The Evolution of Telematics: More than Just GPS Tracking

Evolution of Telematics - GPS Tracking

Did you know the first commercially available vehicle with satellite tracking was brought out by Honda in 1981? The device was called the Electro Gyro-Cator. That might sound like a mouthful, but so does global positioning system—or GPS as we commonly know it.


Vehicle monitoring technology has come a long way since 40+ years ago, with advanced telematics offering data that helps businesses in ways we could only dream of, even just a decade ago. The applications of vehicle telematics are fascinating. Let’s take a look at how far we’ve come since the GPS-only days.


What is Telematics?

Telematics is the combination of the science of telecommunications and the science of informatics. It’s typically used in industries where large vehicle fleets need to be monitored closely.


It’s a way to keep an eye on vehicles in real time using GPS and on-board diagnostics (OBD), and it’s a vital part of vehicle tracking for fleet managers. Some insurance companies even use it to track and reward their customers’ good driving habits.


What is the Difference Between GPS and Telematics?

GPS is the tracking of a vehicle using satellite technology. All GPS can do is tell you where a vehicle is at any given point, provided the receiver is in the vehicle. GPS-based vehicle navigation systems are very common today, as are tracking devices that rely on this technology.


Telematics uses GPS tracking, but it’s so much more than that one component. Telematics solutions combine multiple technologies to give fleet owners peace of mind, to reduce costs, and to increase fleet productivity. With telematics solution, you can keep an eye on each company vehicle, understand and optimise fuel consumption, reduce vehicle thefts and accidents, and some connected devices even use ai-powered cameras as part of the solution.


The applications are numerous, from fleet visibility of commercial fleets to tracking driver behaviour, detecting accidents, and reducing fuel usage, plus more. These are just some of the industries that use telematics: public transport, oil and gas, fast moving consumer goods, government, mining and construction, emergency services, security, agriculture, couriers, and more.


ecall emergency call system - Telematics


Applications of Telematics

There are more than 50 parameters available to monitor with telematics. Let’s take a look at what some of the most common applications of telematics in fleet tracking are:


Data Analysis

You can examine existing data and collect new data, enabling you to make fact-based decisions about your fleet operations, and optimise them accordingly.


Vehicle Maintenance

Many modern vehicles now tell you when the car needs a maintenance service. You can connect this feature with your telematics system and make sure you look after all of your vehicles and keep them in tip-top performance at all times.


Cold-Chain Guarantee

Knowing where your fleet is at all times means having the utmost control over it. If you have refrigeration vehicles, you’ll know how important it is to keep the cold chain. With telematics, you can know precisely when one vehicle arrives at a facility and when another leaves, helping you ensure your business does what it’s supposed to.


Sticking to the Law

Some fleet operations require strict attention to the law, such as those carrying dangerous goods. Government and corporate compliance demand that certain items be carried under stringent conditions. Building a telematics system customised for you can help you ensure you follow the law to the letter.


Driver Safety

With integrated telematics, you can make sure your drivers are safe by installing panic buttons that will send an alert should they be hijacked and send help to their location immediately. You can also use a crash detect application that will know if the vehicle has been in a road accident, or if it goes missing outside of a pre-programmed area.


Vehicle Safety

You can make sure your drivers obey the rules of the road—for their safety, that of other road users, and to keep your vehicle in one piece. You can track vehicle speed, vehicle location, whether the driver is wearing their seatbelt, or braking too harshly.


This includes protecting the goods you’re hauling. If you install a smart lock on your cargo, a telematics system can tell you if someone is attempting to steal cargo or gain unauthorised access.


Improved Efficiency and Increased Revenue

There are many ways telematics can increase efficiency and therefore save money; here’s one example. You can use traffic reports and maps to plan your fleet’s journeys to minimise fuel costs and wasted time. Imagine being able to plan the exact route your driver should take, monitor that they’re sticking to it, and get notified if they go out of that pre-set zone.


This optimises the journey, shows weak spots that can be remedied, and is ultimately good for your bottom line. You can also end up paying fewer speeding fines with drivers more likely to stick to the speed limit.


Camera Footage

Telematics companies can fit cameras to your vehicle, like dash cams, to cover you and your driver in the case of theft or an accident. The footage is stored remotely and can be used in court proceedings and police cases.


Telematics for vehicle fleets


With rising fuel costs and dangerous conditions on the roads, telematics for vehicle fleets is more important than ever. At Track My Wheels, we offer quotes from companies such as MiX Telematics, a leader in fleet management systems and advanced telematics technologies. You can also get quotes from other fleet management solution companies and get a telematics device for you today. To start, simply fill in the form on this page.