Vehicle telematics is a type of technology that connects one or a fleet of vehicles with a home base for the purpose of exchanging data which is done through some type of wireless technology. GPS is a common technology that is used to keep the vehicle fleet in touch with the home base. Common applications available through vehicle telematics include: trailer tracking, vehicle tracking, Fleet management, satellite navigation, mobile data, Cold Store Freight Logistics, wireless vehicle safety communications and emergency warning systems. Many of these applications supply a huge benefit to businesses who uses their vehicles as a part of providing services to their clients and customers.
Historically, commercial telematics was targeted to businesses with a large number of vehicles in their fleets. As this market saturates and service providers economize their costs, they can provide these services to businesses with smaller fleets. There are many different segments of businesses that can make use of the fleet management systems that telematics services provides. Many of these target industries include: cargo containers, car-sharing programs, commercial trailers, emergency response vehicles, field service/repair fleets, government fleets, heavy equipment, intermodal shipping, long and short haul trucking, military vehicles, municipal fleets, regionally-based delivery vehicles, rental cars and trucks, school buses, taxis/limousines and transit buses and trains.
Businesses who don’t maintain fleets can benefit from the technology that commercial telematics has to offer even if only the sales people or technicians are using motor vehicles as a part of their jobs. Features such as vehicle tracking, when combined with mapping software, can assist the driver in locating the client, and using the shortest route to get there. When a company keeps a database of the movements of their employees, over time, they will be able to come up with estimated times smart bus system of arrival for their clients and customers as well as avoid traffic jams due to trouble spots (some systems offer this feature). This will save wasted time on the road and increase productivity.
Another important feature of vehicle telematics that can save businesses money is its ability to provide security for its vehicles. A number of telematics service providers also provide shudown features with their stolen vehicle tracking applications. If a vehicle gets stolen, it can be located and shut down through the telematics service. No matter the size of the fleet, whether it is 1 vehicle or 1000, this feature alone will lower insurance costs.
Some tracking systems provide a remote diagnostics feature so that the home base can know when it is time for a vehicle to come in for maintenance, or warn of potential maintenance problems. This will keep the vehicle in peak performance thus saving the company the cost of more expensive repairs and savings in fuel due to more efficiently running vehicles.
Commercial telematics, once the domain of the big boys, has very real and very key roles in smaller companies who have to use their vehicles as part of servicing their customers. The biggest investment is the up-front cost of purchasing the hardware for the vehicles and the management system, which is usually a software package. The ongoing costs would be accessing the communication network that allows the vehicles to communicate with the home base. When choosing your service provider, first determine what features you will need for your business and select your provider based upon your needs.