One look at today’s automotive telematics technology and it’s clear how quickly it’s advancing. The cumbersome methods of the past, when fleet managers had to make sense of very complex data, have given way to the much more refined idea of a telematics system today.
The upshot is greater operational efficiency, improved flexibility and all-around better results. All of which is putting fleets in a position to get ahead—and stay ahead.
Here are the top telematics trends, as forecasted by Lytx Chief Client Officer David Riordan.
1. Fleets are looking to integrate their telematics technology with greater flexibility.
By now, telematics and video telematics have seen wide adoption. And while previously fleets prepared to integrate their telematics technology in a quest for ultimate efficiency, in 2020, fleets with existing telematics are on a quest to expand their telematics technology even more, Riordan said.
“Fleets are looking to continue to integrate their telematics solutions while investing in even more solutions from their providers,” he said. 2020 telematics trends are broader than last year’s, especially as they relate to the integrations that commercial fleets are using and how those integrations work together to create greater flexibility for fleets of all kinds.
“That’s what fleets are after this year—greater flexibility,” Riordan said. “As the range of telematics technology broadens, clients crave the flexibility to configure a solution that’s right for their business overall, and one that’s even right for them on a departmental basis. The beauty of it is, they can do it all. They can have a mixed model for their fleet based on their risk profile and their needs in each division, whether their needs pertain to safety or operations.”
Addressing telematics challenges
Still under pressure to maximize productivity and retain drivers, skilled fleet management professionals continue to be on a quest to simplify their world, Riordan said, whether through multiple telematics applications from a single provider or a handful of them.
“We’re fully vested in combining video with many inputs and systems to create solutions for business problems,” Riordan said. “That’s the whole basis of certain video telematics programs—integrating more cameras, more engine and body signal data, and cloud-to-cloud system connections, then using them to create safety and operational solutions for clients.”
As for software, telematics providers are focusing on simplicity wherever they can, working on “making this mass of information simple to digest and take action on,” Riordan said.
2. Mass adoption of video telematics is gaining even more momentum.
David Riordan, Lytx’s EVP and chief client officer. Credit: Alex Jensen
If past video safety trends focused on early adoption, today is all about mass adoption. And telematics industry analysis and trends show that mass adoption only has spread. Data processing and data connectivity capabilities have advanced tremendously, and video telematics has become both commonplace and more advanced.
“We’re definitely in the mass adoption phase,” Riordan continued, “and one of the implications of that is fleets desire a range of solutions and the flexibility needed to put them in place. As the range of telematics technology solutions expands, integration and mass adoption among commercial fleets will become the norm.”
Telematics for all types of fleets
There was a time when only “high-claims, urban fleets” prioritized video telematics, but telematics trends have shifted over the last four years to include trucking fleets. Now they’re shifting again to embrace literally all flavors of fleets, including field services, Riordan said.
As video telematics becomes more common, it provides more actionable data insights. “There’s almost an expectation that you use the data around you to make the solution as good as it can be,” Riordan said. “Video telematics has become pervasive, both on the road and in training. Video is how people absorb the world.”
The creation of video telematics programs that can use video to provide proof of service or address worker’s compensation claims are a testament to the increasing demand for video-based telematics for fleet management, Riordan added. “Successful solutions will take advantage of the ever-expanding access to information and video, and keep it simple and efficient for line supervisors and staff. That principle is always at the core of what we do.”
3. Telematics suppliers—and fleets themselves—are continuing to “raise the bar”
Today’s fleet and telematics systems are becoming much more advanced. “There are big enhancements in processing power and machine vision + artificial intelligence,” Riordan said. “There’s greater data processing and video processing in the vehicle and in the cloud, and a combination of all that is allowing telematics and video telematics providers to continue to raise the bar on their solutions.”
The entire commercial transportation industry is getting more advanced capabilities because of the growth in processing power, Riordan said. And in recent years, the biggest development in video telematics is the deeper integration of machine vision.
“That’s definitely an important trend, allowing for things like stop sign detection or the determination of a driver’s head position, drowsy driving, seat belt use and even customer service verification,” Riordan said. “All of these things are enabled by machine vision and artificial intelligence applied to video telematics.”
How MV+AI enhances video telematics
An increase in MV+AI capabilities is enhancing solution depth and flexibility, Riordan added. “Fleet managers are putting more of an onus on protecting their fleets, and they’re faced with increasing pressure to use technology to be cost competitive and differentiate themselves from their competitors,” Riordan said. “They’re using video telematics strategically for these two reasons.”
And like before, as the commercial transportation world becomes more competitive, telematics trends show that fleets are striving to extract more value from their fleet management systems and telematics features. “Their initial implementations may have created a lot of value in the past, but they’re angling to see what’s next as they look to continuously improve,” Riordan said.
While clients tend to focus on the most severe collisions and behaviors first, they may be ready to focus on areas where prior automotive telematics technology wasn’t an initial priority. “For example, a trucking company might not have been ready to focus on backing collisions before, but now they are,” Riordan said. “Fleets have gotten to the next wave of priorities for continuous improvement, and vendors are getting better at making enhancements as a result.”
4. Telematic solutions are trending toward expansion of services, cost savings and solving more problems for fleet managers.
While more safety, productivity, fleet utilization and fleet tracking were in the cards last year, recent telematics trends are all about enhancing operational efficiency as well as safety. “Fleet and safety managers want all of their fleet safety, compliance, and operations data in one place,” Riordan said. “They want to solve more problems, and the way for them to do that is to provide them with access to a fuller suite of services.”
Where fleets used to purchase telematics technologies from multiple vendors, they now want their fleet tracking, safety and fuel monitoring technologies all together. “Fleets want to invest in a telematics solution that provides all three, or one that works openly with all three, and they want greater visibility into what’s happening in and around the vehicle,” Riordan said.
To keep pace with these changes, fleet managers often have their own technology road map, Riordan said. “They can have a strategy about where value is created, be smart about the choices they make, and rely on their vehicle technology partners to help them implement their programs to the fullest.”
For fleets that are relatively new to telematics, Riordan suggests first consulting with peers about which telematics services have worked for them. Then, start small by focusing on your biggest opportunities first.
And for those at all levels of the telematics spectrum, he has this advice:
“Spend the time to make sure you understand how to translate the technology into value. Focus on implementation, action, and results. Technology doesn’t create value magically. Once you’ve implemented the first stage, you can build from there.”
Learn more about how telematics can enhance the operation of your fleet. Contact a video telematics expert.