Telematics, a term derived from combining “telecommunications” and “informatics”, is used to describe the capture and display of meta-data that is not always readily available to the driver of the vehicle.

Telematics systems can capture information such a speed, idle time, braking pressure, location, vehicle diagnostics, collision information, traffic information, weather, and more. They can also be set up to trigger alerts to the administrator whenever a specific situation occurs.

Example) A telematics system may be set up to send an alert to the fleet administrator whenever a vehicle’s speed is over 65 mph.

Essentially, a telematics system is akin to a black box recorder that is found on airplanes.

How Telematics Systems Work
While some telematics systems, such as OnStar, are built directly into the vehicle, telematics for commercial applications usually involve installing a 3rd party device into the vehicle (commonly the OBDII Port). That device records data from your vehicle and transmits it wirelessly via a cellular network to a secured server. The data is then transcribed and displayed in an easy to understand format on a website or app to be used at the fleet manager’s discretion. 

Benefits of Telematics
For many fleets, the benefits of telematics systems are numerous. They include:

Fuel Savings – Telematics systems can help identify excess idle time, as well as identify the most efficient routes, thus reducing unnecessary fuel waste.

Driver Location and Routing – Many companies find that knowing where their drivers are located, or designing the most efficient route for them to complete their job is vital for their employer as well as their customers.

Improved Safety and Possibly Reduced Liability – Telematics systems can provide continuous feedback on driving habits, logging data such as speed, and hard braking. This will provide companies with opportunities to reinforce safe driving habits with their employees. Additionally, companies have used telematics to exonerate their drivers from being wrongfully accused.

Increased Productivity – Some telematics systems can provide drivers with advanced warnings for things such as heavy traffic or impending inclement weather, thus allowing them to plan accordingly. Additionally, the information provided allows back-end users to continually monitor trends and make improvements.