From The Editor | April 23, 2014

The Telematics Trend: It's Time To Get On Board

Sarah Nicastro

By Sarah Nicastro, publisher/editor in chief, Field Technologies
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Sarah Nicastro

We’ve done plenty of coverage in this magazine about how companies of all shapes and sizes are leveraging telematics solutions to their benefit — but just in case you’ve missed any of that, I’m going to take this opportunity to reinforce the point. Here’s the punchline: Telematics solutions are not just for trucking companies. Any company with a fleet can benefit from a solution that enables you to track the location of your vehicles and gather a variety of other pertinent information related to their performance and status.

What’s causing this public service announcement on telematics? I saw a release from ABI Research the other day about the rate at which the telematics industry is growing right now — and the types of companies that are causing that growth. The release states: “Although telematics technologies and services were first adopted by the long-haul trucking industry in the United States more than 20 years ago, adoption in the nontrucking sector is expected to equal the trucking industry in terms of numbers of connected vehicles by the end of 2014 and will dominate the commercial fleet telematics industry by the end of 2019, accounting for almost 50 million vehicles globally.”

Is Your Industry Embracing Telematics? Probably So
ABI goes on to list various industries that are contributing to this growth: services, utilities, private transportation (taxis, private hire vehicles, and rental fleets), construction and mining, government and public sectors, emergency services, public transportation, and local delivery markets. What's the universal appeal of telematics solutions for these industries? "Many of these verticals are facing similar challenges such as the need to improve the utilization of their vehicle fleets, combat rising fuel prices, trim payroll costs, and comply with ‘duty of care' obligations toward their employees," comments Gareth Owen, principal analyst at ABI Research.

Owen goes on to explain, though, that the challenges and reasons for telematics investments vary from industry to industry. "For example, in the cutthroat services sector, customer service is paramount with the failure of service personnel to arrive on time as the biggest complaint. Nowadays, customers expect improved levels of service at little or no additional cost. As a result, service companies are increasingly looking to deploy mobile workforce management solutions to gain a competitive advantage." In other industries, driver safety may be a big concern — telematics solutions can provide data that will allow you to reduce speeding and hard breaking. Proof of delivery/service is another — telematics can be used to validate that a mobile worker was on site at a certain time. The uses for and benefits of telematics are vast — the fact of the matter is, you need to be thinking about how to make it work for you.