Know This: A Brief History Of Fleet Management

Over the last 50 years, technology has advanced at a rate of knots. To put things into perspective, one of the first computers ever made, the Sinclair ZX80 was launched in 1980. It was equipped with precisely 1KB of static RAM and 4 KB of read-only memory.

Compare that to the standard smartphone of today which has around 2,000,000 times more RAM and around 16,000,000 times more memory and it’s easy to see just how far we’ve come. The development of the Sinclair ZX80 was a pretty bold step towards what we now proudly call the digital age.

Fleet tracking device in a company car

The Early Days

Just as our computers have advanced, so too have the world of connected cars and fleet telematics. Fleet telematics, as we all know, uses something called Global Positioning System technology, otherwise known as GPS. GPS triangulates the position of the vehicle it’s tracking as well as digital cellular networks in order to transmit a range of data from said vehicle to other hardware and software systems.

Enigma Telematics fleet management system, Skyline, the data received can cover everything from location to vehicle diagnostics. It wasn’t always so sophisticated however. When the first GPS launched back in 1978, the information it received was basic if that. Since hen, further advancements have meant that 88% of news cars will have integrated telematics by 2025.

When it comes to GPS however, the biggest breakthrough actually came in 1996 when the President at that time, Bill Clinton signed a directive which made GPS an international utility. This meant it became available, free of charge, to all private citizens. It wasn’t until the late 90’s that tracking systems were actually introduced in-vehicle using hardware connected to local servers.

It was then accessed by clients with locally-installed software. While the initial software came with the car or via purchase of a portable GPS system, updates were only available for a fee. Fast forward to today and fleet management systems are barely recognisable to those that were first introduced.

Fleet Telematics: Where We Are Now

Telematics in a business van

Fast forward to today and individual motorists are enjoying a whole host of new advantages from vehicle telematics. While domestic clients are enjoying the new technology, it’s actually companies with fleets of vehicles who are seeing the most benefits. From invoicing to workflow scheduling, fleet telematics are proving to be more than just a necessity.

Fleet telematics are being used to help develop up to date traffic data, create efficient journeys and even help make the running of the fleet a lot more cost-effective. Add to this, the monitoring of vehicles and driver behaviour, unauthorised usage and much more.

Fleet management has come a long way over the last 50 years and thanks to Skyline, our online fleet telematics system, we see it improving continually.