Fleet Tracking System: A Guide To How Fleet Telematics Work

Nov 3, 2020 | Business Insurance

For centuries, keeping tabs on a fleet of vehicles that carry people and goods from one place to the next can be excruciatingly tough and prone to human error, possibly even easily tampered with. Still, having a dependable fleet tracking system delivers more good results for your business. But with the help of technology and innovation, a new system was launched to keep group monitoring and operations running smoothly. This creative invention has made the jobs of fleet managers’ easier to supervise.

Now, tracking the status and performance of an entire group of vehicles has never been easy before! Fleet telematics makes this system attain its goals to provide information about the fleets’ state. Want to know more about how it works? Is it worth investing in a fleet tracking system?

What Is Fleet Tracking System?

The fleet tracking systemuses technology pointing out the place where the vehicles are at the moment. These location devices monitor these vehicles through the software programs installed within them. It gathers information automatically and you can see them in real-time.

There are two most usual types of vehicle tracking systems and also branches of telematics – GPS ( Global Positioning System)  and GLONASS ( Global Navigation Satellite System). GPS gathers data through satellites to know its location, time, and other information. GLONASS is an alternative to GPS and is operated by Russia. These systems are both used by other urban cities to have more satellites to connect with. 

Three components of a common fleet tracking system

  • Tracking Device. This is the device that is installed with GPS or GLONASS. It fits with your team of vehicles and other vehicles as well. This device tracks location, time, fuel amount, temperature, and the overall status of the vehicle’s body and engine.
  • Tracking Server.  It receives and keeps the data from what the tracking device has transferred. It stores information so it would be easy to retrieve whenever the user wants to access it.
  • User Interface. It generates information that the fleet managers see. This is where they access data to come up with reports they need for better monitoring of the cars in your team.

Three types of fleet tracking system

Satellite. If you want the data right away you may opt to avail satellite real-time systems. It is connected to a satellite and transfers data even if the vehicle is on travel. The real-time location can be tracked and would give you information even in places with no internet connections. The location of where your vehicle is can also be checked through maps on the screen. 

It is very expensive but would give you results that you are up to with the current time. You have to pay a bigger amount for this system since it acquires more data. The good thing is you no longer have to depend on subscribing to a service that will carry the information to you through the net.  Because it is from satellite, you can log in and track your team of vehicles even with areas out of mobile service. 

There’s no need to remove this device from the vehicle to input the data on another computer like that of a passive system. It automatically transmits information and you can access it anytime you want. The disadvantage is there is some information that cannot be transmitted in detail because it is using a satellite. 

Cellular. This type of system uses cellular networks to gather data and send them to your cellular tracking device. Most fleet managers opt to use this because it is more affordable than the satellite type and gives almost real-time results. The data that you want could appear in five to fifteen minutes depending on the system. It won’t give you up-to-the-minute information if you happen to need it at the time you want.

It is quite expensive because you can only track the data if you would subscribe to a service. You have to pay monthly to stay subscribed to them. You’ll be needing a strong signal to have clear access from your device since it needs a stable connection to the internet. Dead spots would not give you the data that you need unless the vehicle moves out to travel.

Though its features are limited, it is a good choice if your group does not require real-time data. Having this type of fleet tracking system would be great if you only want to monitor the history of your vehicles’ trip. This would give you ideas on how to improve the efficiency of your team as well as your drivers.

Wireless Passive. On the other hand, you may choose the wireless passive system if it’s unnecessary for you to gather data most of the time. You just have to take the device that records the data out of the vehicle after the trip. Download and save the information from the memory card or hard drive to the computer and you can then view the details. 

You can also access the data to find out the location and time of the delivery during transit even at a later time. The only disadvantage is that you cannot track the present activity of your fleet that sometimes leads to late delivery. You have to wait for the fleet to return before you could open up and transfer the information you need. Another problem is that tracking your vehicle would be difficult if it would be stolen.

It is more affordable than the signal based system because you only have to pay once after buying the device.  No need to pay for the monthly subscription. Upon purchase, you would receive the hardware, software, and a database in one package. It may be costly at first but will result in cost efficiency in the long run. You don’t have to worry about the data access because it doesn’t need signals to open up and view them. Its simple design is very easy to operate.

