View Source: Andy Lundin

As telematics technology continues to grow, it will expand to include more data types that fleets can analyze, as well as provide more ways to parse through the data to find actionable ways for fleets to utilize what they discover.

Investment in telematics is critical and the industry knows it. The proliferation of telematics solutions in the fleet industry has been rising and will continue its upward trajectory as the technology grows and develops in terms of what it offers fleets.

Over the last decade, the North American commercial telematics market grew from approximately two million units in service to 6.4 million units, according to a 2019 study from C.J. Driscoll & Associates. Over this period, revenues of North American telematics hardware and service grew from an estimated $2 billion to $5.3 billion.

While several market segments are maturing, overall market growth remains strong and revenues are projected to reach $7.5 billion by 2022, the report also found.

As the technology continues to grow, it will expand to include more data types that fleets can analyze, as well as provide more ways to parse through the data to find actionable ways for fleets to utilize what they discover.

But with so much information available, fleets are in need of effective ways to address the abundance of data.

Ultimately, a harmonization of telematics technologies and data between companies may become the norm of the future, noted Sherry Calkins, VP strategic partners, Geotab.

“One of the key future game changers in the fleet industry will be operating systems that can support open platforms for data integration,” said Calkins. “As businesses continue to merge and streamline operations around the globe, harmonizing data will be critical for fleets to combine data from multiple systems and utilize telematics data to give it meaning.”

Companies like Geotab are making their available fleet platforms open to communicating with other organizations’ systems.

“Having one integrated platform that can make sense of the data, provide predictive analytics and enable businesses to tackle large scale problems will be the future for fleet management operating systems,” added Calkins.

Further still, OEMs are also working in the space through an embedding of telematics tech into fleet assets, including with collaborations with FMCs and suppliers.

Having telematics become a more ubiquitous functionality in fleet vehicles will help reduce logistical headaches for fleets.

“With this technology now factory-installed in many popular fleet models, this eliminates one of the biggest roadblocks companies typically face when exploring a telematics solution – installation costs and logistics as well as the associated vehicle downtime,” said Howie Spangler, VP, Information Technology, ARI.

Beyond simplifying installation to prevent potential fleet downtime, having telematics capabilities embedded directly into the vehicle will play a role in how telematics and analytics become more integrated going forward.

“OEM-enabled telematics typically provides richer data and virtually eliminates the need to interpret or re-engineer the data received from traditional third-party OBD devices,” said Spangler.

With deeper insight into fleet specific metrics such as driver behavior, utilization, diagnostic data, etc., fleet operators can leverage the data  to improve the efficiency and performance of vehicles and drivers.

“Updated technology will be revolutionary to vehicle and fleet operations,” said Emily Candib, Director of Fleet Products, Merchants Fleet. “Given fleet is somewhat unique with operating rules compared to consumer use, some technologies may target consumer use prior to fleet application due to the complexities that fleet structures can have. Adaption and agreement between manufacturers must be in-sync to make the technology useful to fleets. Additionally, barriers to entry for vendors to enter and support the connected space must be low.”

The continued connection between this data expansion and FMCs will also be critical.

“With an eye towards the future, in addition to receiving a myriad of data points from the vehicle, FMCs may be able to push data to the driver via the infotainment system and direct appropriate actions—gaining efficiency-driven and safety-oriented results. For example, we may eventually have the capability to send communications such as PM reminders or warnings about high-risk driving habits straight to the vehicle to further re-enforce behavioral changes” said Spangler.