14 May 2019

Myths usually derive from misunderstandings. With regards to telematics, we most associate it with the ‘black box’ which is used to monitor young drivers’ habits and speeds as a way to lower sky-high insurance premiums.

However, this association often overshadows the purpose of telematics within the business context, leading to several misconceptions about why businesses need telematics and what telematic data can actually provide. (Hint: the use of telematics by businesses often extends beyond monitoring a vehicle’s speed).

In this article we examine and debunk the top five myths surrounding business telematics.

  1. I trust my employees; I don’t need big brother watching them.
  2. Yes, it’s true, telematics does track the speed of your vehicle. Whilst this can put drivers on the defensive, it is also easy for businesses to see the positives of this. Safer drivers make for safer roads and, for many drivers, reported bad driving can often lead to a dismissal. Because of this, fleet managers use telematics as a way to reward safe driving.
    Read: How a mid-sized, mixed fleet implemented driver rewards programme.
    But tracking speed is only the start of what telematics can offer businesses. Fleet Managers can also monitor fuel usage, journey routes and idling trends. Likewise, in the unfortunate event of an accident, an incident cam can indicate a clearer picture of what actually happened. This can, in some cases, acquit drivers from accusations or complaints.
  3. Managing telematics can be time-consuming.
  4. There is plethora of data available to businesses meaning telematics has the ability to be time-consuming, depending on how much time you are willing to spend on it. However, some functions can be automated – users can set scheduled alerts when, for example, a driver has arrived at a certain location or is involved in an accident. Plus, spending time on the data can allow for undiscovered ways to improve your business’ efficiencies and processes. For example, by inspecting vehicle utilisation reports, companies can significantly save money on underused assets – which can be expensive to maintain – by removing them from their fleet.
    Read more: M2M and IoT: The Complete Guide
    With regards to installation, many telematic devices come in a plug-and-play format. This simply means it’s a case of locating the OBD-II port in your vehicle and inserting the device into the port – you can be live-tracking assets within minutes.
  5. Telematics is expensive.
  6. Telematics has the potential to be costly for businesses; but cost is dependent on the size of the business and how many telematic solutions you have in place. Therefore, while large corporations can easily spend £600+ per month, SMEs can look to roughly pay from £15. Regardless of how much companies are willing to spend, an increasing amount of decision makers are changing their perspective and are seeing telematics as an investment rather than an expense because of the potential ROI. Nevertheless, it’s best to do a cost-benefit analysis before purchasing any solution to ensure it is the right time for your business to invest.
  7. The device won’t work in remote locations.
  8. Previously, it was true that a GPS tracking solution was considered useless in remote areas due to the less than helpful data it produced. However, like most technologies, telematics has advanced and some devices can operate on a global satellite system (instead of cellular) meaning telematics can be used in remote areas. This has often been particularly helpful for lone workers who are constantly on the move and require a ‘panic button’ solution.
    Read: How JP Services captured accurate information on location, safety and vehicle health in remote areas.
    In addition, some devices also have the option of storing large amounts of data on the device itself, negating the need for any type of signal. Once the vehicle comes back into an area of cellular signal, the data will upload. Thus, while you won’t get the real-time benefits, it will allow you to retrospectively examine the data to identify long-term trends and patterns.
  9. Telematics interferes with the performance of the vehicle.
  10. For the record, a telematics device does not physically change nor mechanically interfere with the vehicle . Instead, telematics should be viewed more as an engine data viewer and translator. However, what a telematics device does do is draw energy from a vehicle’s battery – yet still the usage is very low and not enough to significantly damage your vehicle battery. In addition, most devices go into sleep mode when the vehicle is switched off, thus not wasting any unnecessary energy.
    Read: How one company saved £34,000 across their fleet by using telematics.

    When we cast aside these myths, it becomes clear that there has been a shift in telematics technology which has subsequently altered perceptions from the ‘dreaded black box’ to a solution which can present businesses with opportunities to improve efficiencies and meet business goals.

    Discover our M2M/Telematic solutions, here.