Telematics for Integrator Fleet Management

Telematics has become a driving force among integrator fleets in our country, and its popularity is growing at a rapid pace. It is a simple way for integrators to keep an eye on the bottom line by tracking their fleets in real-time 24/7.

Telematics is a method of monitoring cars, trucks, equipment and other assets by using GPS technology and on-board diagnostics (OBD) to plot the asset’s movements on a computerized map. In its simplest form, telematics can be looked at as a simple GPS tracking mechanism for your commercial fleet vehicles, and for many years, that is exactly what it was used for. Over the years, it has helped countless integrators track the whereabouts of their installation vans, manage arrival and departure times on customer sites, and more.

Today, telematics services have evolved into so much more than simply tracking vehicles. Instead of managing an installation business, these systems can manage exceptions to that business, and alert you in real-time when things are not going according to plan. A huge benefit is how it can inform customers automatically when your technician arrives on site, let them know your ETA prior to arrival or if you are running behind schedule due to the myriad events that can happen between dispatch and arrival – motor vehicle accidents, dangerous and risky driving behavior, unjust accident claims, personal stops with the company vehicle, and so on.

Many integrators have resisted installing them into their fleet, but with so many evolving benefits, it is time to take the plunge by implementing modern telematics solutions into integrator fleets, or even as a new offering for customers.

Adding Video to Telematics Solutions

Telematics has certainly evolved, and newer video-based telematics solutions are changing the game. Remember the old adage, a picture is worth a thousand words? Well…a video of an event involving one of your company’s vehicles can save you thousands.

These new event-driven AI security and safety solutions use video, audio and sensor technology to effectively mitigate false positives, confirm incidents, accelerate response, and deliver long-term actionable intelligence. As we move forward, we will see more and more integrator fleets taking advantage of the latest telematics solutions to steer them in the right direction and create safer driving experiences for all road users.

Video-based telematics is paving the way to a bright future that will make it easier for fleet owners to track their workers and keep projects running smoothly.

There are four major costs associated with integrator fleets: fuel, insurance, vehicle maintenance and driver turnover. By implementing telematics, integrators can see a positive impact in each of these areas, keeping their fleets productive and moving towards a more profitable future. It’s imperative to have detailed records on file to help manage and properly document your OPEX for accounting and tax purposes.

Armed with these tools, fleet owners can also prevent incidents and mitigate risks by coaching and rewarding drivers to avoid dangerous behavior.  

7 Benefits of Fleet Telematics for Integrators

1. Driver Safety and Accident Reduction: Today’s telematics platforms significantly improve safety for an overall fleet. This is based on the premise of Prevent, Predict, Record.

It helps prevent accidents by keeping a driver mindful that their driving behavior is being graded.

It can predict who is most likely to be in an accident or have an issue behind the wheel, which enables the business owner or manager to intervene with training and coaching before it happens.

It is common for commercial drivers to be named at fault in a collision with a private passenger vehicle, simply because they are a commercial driver. In the event an accident does take place, the system can record the accident, so the business and/or driver is able to defend themselves.

2. Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Savings: Telematics can automate regularly scheduled maintenance for vehicles, sending notifications when a particular vehicle may be due for an oil change, brake service, coolant replacement, transmission services, etc. Proper maintenance can help avoid significant repair costs in the future.

Another great feature is being able to generate detailed reports that can associate a driver’s behavior with maintenance and repair costs, for example: The driver of vehicle No. 35 is going through brakes and rotors at twice the rate of any other vehicle. These types of alerts can stop bad driving behavior and save on maintenance costs.

By tracking all repairs, integrators will also be able to identify common issues around part failures, or inferior mechanical work.

3. Fuel Savings: Telematics systems can help manage vehicle idling time that can waste a significant amount of fuel annually. Many telematics systems can integrate via API with a fuel card vendor to see how much fuel is being spent, by whom, and how often. This can help manage any fraudulent use and prevent unauthorized transactions.

A telematics platform can be used to further save fuel by re-routing around traffic or finding the shortest route to a destination.

4. Insurance Savings: Many underwriters offer discounts to commercial fleets that actively monitor, train and coach drivers. Some are even mandating telematics be installed in a fleet as a prerequisite, which will significantly cut insurance costs.

In the event of an accident, video evidence can help underwriters subrogate loss to the other driver’s insurance company, which in return can control premium costs and avoid annual insurance increases. Telematics data in aggregate can help paint an accurate picture of your drivers’ competency and safety, allowing an insurance broker to better “shop” your policy to other underwriters for better pricing, coverage and terms.

5. Efficient Dispatch and Customer Satisfaction: Knowing where vehicles are day and night can greatly increase an integrator’s ability to assign them efficiently. It gives fleet owners the ability to direct the closest technician to that emergency service call that just popped up. It also enables the ability to give customers updated and accurate arrival times, which, in turn, can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

6. Reduced Driver Turnover: One of the hardest (yet significant) costs for fleet owners to pin down is driver turnover. Lost drivers can mean overtime for other drivers to cover training, hiring costs, plus downtime for a vehicle – all of which impacts the bottom line.

Drivers who are “protected” by telematics, and even more so by video telematics, feel safer and more empowered to defend their position on a multitude of fronts, aiding in a positive attitude towards their job. It also gives drivers the ability to fight speeding and parking summonses, and any type of police accident report that might be inaccurate.

Video telematics can also cause a significant reduction in road rage incidents and possible personal assault scenarios, contributing to driver satisfaction and feeling of safety on the job.

7. Break-In Protection: Many video-based telematics solutions provide a “sentinel feature” that can alert a driver and/or dispatcher if an unauthorized individual gains entry into the vehicle in real-time. This will help protect costly security equipment and prevent jobs being delayed due to missing inventory and assets.

Timothy Brogan is a Business Development Executive at VuroAI, a division of IPVideo Corporation. Learn more about the company’s smart video telematics system for fleets at https://vuroai.com.