Telematics is an innovative technology spanning telecommunications, in car technologies, and road safety and navigation as well as computer science.
Often associated with young drivers and lowering insurance costs, the technology does so much more than just that, so is it time that more motoring stakeholders, from individual drivers and car sharing companies to fleet management services considered the technology more widely?
Although typically used by young drivers to save money on their insurance premium, the stigma behind the telematics ‘black box’ is slowly diminishing and the tech is now being adopted by more experienced drivers to reduce costs. Take the Aviva Drive app for example. Once experienced drivers have driven 200 miles, they receive an individual score rating out of 10. Stay above seven and Aviva customers could see a saving of £150 on their premiums. The app may be a push by the Aviva brand to educate experienced drivers on road safety to reduce accidents but also serves to give something back to the customer and reward them for sensible driving habits.
But there are wider benefits to telematics technology than just reduced insurance premiums, especially with its ability to sync to social media channels.
American based company Itty Bitty Donuts now uses telematics to send automatic GPS location updates to Twitter and Facebook so followers know the truck is their area — simultaneously catering to their loyal followers and making it easier to gain new customers.
Car sharing services are also adopting telematics technology. In-car computers allow companies to track member’s usage and bill them through a pay-as-you-drive tariff. Daimler owned, Car2Go, which provide car sharing services across London, allows drivers to hire Smart Cars which are then charged by the minute, all tracked via telematics.
It’s likely that as car sharing becomes more popular (recent research suggests one in five Londoner’s* now drives less than 50 miles per week and car sharing is on the up), we’ll see a wider adoption of telematics across the industry.
Fleet management services are also introducing telematics to vehicles.as they are better able to efficiently monitor job allocation and routing, accurate fuel consumption, driver behaviour and idling as well as optimising vehicle utilisation. Telematics also offers so much more to HGV fleets than just mileage monitoring.
Harvesting this information accurately can then help any business make decisions that will ensure operations are efficient and consistent, as well as improving bottom line profits.