What Is Telematics?

Telematics is a combination of sciences namely telecommunications and informatics. Telecommunications is a technology that involves phone lines and cables to communicate regardless of the distance. Informatics refers to computer systems that make use of technology to create programs significant to a particular need. These two work together to do their job in monitoring the detailed performance of your fleets. 

Other telematics systems get the data from on-board diagnostics (OBD-11) and some from CAN bus ports with sim cards. CAN pertains to controller area networks and is designed as a standard for buses that makes the electronic units such as brakes and engines to work together without a central or main computer. It has a sim card that can transmit data to servers. On-board diagnostics performs by monitoring the functionality of the vehicle. If something is wrong with the vehicle, a warning light is displayed on the panel to notify the driver about the problem. Just like sending a text message to the management system that monitors all the available cars in the team. This way, any malfunction could be repaired immediately that saves you both time and money. 

How Does It Work?

Telematics contains a tracking device that would be installed inside the vehicle. This device transmits the data, receives, and stores it for viewing and for future use. Once installed, technology obtains information regarding the status of the vehicle (location and time) and the driver (login, fatigue status). It is then transmitted to the online platform that interprets and shows the results in a way that can be understood clearly. 

The GPS satellite catches the vehicle’s position and other important data then sends it to the telematics device. The device then transmits the information via GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), mobile data, and other networks or satellite communication to a server. This server or telecommunications company interprets and displays the information through websites and apps. These apps may be installed on your smartphone while websites can also be visited with tablets, computers. The Internet would then help in sending the data to you. You can monitor your fleet vehicles through these in real-time depending on the type of tracking system you have chosen. 

This is how it works: SATELLITE > VEHICLE > TELCO > INTERNET > YOU

Advantages of Telematics

The benefits of telematics would clearly be seen by its results in your company vehicles. Here are some of them.

  • It boosts efficiency. Having up-to-date communication with your drivers would result in their efficient work. The details you will be seeing from the data sent to you would give you ideas on how to improve productivity and on-time deliveries.
  • Safety is improved. Monitoring drivers encourages them to do good at work. Orienting them with the proper behavior and vision of the company reminds them of their duties. This can decrease road accidents that might affect the performance of the fleet.
  • It builds up job satisfaction. Drivers tend to be more focused on their jobs knowing that they are in control of their routine because of using electronic logs. They monitor their time left during work and deliver on time to satisfy customers.
  • Operational costs are lessened. Idling time affects the usage of fuel. Using telematics you can monitor the location and the status of the delivery and therefore save more fuel by avoiding idle time. By conveying to the drivers of what to do, the operation would continue without spending too much.
  • The performance and repair schedule is monitored.  Vehicles while on travel are monitored to avoid engine problems that might affect the operation. There are sensors that would alert if there’s a problem. Scheduled maintenance would also alert you if it’s coming. This will help in avoiding breakdowns of vehicles while in transit.
  • It keeps the drivers to stay. Drivers who are always on travel rarely attend meetings and feel disconnected. With the help of telematics technology, it would be easy to let them join the meeting virtually through the mobile that was installed in the vehicle.
  • Customer service is improved. Telematics would give you the advantage of giving your customer the estimated time of delivery. Accurate delivery time is a big plus in customer’s satisfaction. 
  • Insurance costs are reduced. Some insurance companies offer discounts if they know your fleet has installed fleet telematics. It might reach up to 35% so it would be a big help to save on insurance costs. It somehow proves that your drivers are safe from danger.

Conclusion

Acquiring telematics makes a big difference when it comes to managing your fleet commercial auto in Denver, CO, or wherever else you are in the United States. The advantages it entails prove that investing in such would improve the productivity and safety of your assets. It might cost you a bit more money to purchase this tracking system but the results will return a bigger return of investment.

Your company’s vehicular properties would be safer if you will guarantee their security. The moment something unfortunate happens, it would be great to know that someone would cover for you. Call us today at +1 (720) 221-8168 for any questions or clarifications you may have about your existing auto insurance policy for a free review or specifically about the Fleet Telematics Tracking System. You may also check out our chat box at the lower right-hand corner of your screen. Just say “Hi” and type in your question or concern and we’ll be right with you in the soonest possible time.