THE FINAL FRONTIER
Historically, telematics has been used to identify a vehicle’s location in real time and receive information on exceptions to normal patterns, supported by customised reporting. Recently, however, there has been a shift in its role. RISKSA finds out more.
Michael van Wyngaardt, the head of Tracker’s business division, says the current use of telematics allows companies to read and understand traffic patterns and then relay this information to the customer in real time. “This is a powerful tool with real benefits. It makes it possible for drivers to choose routes according to live traffic, enabling route optimisation. Our product can direct the user to the quickest, shortest route, saving time, mileage, fuel and money. Saving mileage saves on tyres and vehicle wear and tear,” he says. Van Wyngaardt points out that saving time can also be important. “If we save a courier company enough time in one day, they can do more deliveries, resulting in more revenue. The data collected by telematics can help fleet managers and business owners know what is happening with their fleet, recognise the impact of external factors and maximise their effectiveness,” he says. Brad Hogan, chief executive of the Oakhurst group, says a topical issue is that of original equipment manufacturers considering the installation of telematics devices as standard accessories – there are even moves afoot concerning legislation in this regard. “The obvious follow- on will be the portability of such data, questions around ownership and how insurers will be able to practically access and use such data. With the industry reaching a critical point of mass internationally, legislation is being considered relating to governance and industry best practice,” he says.
Pre- fitted telematics devices
Hogan adds that from the consumer’s perspective, pre- fitted telematics devices could be beneficial. “There has also been progressive innovation relative to pay- how- you- drive, payas- you- drive and enhancements regarding the monitoring and feedback of driver behaviour,” he says. “We see telematics moving closer to and integrating more with logistics rather than just fleet management. This means a greater degree of vertical integration with clients’ software systems and an improvement in the efficiencies of the clients’ service delivery, whatever service the client may be delivering. Also, driver safety rather than just vehicle theft and punitive driver behaviour management is getting more attention,” says John Edmeston, managing director of Cartrack. Grant Fraser, MiX Telematics’ divisional director of product and marketing, says there are many different types of telematics connectivity devices and applications are able to complement one another in the connected vehicle. “There is much being done in the infotainment services aspect, but there is a more compelling reason to network the safety systems already in cars and the new systems being developed. While most systems exist, they do not communicate with one another. E- call function solution is an example of such innovation. “The device places an automatic emergency call in the event of an accident, provides location, records the timestamp and could provide damage assessments to the manufacturer. In light of this, telematics can be adapted to connect with the vehicle sensor and actuator devices. That is, to network the car’s sensor systems with chassis controls could improve driver safety. The more that is networked, the more safety options become available,” Fraser adds.