Knowledge - Tools & Systems - Telematics
What is Telematics?
Telematics is the technology used to monitor a wide range of information relating to an individual vehicle or an entire fleet. Telematics systems gather data including vehicle location, driver behavior, engine diagnostics and vehicle activity, and visualize this data on software platforms.
The word ’telematics’ is a compound term. It combines ’tele’ – a prefix denoting remote communications (the prefix is derived from the Greek for ’far off’, or ’at a distance’) – and ’informatics’, a discipline incorporating the practice of information processing. Hence, this is what telematics is about: transmitting information over lengthy distances. It is used for a variety of commercial and non-commercial purposes, but when this technology is used in fleet management, it is most commonly utilized to manage vehicles or other assets remotely, and to provide an overview of a range of information relating to them.
Telematics technology developed out of the rapid expansion of the internet from the mid-1990s onwards. The greater availability and practicality of telecommunications technologies that arose in tandem with this expansion also produced new forms of remote communication. Over the years, these developed into what we know recognize as modern telematics systems, and these have been particularly widely adopted over the last decade.
In recent years, telematics has changed the face of a number of industries, with it driving major transformation in transport, construction and site excavation. Firms managing fleets of vehicles across a huge range of sectors have come to adopt telematics, which has helped to improve reliability and increase efficiency.
Telematics is also proving crucial in what has become known as the Internet of Things that Move (IoTtM); specifically, in transport and freight. These sectors have been leading adopters of IoT technology, with the data it provides allowing for more efficient routing and scheduling as well as generally better-optimized use of resources.
How it works
Fleet telematics gathers a range of data using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, sensors and vehicle engine data to provide fleet operators with the information they need to manage their fleet.
Global Positioning System (GPS) technology powers live visibility into vehicle location, speed and movement within points of interest through geofencing.
Sensors enable the capture of data on driver activity, including aggressive acceleration or harsh braking, but sensors can also be used to monitor any in-vehicle activity such as a door opening, tail lift raising and even trailer temperature.
Engine diagnostics pull data directly from the in-vehicle diagnostics system and are primarily used to gather real time data on fuel efficiency and vehicle meter readings that help power digital fleet maintenance solutions.
The data is temporarily stored in a telematics device that in installed in each vehicle and is then transmitted over private cellular networks to secure servers. It is this central data hub that enables fleet management software to provide easy-to-understand visualizations that help fleet managers optimize their operation.