Telematics systems are typically considered synonymous with vehicle tracking systems, although this isn’t all telematics is helpful for. If you have a fleet of vehicles, there are a number of ways in which a telematics system could be useful to you. With the exchange of date between your commercial vehicle fleet and your dispatching center, you could reap many benefits.

Telematics in a business van

Still, are you struggling to find the right telematics system for your commercial fleet? There are many options available for you, but the key to finding the best telematics system for your commercial fleet will rest in knowing exactly what you need. Websites like iCompario can aid you in your telematics system search.

But first, let’s discuss the specific uses of a telematics system in a commercial fleet.

What you can do with your Fleet’s Telematics System

With a Fleet Telematics System (FTS,) you can track your fleet vehicles, reduce maintenance costs, track trailers and assets, track safety, and even use your system as an insurance risk assessment. This could lead to a reduction in overall fuel costs, increases in safety, higher productivity levels, and better payroll management. If all of these benefits sound good to you, then you are definitely on the right track.

A telematics system can help you achieve all of these advantages. You might still be wondering what options are available and what kind of telematics system you really need.

TomTom Telematics OptiDrive 360
photo credit: ERTICO – ITS Europe / Flickr

Types of Telematics Devices

Let’s discuss the three kinds of telematics devices that are available for you today:

1. Hardwired Telematics Systems Solutions

In a hardwired telematics system, the system is connected directly to your fleet vehicle’s electrical system and powered through the vehicle’s battery. In a hardwired telematics systems solution, a TCU, or telematics control unit, features a GPS, mobile communications unit, and microcontrollers. These communicate with an engine control unit and send data back to dispatch wirelessly.

While this can be a more costly and time consuming option, it’s without a doubt the safest and most secure. If your business rotates around sensitive deliveries or data, then using a hardwired telematics system could be the best option for you.

2. Smartphone Based Telematics Systems Options

Everyone has a smartphone in the palm of their hand today, and these sophisticated devices are useful for much more than merely talking. In the case of a telematics system, a smartphone’s built in GPS plus the power of custom fleet telematics apps are used to manage telematics.

Bluetooth-enabled sensors are used to relay data to the apps, and you can customize the data that’s collected and visible to you. If you are looking for a cost-effective telematics solution that’s easy to use, then a smartphone based option could be the solution for you.

3. On Board Diagnostics II (OBDII) Telematics Solutions

If using hardwired or smartphone based telematics solutions aren’t appealing to you, then you might find the plug and play functionality of On Board Diagnostics II (OBDII) to be the best for your needs. These typically cost less money than other solutions and are extremely easy to install.

These units can be used to monitor and report data such as RPM, speed, mileage, emissions, fuel system, and more. One of the biggest perks of using OBDII for your telematics needs? These units can easily be exchanged whenever you’re ready to scale your telematics system.

If you’re looking for something that’s easy to install, costs less money, and is versatile, then an OBDII solution could be the right one for your company.

Telematics system in a truck
photo credit: MBWA PR / Flickr

Takeaway

Telematics systems offer you many, many benefits when it comes to getting the most efficiency and productivity from your fleet vehicles.

When you are looking for a system that will be best for you, it’s best to begin by naming your goals. What do you hope to track? How do you expect the data to benefit you? What’s your budget? What kind of system would you feel most comfortable with? The answers to these questions can all be used to help you decide whether you use a hardwired option, a smartphone based solution, or an OBDII system.

No matter which way you choose, a telematics system only stands to benefit your company!