From the experts

From the experts: 4 great solutions to make telematics data work for you

By Craig Thomas on Dec 10, 2018

Telematics systems are of invaluable use to fleets, offering numerous benefits, including lower costs, less wear and tear on vehicles, and higher driving standards.

But these systems also generate huge amounts of data, so it’s key that fleet managers understand which data is relevant and how best to use it.

Some of the leading telematics suppliers give tips on the best practice use of data.

1. The first important decision to make when considering telematics data is knowing which information to use

Beverley Wise, Director UK & Ireland at TomTom Telematics told us: “The amount of data produced is enormous, so you need to ensure that you’ve built filters into your reports, or get your telematics provider to build you reports that give the information that relates to, and is usable within, your business.

“Identifying those filters is an important consideration: otherwise you’re just going to be looking at lines and lines and lines of data and then you have to build all the reports.”

2. Telematics data also needs to be easily accessible, when fleet managers want to use it

Chris Miller, chief executive of Norwegian telematics company ABAX said: “The majority of data will be stored on secure servers, which provide information to the end user from a web-based interface, sometimes referred to as cloud storage. Most modern telematics solutions will store data online for their clients to access. For the most part, it is secure, always available and accessible from any device.

“Some systems may require a data download, which is when the data is downloaded from a server or telematics box onto the customer’s computer. Some would argue that this increases the level of security and practicality, as the data is then available offline.”

3. The accuracy of data is also vitally important, in order for fleet managers to be able to ensure that are making decisions based on the latest relevant data

Colin Ferguson, managing director of fleet and optimisation at Trakm8 demonstrated this by explaining how their system operates: “Our devices send a signal over the air every minute, every 1,000 metres and every time a vehicle or asset changes direction by 30 degrees or more, ensuring that users are provided with the most up-to-date information as frequently as possible. This data is then instantly available via the web portal.”

4. Being able to pull all the data together – irrespective of the format or how frequently it changes – is the final crucial element of best practice

Nino Tarantino, CEO of Octo Telematics North America, explained how best to do this, saying: “There’s a need for a scalable IoT (Internet of Things) platform for fleets. You need to effectively apply big data management techniques and algorithms to accurately capture, process, store and analyse the huge volume of telematics data. It’s just as much about what data to discard as it is about what data to analyse, extracting actionable insights from the vast data set.

“Security also needs to be addressed. Compliance to standards such as ISO 27001 should provide fleet owners peace of mind that their telematics data is secure.”