The popularity of fleet monitoring technology has been on the rise for years. This steady pace has continued through the recent Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate when electronic logging devices became mandatory for commercial fleets in the United States. Since then, telematics technology has allowed businesses to gain valuable new insights into how their fleets are operating on the road, and they have evolved into the basis for modern fleet management practices.  

As in-vehicle technology has evolved, many different kinds of telematics devices have become available so one can find the best possible option to fit a fleet. Telematics devices alone offer a lot of information through GPS tracking capabilities but pairing them with other devices – like video-based technology – can offer even more value.

Let’s break down these two types of technology below to help understand the pros and cons of each.  

What is Telematics?

Let’s take a look at exactly what the word “telematics” means. Telematics is the combination of the terms informatics and telecommunications. It is broadly used to describe information about the fleet that is collected and transmitted wirelessly. One could think of it as long-distance telecommunications for anything related to vehicles.   

Once collected, this information is transmitted through cellular or satellite networks and can provide instant feedback on any remote asset. For some time, a standard component of telematics has been GPS as many of these features were already included with ELD devices. When used strategically, this data has proven to be very helpful for fleet management professionals.  

Telematics and GPS 

GPS telematics devices can determine the location of a remote asset, preferably in real-time.

GPS telematics devices can determine the location of a remote asset, preferably in real-time. This data can be presented and interpreted in several ways including: 

  • Real-time vehicle location tracking 
  • Vehicle route tracking (Vehicle Bread Crumb Trails) 
  • Idling times 
  • Trip reports 

Timing and location of stops 

Being able to analyze this information can give one insight into operations and it can arm them with the information needed to streamline practice, improve fuel efficiency, and cut unnecessary costs.  

For example, if one is looking to improve route efficiency, one can act as a dispatcher for their team by accessing their location and warning them of bad road conditions, traffic, or inclement weather. One can also consider looking into how frequently you see idling and harsh braking and use this information to coach their team to adopt safer and more efficient driving habits. 

The location feature can also add an extra layer of security as it allows one to track and locate their vehicles in the event of theft. The GPS features of a telematics system are incredibly helpful in understanding the drivers and keeping an eye on the locations of one’s assets. Other technology platforms can integrate with existing telematics systems to add additional value to the business, like video telematics.  

Video telematics can give information about fleet activity on the road such as firsthand evidence of what happens in an accident

Video telematics

Video telematics can give even more helpful information about fleet activity on the road such as firsthand evidence of what happens in the event of an accident. One can then use this footage to: 

  • Reduce false claims 
  • Exonerate drivers by providing proof of innocence 
  • Submit timely First Notification of Loss (FNOL) reports
  • Coach and onboard new drivers 
  • Recognize their team for safe driving behavior 

Overcoming lack of visibility

For example, if one of the drivers gets in an accident on the road, with traditional GPS tracking one might receive a notification through their telematics system. It would notify one of the time and place that the incident occurred, but one wouldn’t have any further insight into the situation. This lack of visibility can often result in a costly false claims battle, an issue affecting fleets at record highs today. 

The addition of a video telematics solution like a connected dash camera can provide one with a firsthand account of how the accident actually happened. Not only does this footage have the ability to help stop false claims and protect one’s team, but could also take the footage and use it to coach drivers into safer driving habits, recognize exemplary driving, and help train new drivers on how to best respond to dangerous incidents.  

Connected dash cameras with GPS tracking

SureCam’s fleet video monitoring solution bundles GPS and video capabilities so one can have access to driving notifications

Some telematics packages offer a combination of features that can streamline data management efforts while simultaneously providing helpful information about the fleet. This can be an ideal option for short-haul drivers or fleets that may not have ELD requirements but are still looking to invest in telematics technology to help manage and protect their team.  

For example, SureCam’s fleet video monitoring solution bundles GPS and video capabilities so one can have access to driving notifications like harsh braking, vehicle tracking, and accident alerts bundled with instant video footage for coaching, FNOL submission, and claims reduction. Both the standard GPS tracking capabilities and video monitoring are done through a single dash camera device. 

Through a connected dashcam with GPS tracking capabilities, one can get the information a larger fleet would have access to and can have the added benefit of tailoring their technology package to the specific needs of the fleet. Even without an ELD, there are many ways to use modern telematics technology to help manage the team.  

Which telematics package is suitable?

As each year passes, investing in a quality telematics package has become more and more important for businesses with fleets. With such a high record of false claims and insurance premiums on the rise, having the ability to protect the team and set them up for success is paramount to getting ahead in the modern market.  

Bundling a few different telematics options – like video and GPS – can allow for the additional security one’s team needs while still maintaining ease of operations and avoiding being bogged down by unnecessary data.

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