What’s going on with telematics right now?

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Telematics is at this stage in its life, a relatively mature market. Sure it’s picked up steam lately as companies begin to understand how much it can help improve efficiency and cut back on things like fuel usage and vehicle maintenance, but it’s been around for over two decades in some form or another.

Vehicle tracking for security purposes is something that companies have used for a long time and high-end vehicles have featured as a security option pack for a long time. Similarly so, people might have used systems that are akin to the upcoming eCall emergency connection platform that’s set to be implemented, as cars have featured that for years too.

Yes, telematics has been around the block a few times and while it looks very different than it once did, it’s still changing all the time so it’s always a good idea to check in and see what sorts of trends are taking place in telematics right now. That’s why it’s interesting to look at the recent report by MiX Telematics (via FleetPoint), that studies the technology’s usage in the UK, France, Germany and Spain to spot any new or emerging trends.

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So what did MiX discover? For starters, every country’s uptake rate of telematics is increasing year on year and has been doing so since the turn of the century. This is being put down mostly to increased information about the technology filtering through to the general public. Fleet managers now know more about it, drivers know more about it and with that knowledge comes acceptance and an interest in the money saving aspects it can bring.

Interestingly however, while France is very much focused on cost cutting with telematics, other places like Germany and UK have expanded to offer new types of telematics and are using it in more innovative ways than their European friends. When combined with other onboard systems, telematics is helping improve efficiency even more, as well as finding new uses for it.

Another trend MiX spotted is that a lot of telematics firms are trying to figure out how to monetise all the data they have. With hundreds of millions of drivers using the technology, the amount of data recorded on driving habits and other aspects of vehicle usage is simply staggering. While insurance companies helping to lower premiums with the data is perhaps the most common usage, when some interesting metric is discovered that can be predicted because of it, it could make some of these firms very rich indeed.

The study also found that due to the increased interest in improving efficiency and other aspects of driving, telematics was leading the way to other systems and tools that people can use to make their driving habits more economical.

Telematics is literally changing the way the world drives, one person at a time.

Image source: MBWA PR

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Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.