Fleet telematics systems to become more complex yet affordable

Fleets of all sizes can benefit from implementing tracking and telematics systems. Whether there's one or 100 vehicles being monitored, the insights gained can be funnelled back into route planning, budgeting, and consequently, cost savings.

Cheaper, better, faster

While adoption of the systems is being driven by companies in the US and Europe, they could become affordable for enterprises here in New Zealand as well, according to information from research firm Frost & Sullivan.

Globally, the number of fleet vehicles fitted with telematics systems stood at 14.7 million in 2014.

Globally, the number of fleet vehicles fitted with telematics systems stood at 14.7 million in 2014, with estimates surmising the figure could hit 37.9 million by 2020. By size, small commercial vehicles such as cars and vans account for around 60 per cent of the total number of installations.

The increase in market saturation could be great news for fleet managers and business owners alike, as the costs of equipping their vehicles with cutting edge data gathering units likely to decrease.

"Going forward, hardware prices are expected to dip, encouraging fleet operators to invest in advanced telematics services," explained Gokulnath Raghavan, Frost & Sullivan Automotive & Transportation Research Analyst.

Telematics and route optimisation

While the solutions will become cheaper, what are the main benefits for fleet managers? Well, for one, route optimisation can be made easy. The telematics systems in fleet vehicles can relay exactly where they have travelled, how many times done so per day or week, and how much time each journey took.

Fleet managers can then use this information to come up with the best routes and times of day to travel before they send the vehicles out on to New Zealand's roads. Consequently, there's the added benefit on saving money at petrol stations.

While using business fuel cards can help monitor how many times each vehicle is being filled up, drivers may actually save on fuel costs if any telematics data is used to keep them on the most efficient routes, at the least busy times of day.

The benefits of route optimisation can be seen in this tweet from General Electric:

The company offers its own telematics devices, from which the findings are based, but the amount of distance that the fleet has to travel can be massively reduced regardless of the specific system put in place.

While making sure that any data from telematics systems are turned into tangible insights can be tough, the fact that they are likely to be hugely reduced in cost over the coming years will make them viable for a bigger proportion of companies running fleet vehicles.