Telematics today is much more than just GPS tracking | Panda Anku

For business owners who don’t deal much with digitization and automation, GPS tracking and telematics may sound like synonyms. But telematics is more than vehicle tracking, and the era of the moving dot on the map is long gone.

The global market for vehicle telematics continues to grow. Meanwhile, the challenges are there: The truck hijacking rate in South Africa increased by 31.4% in the first three months of 2022. Add this to the recent changes in fuel prices and it becomes clear that the need for technology is great enough.

Why aren’t telematics and GPS tracking exactly the same thing? What does this difference bring to companies looking to improve their fleet operations in this business climate?

Beyond installing a GPS tracker

Telematics solutions can transform your fleet from a series of separate vehicles into an organized system working towards common goals. How does it compare to GPS vehicle monitoring?

  • GPS tracking determines a vehicle’s location using satellite-based navigation. Its functionality is limited to location and speed tracking.

Example: You can see where your company’s trucks are located on the map.

  • Telematics includes GPS tracking, but is a broader term. This technology means collecting, storing and displaying various data from vehicles using telecommunication devices. This data can be analyzed and processed, which becomes a key point for a business – relying on real numbers that represent the company’s work.

Example: Every month you create a report on the fuel consumption of the entire fleet and compare it with the fuel output data. If you spot any differences, pull back each truck’s data, identify who the fuel was stolen from, and take action.

As part of the Internet of Things (IoT), telematics collects data on all aspects of the fleet that owners can analyze and use to make informed decisions and better management.

So what are the advantages of telematics compared to location on the map in practice?

Improved fleet operations

GPS vehicle monitoring provides a vehicle’s location and movement on the map, while telematics enables tracking of over fifty parameters for each vehicle in your fleet.

With these both historical and real-time values, owners can react immediately if necessary or use the collected data and statistics to make operational decisions.

For example, telematics solutions offer great opportunities for timely fleet maintenance. Effective vehicle maintenance results in avoiding traffic violations, minimizing vehicle downtime and raising driver awareness.

The list of how telematics can improve similar fleet operations is only limited by a business owner’s understanding of pain points that need to be addressed. Eco-driving control, driver compliance with schedules, effective route building, ensuring the cold chain and transport of dangerous goods under the right conditions, legal and corporate compliance are just a few examples.

Improved security

By using GPS vehicle tracking, you can see if your asset is in the right place. But is that enough to ensure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands? It’s easy to remove and destroy a GPS tracker or simply block the signal and a stolen vehicle will never appear on your radar again.

Telematics systems prevent theft at different levels: fuel, goods and vehicles; across the different tech frameworks; for both vehicle tracking and recovery.

  • In South Africa, businesses suffer from vehicle theft and hijacking. Truck theft prevention with telematics provides an ecosystem of driver IDs, alert buzzers, route deviation tracking and unauthorized stops, with all data collected from these points in one place.

Typically, a platform can be configured to send notifications when some parameters change in a malicious way – for example, when a vehicle leaves a certain zone without permission, or when a smart lock protecting the goods is tampered with by an unauthorized person has person.

  • Motorists are also often attacked. When this happens, a telematics solution notifies fleet owners and responds immediately – sending instant notifications with driver location and other information when a panic button is pressed.
  • If the crime has already happened, telematics providers offer vehicle tracking and recovery systems. You can detect jams, remotely lock the engine and get instant information needed to recover or stop the break midway.
  • Safe driving control reduces the number of traffic accidents. If they happen and were not caused by your driver, you will receive reliable evidence for the police and insurance companies – with precise data on driving parameters, video and pictures.

Advanced cost management and increased revenue

You don’t have to explain to business owners that expenses, income and profits depend on much more complicated factors than competitor’s prices, market situation and the quality of service you offer your customers. This is where telematics will serve well to uncover the vulnerabilities and provide the data needed to address those vulnerabilities, even if they are hidden under processes, human factors and lack of evidence.

GPS tracking alone won’t do much here. However, if we expand our view to the wider world of telematics, you can reduce costs in several non-obvious ways:

  • Eliminate the idle that literally drains your fuel and efficiency
  • Pay fewer fines by reducing speeding
  • Controlling the transport conditions of goods and avoiding fines from customers
  • Reduce pen and paperwork, automate processes, and free employees to focus on more complex or growing tasks
  • Elimination of errors and the losses associated with them

Detailed reports and analytics help owners find and fix the vulnerabilities across dozens of internal verticals and avoid unnecessary spending now and in the future.

Telematics as a gateway to more data

The performance of a telematics solution depends on GPS tracking equipment, connectivity, service provider capabilities and other factors. One of those key aspects is the software.

That is why the skills of service providers are mentioned: their job is to choose the right solution for your business needs, from a track and trace system to a multifunctional one.

Wialon is one of the market leaders here. This ultimate GPS tracking and IoT platform can be deployed regardless of the size and type of assets a company needs to control.

“At Wialon we are adapting to the current environment. Our product has long been more than just GPS tracking. We link our product development strategy to the idea that each business area has its own specificities. In some areas, Wialon would suffice just out of the box, and somewhere there might be room for integration with third-party apps or solutions. A whopping 3.2 million connected vehicles prove that we offer versatility,” he says Aliaksandr KuuschynauChief of Wialon in Gurtam.

Does telematics bring real profits to companies?

Before an entrepreneur invests in a fleet management platform and integrates it into his business environment, he will naturally ask whether it is effective and not only covers the implementation costs, but also brings additional profit. Industry participants provide certain clues.

  • The market for telematics-based fleet management in South Africa is in a growth phase. FM systems installed there will reach 3.6 million units by 2026.
  • Telematics and IoT solutions help leading companies across all industries keep their fleet under control and balance local market characteristics.
  • As security issues are relevant to the South African market, professional telematics systems can serve as a lifeline for businesses of all sizes in the region.

For market players in virtually every industry with assets that need to be controlled, measuring vehicle performance, tracking driver behavior, gaining actionable insights to improve driver safety, reduce insurance costs for your customers, and much more is not only recommended, it is critical more. All of this is feasible thanks to telematics and its steady advance into the remaining months of 2022.

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