Fleet Tracking Software: Main Benefits and Trends of Telematics
In recent years, fleet management software underwent significant transformations due to technological advancement and the impact of the pandemic. If you are a fleet owner, now it’s the best time to think about optimizing your fleet management system and possibly implementing new tools to keep up with the upcoming trends next year. Below you’ll find a quick overview of the state of fleet management software today and the expected trends and changes to see in 2022.
Telematics and fleet tracking
Before discussing the changes in the industry, it’s important to first remind you what telematics is and how it’s related to GPS fleet tracking.
Telematics is a method of vehicle monitoring with the help of telecommunications and informatics. It also falls under the IoT since it uses sensors to collect data about a vehicle and the driving behavior of a driver. There are three main types of telematics devices to install in your vehicles. Let’s have a quick look at them.
This type of telematics device is considered to be the most secure as it’s hard-wired into the vehicle and is tamper-resistant. It is powered by the vehicle’s battery and has a TCU (telematics control unit) as its main component.
Because of its security, hard-wired telematics devices are most often chosen for gathering data for compliance, or that’s of utter importance for a business. Another great thing about this type of device is its robust and smooth connectivity with sensors which enables efficient data collection and provides a 360-degree picture of the vehicle’s performance.
These devices can be easily shared across vehicles and are designed specifically to be compatible with OBD (onboard diagnostics) ports. In this way, a plug-and-play device gets access to the vehicular data and can serve as portable data storage or send vehicle data to the cloud.
The main advantages of plug-and-play devices are that they are very lightweight, compact, and efficient. This type of telematics device is most recommended for those businesses that have a high vehicle turnover or a big number of rental vehicles. Also, note that plug-and-play is not the best option to collect data for compliance purposes.
Smartphones can be successfully used as telematics devices because most of them have precise GPS and good connectivity with needed sensors. Hence, you will need to install a specialized monitoring and tracking app and you are good to go.
While smartphones are portable and easy to use, they also have several cons such as low reliability and security. As well, they can be mishandled by drivers to create deliberate fraud or they can be simply misused and cause issues with data collection.
One can use either a single device or a combination of devices to manage their fleet. The choice will depend on the fleet size, the purpose behind data collection, and available resources.
So what happens after the data is gathered?
Once the data is collected, it is sent to the cloud for later processing. This data might include driver’s behavior (i.e. aggressive driving), fuel consumption, idling time, car position, driving speed, tire pressure. This leads us to the next question: how does all this data help in managing your fleet more efficiently?
The benefits of telematics for fleet management
There are several severe pain points that every fleet owner has faced at some point in time: inaccurate driving, cars requiring urgent maintenance, too high spendings on fuel. Luckily, telematics can help resolve these issues by bringing the following benefits:
- Preventative maintenance: due to constant vehicle monitoring, fleet owners always know what vehicles will require maintenance soon and whether there are any malfunctions.
- Decreased fuel consumption: by monitoring the idling state of vehicles, driving manner of drivers, and use of accessories, fleet owners can better understand the reasons behind high fuel consumption and adjust them.
- Drivers’ safety: telematics allows monitoring the driving manner of drivers, configuring notifications on any urgent maintenance needs, and training drivers based on the collected data.
As you can see, telematics indeed has many tangible benefits for fleet owners. And with the advancement of technology, these benefits keep getting more and more valuable.
Fleet management trends: what to observe and what to expect
Many fleet operators found themselves in a position where old ways were simply not working anymore and they had to take immediate action to restore their positions. Some of the biggest challenges that were placed on the fleet industry in recent years are:
- The need to do more with less (businesses have to perform more operations with limited resources);
- Drivers’ safety;
- Need for more transparency for operations;
- Need for regular checks of sensitive goods being transported (i.e. vaccines);
- Better resource management.
All these changes led to certain fleet tracking trends occurring and continuing to develop. And while many things may still change, we can already define several trends that are here to stay for the upcoming 2022 year.
Implementation of in-cab videos
Video telematics has been the hottest technology in fleet management in 2021 and is staying in 2022 as well, according to the report by Verizon Connect. These solutions are empowered by the AI technology and serve the following purposes:
- Driver training;
- Data collection;
- Unbiased witnessing.
One of the biggest problems that many fleet businesses face is false claims from the clients that try to accuse a driver or a company. The implementation of in-cab videos provides an unbiased view of the events and 76% of the respondents in the report stated that in-cab video monitoring helped reduce false accusations.
As well, such video solutions can train drivers to drive more accurately and safely and they can collect the data about the routing, driving behavior, and in-cab environment to later use these findings in workflow optimization.
Reduction of costs
There are many factors that lead to increased costs, such as the idling state of vehicles, acute need for maintenance, or inaccurate behavior of drivers. Such spendings cannot be allowed or the business might go under. Therefore, many fleet owners have rapidly adopted telematics to better manage their fleets and reduce spendings by always knowing the state of the vehicles, the driving manner of drivers, and the idling time.
Telematics also allows keeping an even fleet mileage and maintaining a healthy fleet state. With the help of telematics devices and sensors, fleet owners have a better understanding of what exact vehicles need to be rotated and where preventative maintenance should be applied. In this way, they are able to prolong the vehicles’ lifetime and support their business.
Remote management and training of drivers
Same as education transferred to distance learning, fleet businesses also switched to remote meetings and training - and it turned out to be a great decision. With distance training and management, drivers are now more willing to participate in meetings as they can attend them from any place and at a convenient time. As well, their training has become much more efficient since every driver receives a personal one-on-one experience thanks to remote learning. This, in turn, has a long-lasting effect on the status of the fleet and the quality of services since drivers are becoming more responsible and knowledgeable.
Implementation of IoT and AI
Fleet owners have to do their best to remain competitive, maintain a high quality of service, and make sure the transportation conditions are suitable for the transported goods. In this way, Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things are their best choice as these technologies can 24/7 and real-time fleet tracking, notify drivers or fleet owners about any issues and provide reports on the current status of the fleet.
Using telematics for fleet tracking is probably the only way a business can keep afloat in current conditions. If a fleet owner is not able to see into the state of their business and the upcoming opportunities, it would be hard to maintain a healthy workflow and ensure the safety of drivers and clients. Hence, we highly recommend implementing a smart telematics solution that will help both you and your drivers take your business to the next level by making data-driven decisions.
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