Before looking at the top 5 things to consider when looking into fleet telematics, let’s first of all define what fleet telematics is. Fleet telematics also popularly known as fleet telematics systems (FTS’s) are vehicle systems which allow information exchanges between commercial vehicle fleets and their central authorities i.e. dispatching offices. A typical FTS consists of a stationary (FCS) fleet communication system and a mobile vehicle system (VS).
It is important to note that fleet telematic systems feature digital maps which help in visualizing vehicle positions as well as traces. Communication with fleet communication systems is usually realized via satellite, cellular or trunked radio communication. Vehicle positioning is usually realized using satellite positioning systems or through dead reckoning using odometers and gyroscopes.
In most instances mobile vehicle systems are equipped alongside input devices which allow drivers to preset/predefined status messages. It is however important to note that drivers can be able to add simple content i.e. numerical values. Besides sending messages, it is worth noting that some mobile vehicle systems are capable of submitting messages automatically i.e. vehicle position or data from sensors placed in cargo areas etc.
Back in 2002 when fleet telematics begun to be viewed as a fleet industry standard, many European commercial vehicle makers agreed to offer 3rd party access to fleet data using CAN-bus as the main connection. Today, fleets and fleet management standards have evolved to offer all sorts of vehicle data i.e. vehicle weight, engine data, fuel consumption, vehicle temperature etc. Fleet telematics have become a fleet industry requirement. It is estimated that the European telematics market could easily surpass the £6 billion mark in the next few years.
There is however a notable challenge which revolves around choosing fleet telematics systems. Because the telematics industry is rapidly evolving, there are very many substandard telematics systems being sold out there in the market. You must therefore exercise a lot of caution when buying fleet telematics systems to avoid wasting money on ineffective systems which don’t meet their intended purpose. It is important to note that fleet businesses can’t succeed with inferior fleet telematics systems or providers (companies offering fleet telematics services).
The focus of this article is helping fleet managers/owners choose the best fleet telematics systems/ providers in the market today. This is because the best fleet telematics systems/providers offer value for money as well as many other benefits i.e. fraud prevention, assisting in dispatching and diagnostics etc. Below are 5 things to consider when looking into fleet telematics systems/providers.
1. Consolidation capabilities of fleet telematics systems/providers
This is undoubtedly one of the most important things to consider when choosing fleet telematics systems/providers. The fleet telematics system/provider you settle for must be able to consolidate different telematics systems into one i.e. check as well as report on different systems to ensure error-free analysis of telematics data. As mentioned above, fleet tracking systems are made up of a number of systems which all provide useful fleet data. It is therefore important to settle for fleet telematics systems/providers with consolidation capabilities to ensure you get the most accurate fleet data and reports. Failure to consider consolidation capabilities of fleet telematics systems and providers only exposes your fleet to losses. It is better to spend more money than get a system/provider that offers inaccurate data. This is one of the main reasons why it is advisable to avoid cheap fleet telematics systems/providers.
2. Network coverage
Network coverage is also among the top things to consider when choosing telematics systems/providers because of obvious reasons i.e. telematics systems work best only when they are in an area with adequate network coverage. If you don’t want to have blind spots in your fleet where you can’t trace important vehicle information, it is better to choose a fleet telematics system/provider with the best coverage. This consideration is more applicable for fleets which cover wide areas. If you want to maintain total control of your fleet for effective management, you must consider hiring fleet telematics providers who offer the best coverage. Alternatively, you can buy powerful fleet telematics systems which are strong enough to transmit even in areas with weak network signals.
3. Installation and use
The fleet telematics system you choose should be easy to install and use. This is among the top considerations when choosing fleet telematics systems/providers because the best systems are those that are easy to install and use. There is absolutely no reason why you should consider buying a fleet tracking system that will give you problems during installation and use. It is important to note that the success of a fleet tracking system is based on how friendly the system is to all stakeholders. If the installation process is easy and the system is easy to use even for drivers with no-prior knowledge on fleet telematics systems, then you will most likely reap all the benefits associated with the system.
This is another top consideration when looking into fleet telematics systems/providers. It is important to note that the best systems/providers are usually expensive. If you want to avoid many problems i.e. maintenance costs, poor capabilities e.t.c. it is better to spend a reasonable amount initially. The cheapest systems/providers may look attractive at first however they usually end up costing more. Other aspects of price you need to consider include; installation fees, future upgrades, data fees etc. It is important to note that buying fleet telematics systems or hiring fleet telematics providers is the first step. You need to consider other additional costs if you want to get out of fleet telematics systems/providers.
This is the last top thing to consider when choosing fleet telematics systems/providers. The best fleet telematics providers offer 24 hour support 7 days a week. Because fleet tracking attracts numerous logistical challenges, you need a system/provider that offers that human aspect in cases of emergencies. You should settle only for those systems/providers that offer the best support services. Finding good reliable fleet telematics systems/providers is simple. You just need to check online customer reviews.
In summary, it is obvious that the best fleet telematics systems/providers offer the best fleet tracking benefits. From the above information you shouldn’t have a problem choosing the best fleet telematics systems/providers in the market today to enjoy all fleet tracking benefits.