Telematics has become an essential part of fleet management that’s used to increase efficiency and safety. The benefits of using telematics are huge, but it’s important to choose the right system for your fleet to maximize the potential gains. As you consider the offerings of many companies, you’ll want to keep the basic types of devices in mind as well as some guidelines for choosing the right system for your needs.
Types of Telematics Systems
- Plug-and-Play OBD II Telematics Devices: This type of system uses a port in the dashboard to collect data on factors like RPM, emissions, system status, vehicle speed, engine performance and mileage. These devices are the most common kind found in commercial vehicles, although they can be applied to fleet vehicles as well. They are lightweight and easy to install, using Wi-Fi or 4G networks to transmit data. An advantage to this type of system is its flexibility. It can be easily reinstalled and interchanged with compatible vehicles. These telematics solutions collect information on location, speed, idle time, route and vehicle diagnostics, all of which can be used to increase safety and efficiency.
- Smartphone-Based Telematics: Telematics systems that use smartphone apps are a popular option in today’s market. These simple telematics solutions can be loaded onto a phone and are the most convenient, accessible and affordable option for capturing real-time data. Smartphones in today’s world have precise GPS technology. But it’s important to consider that while this technology is effective, it can be vulnerable to data breaches and fraud. It also offers a temptation to misuse the smartphone while driving. However, for those who want simple-to-use and affordable fleet telematics solutions, smartphone apps may be the best option.
- Hard-Wired Telematics Devices: This is the most secure type of telematics solution available because the device is hard-fitted to the vehicle. These devices are connected with electrical wiring and powered with the vehicle’s battery. The system includes GPS units, mobile communication units and microcontrollers that communicate with an engine control unit.
No matter which type you choose, a telematics system can collect, process and evaluate vehicle data to the benefit of your fleet management decisions.
Take the time to think about these aspects when you choose the right telematics system for your fleet.
Data reports are among the most important aspects of telematics. You’ll want to consider how often you want to collect reports and whether you are going to compile the reports yourself or need the telematics software to do it for you.
Consider whether you want to control the telematics system from one computer or whether you need to be able to access it from different locations and devices. There are many advantages to using remote software, but there’s also something to be said for a single point of control for the sake of simplicity. No matter which option is preferable, there is a telematics system for you.
If you’re concerned about vehicle theft, get a telematics system that can alert you when a vehicle is started or moved outside of its preset hours. This enables fleet managers to report theft to the police as soon as possible and increases the odds that the vehicle will be recovered.
Alerts and Notification
Alert functions allow you to receive immediate notifications of new reports or driving offenses instead of waiting and sifting through the scheduled reports. You can also set up a telematics system to deliver vehicle maintenance alerts. The purpose of telematics is to deliver crucial information in convenient ways, and alert systems are a major contributor to this effort.
Tips for Choosing Telematics Solutions
- Know your needs. It’s important to assess what you need the telematics for and how it will work with your current processes.
- Choose features that will meet those needs. The features and their potential solutions should match up with your long-term goals. The best way to make sure a solution is scaled to your needs is to choose the features that will help you get there.
- Try a test system. If you can try out a few different types of telematics, you’ll see for yourself which system works best for you.
- Choose which system works best for you. After examining all of your options, you should choose the system that best meets your needs and has the functions you require. Evaluate the performance, credibility and experience of the provider before making your final decision.
- Implement the telematics by creating a plan for successful installation and training. Make sure that all of your employees understand the software and know how to use it to the fullest extent.
Peter K. Lam
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