Such data relates to a vehicle’s status & condition alongside its driver’s behaviour. Specifically, fuel consumption, braking intensity, idle time, vehicle position, route progress, tire pressure, vehicle speed, vehicle malfunctioning, engine information, and incident occurrence is all detected & recorded by telematics devices.

Subsequently, the data is then processed and transferred to a centralised data server where it is formatted, and therefore presented to end-users in an easily perceptible manner on an online dashboard interface. This allows fleet managers to both comprehensively monitor operations and make appropriate retrospective analysis. Accurate & reliable transmission is achieved through how telematics devices utilise globally accessible cellular and satellite wireless networks.

Types of Telematics Devices

Although telematics devices, naturally, tend towards a similar aim, they each have subtle differences between them. That is, regarding their requirements for installation, as well as their distinctive capabilities. There are four which permeate the fleet vehicle industry, they are referred to as OBD-II devices, CAN bus devices, In-cab coaching devices, and GPS vehicle tracking devices.

  1. OBD-II / OBD2 Device

As the name suggests, OBD-II devices plug straight into the on-board diagnostics port of a fleet vehicle. OBD-II devices can be self-installed very quickly, making them one of the least intrusive telematics systems in that their implementation does not imply downtime, nor are they permanent fixtures. In addition to the usual real-time vehicle location tracking provided, OBD-II devices offer historical journey tracking, geofencing, odometer readings, vehicle maintenance data, and live signalling for accident detection. The aggregate information is made highly accessible due to how they have external API integration compatibility. 

  1. CAN bus Device

A controller area network (CAN) bus clip connector is likewise one of the less intrusive of the telematics devices that are widely used. It is an inconspicuous piece of technology which is housed behind a fleet vehicle’s dashboard, being innocuously attached to two wires there without solder. Having said this, CAN devices do require installation by a professional. Its placement means that it can read singularly accurate metrics from the electronic control unit (ECU) of a given vehicle. This data comprises fuel consumption (MPG), total miles covered, average speed, acceleration rate, braking intensity, as well as over-revving & idling instances.

  1. In-cab Coaching Device

In-cab coaching devices are unobtrusive pieces of hardware which are mounted onto a fleet vehicle’s dashboard, this entails a straightforward setup that can be carried out without the help of a professional. Contrasting with other telematics systems, their functionality provides instant feedback when dangerous and/or wasteful driving behaviour is discerned. Namely, feedback is triggered by excessive idling, intemperate acceleration, harsh braking, and speeding. Both visual and audio alerts are sent to drivers in such cases.

  1. GPS Vehicle Tracking Device

GPS vehicle trackers are small, simple, and powerful devices that are plugged directly into the cigarette lighter of a fleet vehicle. From there, they collect high-quality position data and vehicle usage, all while recording & reporting historical journey information. These devices are typically used by subcontractors, grey fleets, short-hires, and company vehicles, in part, because of how they can be effortlessly disconnected at any time without risking depreciation.

Why are Telematics Devices Important?

Telematics devices are at the core of all fleet management systems, they single-handedly supply the data that is necessary in order to properly run a fleet of vehicles. When effectively implemented, telematics devices are responsible for relaying a comprehensive range of crucial information.

As a whole, this information makes it possible for fleet managers to actively view relevant progression while generating behaviour & performance reports, individual & overall job reports, alongside expense reports. The details of which are essential for visibility and the establishing of driver profiles, driver league tables, and driver timesheets. Ultimately meaning, that both real-time monitoring and retrospective analysis can take place so that a fleet can be optimised in terms of its efficiency, productivity, safety, and sustainability.