Now providing far more than track-and-trace functionalities, telematics has ushered in a revolutionary era for big data technology. Rachel Boagey investigates
Traditionally used for basic vehicle tracking, telematics has started to play an increasingly important role in fleets, enabling fleet managers to gain a clear insight through data into their drivers’ performance out on the road.
“The days when telematics provided only ‘track-and-trace’ functionality are long gone and although ‘Big Data’ became a bit of a buzz phrase, telematics is a clear example of how data can now be harnessed to incredible effect,” explains Beverley Wise, director UK & Ireland at TomTom Telematics.
Ever since the industry realisation that telematics is a highly useful source of information the technology has evolved rapidly.
A recent Operational Fleet Insight Report produced by the AA and BT Fleet revealed that 74% of fleets containing 100-plus vehicles are now using telematics. While traditional telematics played an important role in retrospectively flagging poor and inefficient driving styles, providing fleet managers with ‘after-the-event’ information, telemetry is evolving to provide a more ‘real-time’ service.
Stuart Thomas, head of fleet services and SME at the AA, says: “Telematics is evolving at a rate at which it can now really make a difference and live monitoring and tracking via telematics allows fleet managers to give quick feedback on driving standards, resulting in fewer accidents, breakdowns and recoveries.”
Lightfoot is fitted to over 10,000 vehicles in the UK, and is a service that aims to change driving behaviour in real time. The result is a claimed reduction in fuel consumption, downtime and maintenance costs along with a significant reduction in the risk of being involved in a collision. Lightfoot’s managing director, Mark Roberts, explains: “Telematics can inform managers hours or even days later if the driver has done something wrong, which is difficult to learn from. However, real-time information and live in-cab driver feedback provide the key to effective and sustainable change, empowering drivers to improve their driving style.”