training video to train your fleet drivers. You may even pay for a safety trainer to come in a talk to your drivers, give them all kinds of helpful advice. But that’s it, it’s only advice. What happens after your driver leaves the office is really a mystery. All the training in the world could go out the window once they turn the corner, unless you have the ability to “see” into the vehicle, in real time.
Imagine, with a click of your mouse, watching into the vehicle. What if you could see into up to 16 vehicle at once. With the our viewer software and 4G DashCam, you can watch up to 16 vehicles and it cost half of what a Janus V2 cost.
Time are changing, fleet tracking is just not enough anymore, you need to protect your fleet and your drivers.

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The Big Brother Myth SOLVED!

Do your employees cringe at the idea of a GPS tracking device and In-Vehicle Cameras in their vehicle? The resistance to “big brother” can be a struggle for employers to overcome and employees may complain about being “spied on” or “a loss of trust.” Some drivers may even threaten to quit if a fleet tracking device or camera is put in the vehicle, but if they’re not doing anything wrong, why would they be so upset? Even though drivers are some of the harshest critics of GPS vehicle tracking technology, they actually have a lot to gain.

Increased Driver Safety

Angry-Employee-Boss-2617433

Whether they choose to believe it or not, drivers who speed put themselves at a higher risk for accidents. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says speeding is a factor in one-third of all motor vehicle
accidents. With Safety Track’s Speed Alerts and Camera DVR system, you’ll be able to see what’s going on inside and out of the vehicle, while also seeing speed alerts, idle time and much more. By eliminating the temptation to speed, your drivers will be far safer, while receiving less traffic tickets. You can even use the automated reports and video to argue inaccurate speeding fines and accidents.

Fight Wrongful Accident Liability

Even when your drivers are cautious and safe, accidents can still happen; we’re all human. If your employee gets into a wreck, the police may get an earful of the “he-said-she-said” game.  Individuals may want to sue your business, hoping to get some extra cash for “pain and suffering.” With an In-Vehicle Camera system, along with a fleet tracking solution, you’ll have concrete records and VIDEO what is happening in and around your vehicle, along with your driver’s speed, location, direction of travel and more. It can turn a knock-down-drag-out lawyer fight into an open-and-shut case, saving you TIME and MONEY. You’ll keep the points off your driver’s license and the lawyer’s fees off your books.

Driver Incentive Programs

Even with the data and video on their side, drivers may still resist a GPS Fleet Tracking System. However, a simple incentive program can change the minds of even the most stubborn employee to get on board. After installing Safety Track’s system, you’ll notice a decrease in fuel cost, insurance claims, and also repair costs, almost immediately. Taking a portion of that savings and offering it to your safest and most fuel-conscious employees as a gift card, free time off or cash bonus, can show your drivers that fleet tracking devices can work for them. With our Fleet Metrics dashboard application, you easily see who has the fewest Speed Alerts, lowest idle times and more. Print them off and post them in the office to create a friendly competition. You’ll soon have your drivers boasting about saving you money.